I have been wondering how to share a little bit of my new book, Disciples, with you. So from time to time, I will use an extract in this blog to let you in on a little bit of the story.
Twelve men sit around a camp fire in England one evening. Each one has the name of a Disciple and a passage of Scripture. They are asked to tell the story of that Disciple. Here is a taste of Nathanael’s story.
An excerpt from Nathaniel’s story – from Disciples by Mandy Hackland
Philip sounded like a schoolboy rather than a man well past his Bar Mitzvah.
I touched Alphaeus on the shoulder.
“It looks as if I’m needed elsewhere. Don’t worry, Alphaeus. Come to see us later in the week and we can decide in detail how we’re going to work things out. Peace be with you, my friend.”
He expressed his gratitude once again and turned to go home.
I laughed as I turned back to Philip who had been fidgeting beside me as he waited for me to finish my business. Now he grasped my arm.
“Nathanael! We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
“Nazareth?” I retorted, half joking, half serious. “Can anything good come from there?”
Philip came from Bethsaida and we defended our home towns with a boyish ferocity against competition from any other village. To have someone important come from Nazareth and not one of our own towns was a difficult truth to swallow.
But Philip was not interested in my teasing on this day.
“Come and see,” he said and, putting his arm around my shoulders, began to lead me away.
I went without further protest. If Philip thought this man was worth meeting then I was happy to go along with him.
There was a small group of people further up the street. They seemed to be gathered around one man who was talking to them. As we approached he looked up and smiled at me. I was captivated by the warmth in his eyes for I had never seen such love in a mere glance before. They sparkled with life and joy and it all seemed to be directed towards me. Who was this man? How could he show love like this for someone he had never seen before? I was startled as I caught his words.
“Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”
This man was a stranger to me. If he was from Nazareth, how did he know who I was – or anything about me?
“How do you know me?”
“I saw you when you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”