Thursday, March 22, 2018
Lenten Book Club 2018 - "The Thief" chapters 25-30...
*ominous music plays*
When we left off, Dismas had been captured by Longinus and company, and the assumption was that *he* was the murderer of the Temple priest. Cedron and Nissa cook up a plan to help trap Gestas for Longinus and his men, because, as we all know, HE is the actual guilty party.
Out and about as Mouse during the planned trap, however, Nissa freezes and allows herself to be captured along with Gestas. She wants to help Dismas, and figures this is her best shot at doing so.
Longinus quickly realizes that not only is Mouse a girl, but that girl is Nissa. He immediately jumps to the conclusion that *Nissa* in fact killed the Temple priest, and behind his back has been mocking him and generally making a fool of him. These guys and their insecure egos in this story!
He drags her off to prison, where she is tossed into a cell with Dismas and Gestas. Gestas, of course, only wants to save his own fanny and tries to blame everything on Dismas and Nissa. Longinus is still stewing about Nissa, and exposes her identity as a female to Dismas. Instead of shocking and scandalizing Dismas, it only softens him all the more towards Mouse. He begs Longinus to free her, taking all the responsibility for what happened given that he coaxed her into a life of theft to begin with. He officially offers to take her place as the second thief.
Nissa is horrified, but Longinus accepts Dismas's offer.There's a whole wrenching scene here wherein Nissa begs Dismas not to do this, but he is steadfast, and Longinus tosses her again, this time back onto the street. Nissa concocts a plan to find Jesus, thinking perhaps he can save Dismas. She and Cedron go to Mary's house to look for him, and isn't this such a touching interlude?! I loved it. Here, they find out that Jesus has gone to pray in Gethsemane, because "his time has come."
*more ominous music plays*
Cedron thinks that she means revolution, but we all know otherwise, don't we?
This plot point of Cedron being a Jewish follower of Jesus, and the conventional wisdom that Jesus came to be a political figure, is so, so informative and interesting to me. As Nissa and Cedron are about to leave Mary's house, someone rushes in to tell them that Judas is about to hand Jesus over to the authorities. Much rushing about commences.
Back with sulky Longinus, he is rushing to the garden to warn Jesus about his own leaders wanting him dead. Nissa is rushing to the same place, wanting to find Jesus so that he can help Dismas. They literally run into each other. Longinus hides them so that no one else observes them, and from their hiding spot they espy Peter denying Jesus, and Jesus being betrayed by Judas and then taken by the authorities. Nissa realizes that Jesus will not save himself, let alone Dismas. This scene was very poignant and chilling to behold, was it not?
Then things really get dicey. Longinus meets with Pilate, but as they fear, the Jews reject Jesus and want Barabbas released. Silvanus manages to trick Longinus down in the prison area and locks him into a cell. Longinus then overhears Jesus being scourged and crowned with thorns outside, which is pretty horrifying. 😳 With the knowledge that he already has of Jesus, plus given this new incident of him courageously bearing the unfair punishment without any fear or anger, Longinus converts.
Longinus finally manages to deck Silvanus, and goes outside to see Jesus. They have a moment. Longinus realizes that he will be called upon to assist in crucifying Jesus.
Oh.My. I know several of you have already finished the book because you just couldn't bear to stop. I totally understand! I'm glad that I still have the last 6 chapters to read this weekend as we move into the start of Holy Week, and that I also had a chance to catch my breath after the way that Chapter 30 ended! Being able to observe, if you will, the events surrounding the end of Jesus's earthly life has been incredibly meaningful. This book has been such a important and eye opening part of my Lent, and I hope that the rest of you feel that way too!
I'll be discussing the final 6 chapters next week, on Holy Thursday. Hold onto your hats for that one!
Leave your thoughts below on this part of the book, or over in the Facebook group!
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I had to return the book to the library about half way through and decided today I should keep reading the book club posts. I had a feeling Dismas would become the good thief because that is the name tradition has ascribed to the good thief. It is interesting to think that he was something of a good person before he became the good thief. I hadn't though about him much before but I had assumed the good thief's conversion was more of a death bed conversion. Your description of Dismas and Gestas here reminds me that as we have lived so shall we die. It is a good reminder to continue striving to live a Christian life.ReplyDelete
Really?! I had no idea on the Dismas thing! How interesting! The book did dedicate a short segment to his back story in losing his family and turning to a life of theft, so it makes sense that that was because he was a character with significance.
Gestas. *glares* Indeed.
That's really interesting about Dismas. The author does a great job at researching the meaning behind the biblical reasoning of things in her books.Delete
I totally agree with your point about the conventional wisdom being that the Messiah would be a political figure. I had known that -- in theory -- from years of Catholic school, but these chapters really brought that to life in a whole new way. I was also under the crunch of getting the book back to the library, so I finished it up last week and can't wait to hear everyone's thoughts about the end. Some parts really took me by surprise.ReplyDelete
Right? I had just never thought about this point with any depth prior to reading this book. And...
I'm reading the final segment this weekend, and I'm really nervous!
I think it is really cool that we're going to be reading the historical story about holy week during holy week. #CatholicNerd I was reading the last chapter when they were in the garden and I'm like hey i know this story from holy week!! It's a great correlation.ReplyDelete
It reminds me of one year my moms Uncle passed away during Holy Week (I think it may have been on holy thursday even) and they couldn't do anything in terms of a funeral or wake until after Holy Week ended and it was like jesus they had to put him in the tomb until after easter.
I always felt that Dismas was a good guy deep down. I think the "theives" are similar to like drug addicts or alcoholics or even the homeless in todays world. They end up so deep into their sin/addiction that they have no idea how to get out. They don't necesarily want to be doing what they are doing but they forget what it was like to not. I felt Nissa was that way a lot. HER AND Cedron had been abandoned they needed money they had no jobs what else was she to do? I know it doesn't make it right but I can see how she ended up doing what she ended up doing.
Can't wait to see how it ends but I'm anxious about it as well.
Yes, the timing is just so perfect. I'm sooooo glad we chose this book!
Excellent points about Dismas and the life of crime. It's like making a bad choice in so many different ways that we all fall into sometimes - it snowballs, and then you don't know how to get out of it. I really, really feel for him.