29 Come the next Passover Jesus took Samson's daughter up to Jerusalem for the celebration. She returned not with him. All men knew she had gone with her father, but no one said anything of it.
30 So it was in wisdom and strength, that Jesus passed the years of His childhood and entered into the years of His manhood. Many women sought after Him, for it was said He was the greatest man in Nazareth, but no matter how bold their proposals, how openly they offered themselves, Jesus sought after none of them, turning away each advance so that some began to say perhaps His liking did not run toward women.
31 Now, this angered Mary, but Jesus rebuked her. "Do not be troubled," He told her, "by the defiled thoughts of the ignorant. You know what I am. You know that in time I shall take a bride, but our time together shall be short, for it shall be in my final days. I shall have no time for a wife in the hours that are coming."
32 Mary touched His cheek with tears in her eyes. "It is coming soon," she asked, "isn't it? It shall begin soon?"
33 Jesus' only answer was His tender smile.
THE MARRIAGE OF JOHN
Now, while John was growing also, he had many adventures, but the most important of these came when he had reached his eighteenth year.
2 Now, as he often did, Jesus was visiting him, and they were about the city, when they came upon a traveler, a Roman in the square, who was begging those who passed by for food and water. But no one that saw him did anything but ignore him. When John saw this, he was angry and rebuked them, saying, "Oh, people of Israel, how you shame your God! For has He not told you when the stranger is among you and thirsts, give him water, when he is hungry give him bread, that the numbers of your days may be many, and the bounty of your land be great? Do you think if you disobey God's commandments He will bless you?"
3 An elder spoke up in anger. "That which was spoken of God was meant not for the heathen, but those strangers among us that are of our own blood."
4 "Oh, what fools you be," answered John, "to put your own interpretation on the words of God! He who is not of Israel is among us the stranger. You twist God's words to do evil. What wrath will fall on Israel because of your ignorance!"
5 With this John said no more, but with the help of Jesus picked the man up, carried him to his father's home. There they gave him food and drink. They bathed him, put him in a clean gown, and put him to bed.
6 As John knew the way he made haste to the house of the Roman overseer, telling him of the stranger and asking him to come and see if he knew him, that the man might be united with his own people.
7 The Roman, whose name was Augustine, blessed John for his kindness and came with haste, to see if he knew the man.
8 Jesus met them at the door, saying, "There was no need for haste. While you were gone he has joined his Fathers. But he went with great peace and joy."
9 "Even still," Augustine answered, "I will see if I know him."
10 When Augustine entered and saw the man, he gave a great wail then fell upon him, kissing him. "This," he cried, "this man I know, indeed. He is my father, who I had word was coming to visit me. Blessed be this house, blessed be these people, for the kindness that they have shown upon him. Always will this city be under my protection. If any are unfair to you, speak it, and I shall make it right.
11 If any shall raise his hand against you tell me and I will come and cut it off, that he may never bruise you again.
12 If you do not come to my house and eat with me often, I will be much troubled. For unto all the ages can my blood and my children ever repay the kindness that you have done to me. All this I swear before the gods as a man of Rome."
13 Now, when the elders of the city heard what had happened by John's act of mercy, they remembered his rebuke and they, too, thought what would have happened if this Roman had died in the street, unattended. "Surely," some began to say, "this John is of God, is a prophet. For in his wisdom he has saved us from a terrible tragedy."
14 So it was that John and Jesus began to spend much time at Augustine's house, for Augustine, his sons and daughter loved to hear Jesus speak and tell of the tales of His Fathers.
15 Now, the daughter, Helena, was smitten with John, and when John was in the house he had trouble keeping his eyes from her, for her beauty was exceptional.
16 One day in the garden Jesus took his friend aside. "Tell the woman of your feelings. Join with her. Take her as wife."
17 "But we are of two separate nations," John protested, "and you, of all men, know the hours of my days. If she was my woman it would bring her nothing but trouble."
18 "If you were to take a Hebrew woman," Jesus counseled, "her life would be worth nothing, or, the lives of her children, because men in their ignorance would seek to destroy them. But if you put your seed in this Roman woman, no harm shall come to her, or, her children. Your seed shall be scattered by your descendants and hers throughout the world, that in the days of glory, men of honor may wonder if they carry within them the seed of John."
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