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Lucifer had decided to perch in a nearby tree like the vulture he was, grabbing the branch with both his hands and feet, his wings extended and fluttering slightly to help him maintain his balance.

He had chosen a place higher up the hill so that he could see and hear what would happen below, but he made certain he was outside of the circle of angelic guards who had the authority to keep him out.

He began to listen with great interest to the drama that was beginning to unfold below him.

Yeshua was making his way deeper into the grove of trees, uninterested in the small bushes and branches lying on the ground that he repeatedly tripped over.  Simon Peter grabbed him again to support him and Yochanan held up the torch for better light, James was leading the way.  They were approaching the place where the Devil looked down from his perch.

Lucifer smiled at the luck that brought him such a great front row seat to this grandest of moments.  He was still under the impression that Yeshua feared him and the pain and suffering that he could inflict upon him.  And his impression seemed to be confirmed.

With a groan that seemed to come from somewhere deep within him, Yeshua sagged to the ground.  Simon Peter tried to hold him up but tripped over his own feet and they fell to the ground in a heap.  Simon Peter scrambled to his feet throwing out apologies and questions with equal ferocity as James berated him for his clumsiness.

“I’m so sorry.  Are you all right?”

“What’s wrong with you.  Can’t you stand–“

“Are you hurt?”

“—on your own two feet?”

Yeshua wiped the matted hair from his eyes, the sweat glistening on his face though the night was cool, and looked up at them.  Simon Peter and James fell silent and Yochanan looked on with eyes wide in the torchlight.

“The truth be told,” he said quietly, “I can hardly breathe.  My soul is sorrowful to the point of death.”  He lifted his arm and Simon Peter hauled him to his feet.  Yeshua leaned on him for a moment and then pushed himself upright and said, “Wait here and stay awake.”  They didn’t even think to ask him where he was going.

He started to stumble away but then stopped and half turned toward them, his face in shadow and said in a firm voice, “Remember what I told you.  The Evil One wants you.  Pray not to be put to the test.”

He left them standing in the flickering light of the torch and moved away into the darkness about a stone’s throw away and sank down to his knees and began to call out to God.

*****

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The Temptations of the Cross by Bert A. Amsing
Copyright © 2012 by vanKregten Publishers. All rights reserved.
http://www.desertwarrior.net    info@desertwarrior.net

Footnotes and references included in original manuscript.

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