History and Legend
††††††††† The Jesus, whom I knew as a brother, is the same prodigy who preached in Galilee and Judea.† His victory over death transformed him from Isaiahís man of sorrows, whom his own people rejected, to Jesus Christ, Lord of both Gentiles and Jews.† In a latter day, according to the hermit John, he will come back to earth as a conqueror to smite the enemies of God.† Not for one moment during his childhood or ministry, however, did my brother flaunt his roll as the Messiah or Son of God or perform unnecessary miracles and use puffed up speech.† I canít accept the dreadful judge John made him out to be.† I pray that Johnís wrong.† Perhaps John has grown a little mad after being on that island for so long.† The Jesus I knew and loved remained for his disciples, as he had been in childhood, humble and without guile.† When he was tempted to exhibit his power, he was always guided by that inner voice.† After his first childhood miracle, he became illuminated with fearful visions, but nothing like the ones I read in the hermitís scroll.† Yet his knowledge of his apparent godhood filled him with dread.† Prayer guided his every move and he was in constant communication with God, though he always had time for the simple, mundane matters in our lives.† He taught us to look at Godís creatures as miracles, in themselves.† He seemed to have a special fondness for me and protected my friends and I from our brothers, James, Joseph and Simonís, wiles.†
In the beginning my awareness of his divinity was clouded by my misunderstanding of his powers.† I immediately wanted him to conjure me up a pony.† On occasions, when it seemed he could intervene to change the course of events, I, more than anyone else, was there egging him on.† Gradually, I would accept the fact that Jesus was not performing magic nor did his power originate in himself, but was given to him, as he claimed, after praying to God.† He refused to act capriciously.† But on that day he performed his first miracle, we, his brothers, knew nothing of his wondrous birth or who he might be.† James, Joseph, and Simon, argued over whether he might be a sorcerer or magician.† I thought he was addled in the head.† I could not bring myself to believe the miracle at first, though I suspected that my brothers were correct.†
After his first miracle, Jesus tried to hold onto his childhood, but the secrets our parents had kept for so long began spilling out.† He denied his uniqueness and downplayed his gifts, reminding us constantly of the power of prayer, but we knew better.† We had seen with our eyes and heard with our ears other wonders that couldnít be explain by modest words.† We had heard him speak with an eloquence and knowledge far beyond his years.† Though we fought the notion growing in our heads, we knew in our hearts that it was true. . . . Jesus was not like us.† He was, if nothing else, a miracle workerótouched by God.††
† ††††††† From the beginning, however, Jesusí miracles were considered by many of his detractors to be diabolicalópowers given to him by Satan, not God.† Already, only thirty years after his resurrection, legends have sprouted up to compete with the historical truth of Jesusí life.† I have learned as a chronicler how much history can be blurred, even warped, by the eyewitnesses, themselves.† Legends have sprouted up in Galilee about Jesusí childhood that are scurrilous and outright lies.† I grew up with Jesus, and what I didnít see my older brothers James, Joseph and Simon would not have missed.† I can remember a time when even Jesus was ignorant of his divinity.† Until the incident of the sparrow in our garden, he had been a typical Nazarene child.† My mother, who could never keep a secret for long, would have told us if he had misused Godís power.† For the record then, the rumors that my brother turned clay pigeons into living birds, once struck a boy deaf and dumb, and raised a playmate from the dead are falsehoods perpetuated by his detractors, who wish to sully his reputation, as well as well-meaning but foolish admirers, who pass on these scurrilous lies as if they are Godís truth.† There are many more of these tales, which are too defamatory for my pen.† Interestingly enough many of these rural legends are variations of previous tales: alleged miracles performed for neighbors and friends but also apparent black magic done to his enemies, whom were punished for their misdeeds.†
I, Jude, am witness to my brotherís blameless and inspirational childhood, his mission in Galilee and Judea, in which I participated until his death on the cross, and after his resurrection as he appeared in his glory in the clouds.† To refute these spurious stories by what Iíve seen with my own eyes would take a volume in itself.† I would have to list each legend with an educated denial, when, in fact, I was five years younger than Jesusóa young child.† The stories are numerous and continue to be woven by various camps that are hostile, indifferent or in disagreement with the houses of worship and established dogma compiled by Paul, Mark, Luke, and Jesusí disciples, of which I am the least of the twelve.† What is important to the believer and those seeking the truth are the documented miracles and great deeds Jesus actually performed.†
The Chronicles of Jude, which I divided into four volumes, is basically a record of Jesusí life and mission of salvation, but they are also a record of his impact on my personal life.† I was inspired to begin writing the chronicles during my travels with Elisha bar Simon.† Most of the chronicles were written when I was disciple during Jesusí life and after his death, as an apostle serving the risen Christ.† The story of Jesusí birth and his ministry are the foundation of our faith, but these stories are best told in the scrolls of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.† For an understanding of the Way, the writings of Paul, Peterís dictations, and the Acts of the Apostles written by my friend Luke will bring enlightenment.† For pure illumination or entertainment, John the Hermitís letters to the Churches, which he claims is revelation from the Lord, greatly impressed (and troubled) me when I visited this strange man.† Hopefully, my chronicles might compensate for the paltry epistle I wrote at Peterís insistence.† The first volume begins when the secrets Joseph and Mary kept from their children are unleashed by one spontaneous miracle.† At that point, a porthole opened in Jesus youthful mind.† When he began to discover his godhood, our peaceful life in Nazareth began to change.† A series of wondrous events and revelations followed that would forever change our lives.