James – I see he’s put his charges up again.
John – Who?
James – That taxman, the guy in the tool booth. Greedy loser. Come the revolution he’ll be first up against the wall, I’d quite happily grab his scrawny neck and rip his eyeballs… oh hello Jesus.
Jesus – Hi James. I’ve brought along a new member of the group.
James – Oh well let’s hope he’s in better shape than the guy you invited yesterday. Ummed and ahhed for a good twenty minutes before he made up his mind to join us.
Jesus – Thomas you mean?
James – Yea, where is he today?
Jesus – Oh he’ll be here, he’s just cautious you know.
James – So who have you brought along now? Another fisherman.
Jesus – No, we’ve got our full quota with you four. No, this is Matthew, the er… tax collector. Have you met?
James – The tax collector? You’re kidding!
Jesus – No, say hello. Oh and what was that you were saying when I came in about ripping out eyeballs?
James stares. John stares. Peter stares. Matthew stares back.
James – You’re not serious?
Jesus – Yes, But I hope you weren’t when you were going on about scrawny necks. I think he’s got a good strong neck, don’t you?
James – You are serious?
Jesus – Of course.
James – Jesus, come here a minute. You do realise who he’s working for?
Jesus – Well, his former employers were the Romans I believe…
James – Yes!! And he’ll go running back to them at the first whiff of a revolution.
Jesus – No he won’t.
James – What?
Jesus – He won’t. I’ve been chatting to him for a while now. I’m not stupid James. He wants to live differently.
James – But he’s a collaborator.
Jesus – Not anymore. People change. You used to be a hotheaded fisherman, now look at you. Well, you’ve stopped fishing anyway. It’s a start.
James – I’m not sure if I want to be part of this thing if he’s coming along too.
Jesus – Ah – well, you have just hit the nail on the head for the next 2000 years James.
James – What do you mean?
Jesus – The thing the church’s going to wrestle with for ever and a day.
James – What’s the church?
Jesus – You’ll find out James, you’ll find out. Ah Andrew. Meet Matthew. He’s new.
Andrew – So’s this guy. Say hello to Simon,he’s a Zealot, you know one of those revolutionary types who hates Romans and anyone who works for them.
Jesus – Brilliant. Matthew, Simon, you should get to know each other…
John 15 vv 9-12