The Centurion's Man by Ken Proctor

The Cenurion's Man

By Ken Proctor  

He did not return directly to his residence, first reporting in to his superiors and then taking report from those of his command that had not accompanied him to Capernaum. It was nearing the evening mealtime that he finally passed under his own lintel and into the tiled entry of his residence.

“Mishu,” he called, “I am tired and I am thirsty and I am home.” There was a note of humorous mischief in his voice. “What does a man have to do around here to get a decent meal.”

We had been waiting in earnest all day for his return, not knowing how he would react when I walked in carrying his cup and a small basket of figs. Having washed myself again, three times from head to foot, and donned a fresh tunic for the occasion, I fully expected the master to be shocked and amazed by my miraculous recovery, and all of us anticipated a memorable outburst.

Yet here he was, showing neither the slightest reaction, nor the least intimation that anything had ever been wrong. In fact, he was grinning at what must have been a stupefied look on my face.

“Mishu, you are spilling the figs,” he said and laughed out loud as I hastily plunked his cup onto the table and dropped to gather the figs that had tipped out of the basket.

And I knew everything would be all right.

The master had invited several guests to dine with him later that evening, but this was not uncommon, so we always kept sufficient stores to accommodate even a large impromptu gathering. With help from Fallah in the kitchen, and with Nehum serving at table, we quickly expanded the master’s simple but hearty dinner for one, to a more gentile five-course meal that, interspersed with local entertainment and sampling local vintages, lasted into the evening.

It was mid morning of the next day before I had an opportunity to discuss the bewildering events of the last ten days. Other than vague and confusing impressions left from my delirious visions, I had no memory related to that time, and I desperately needed answers.

“What did Fallah tell you?”, my master asked. We were standing just inside the front entry. Nehum, as usual, was assisting the Commander as he belted and buckled each aspect of his uniform in place, and I watched for any imperfection or blemish that might need attending or adjusting.

“Only that I was badly injured in the market. A panic in the crowd, a runaway cart. Someone recognized your servant and I was delivered to your gate.” I made a small, unnecessary adjustment to a shoulder piece, just to have something to do with my hands.

“You were indeed badly hurt and unconscious. The cart was heavy and it passed over your right leg, your thigh and your hip. Each bone was broken and the hip was crushed. One leg bone, the large one, had broken through the skin of your thigh just below your hip and your tunic was ruined with your blood.

“I did not expect you to live out the day but sent for a doctor... and a priest. The doctor discovered the injury to the back of your head, but said it was the crushed flesh and broken bones that would kill you. The priest offered prayer... and another solution.” The commander paused as Nehum brought the broad belt that held the sheathed short sword and buckled it into place.

“According to the priest,” he continued, “there was a young teacher, a rabbi of sorts, who had recently appeared in this region. And as he was passing through he was teaching wherever the people gathered. Hundreds came to hear him teach, but thousands more followed him because he performed great deeds.”

“What deeds, Master?” I asked softly, though I suspected the answer. Unconsciously, my right hand had moved slowly to my right thigh and then up to my hip. There was no pain, no scar, no blemish or disfigurement at all. But the blood had been mine.

“According to the priest, the young rabbi had been performing miracles. A sick woman’s fever left her when he spoke, a leper was cleansed by his hand, an evil spirit was cast out and the man restored to his family.” The master looked me in the eye. “We kept you here and watched you. I was skeptical of the priest’s story.”

“Fallah tried to clean you but every touch, every motion caused the bones to shift and you cried out but did not wake. After three days, the wounds were swollen with puss and your leg was turning gangrenous. You had messed yourself and wet yourself, but without rolling you over there was no way to keep you clean. I have seen men injured less grievously in combat or accidents who have not lived so long.Next Chapter

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Definition of Leadership:

Giving your heart to others by listening to their heart

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When you grow a leader who values people you help the whole world

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