We are in Jerusalem in CE69. A Roman army is encamped outside the walls, awaiting orders to besiege the city. The call has gone out throughout Judaea and Galilee – all faithful Jews must rally to the defense of Jerusalem. Inside the walls, the city is a tinderbox. Simon bar Giora is ‘master of Jerusalem’, his army of 15,000 having been welcomed into the city by the Council. But in the Temple, his rivals John of Gischala and the Zealots control the outer and inner courts respectively.
In the courtyard of a home in the Upper City, members of a controversial group meet each night to hear what one man has to say about such troubling times. The group are members of The Way, a sect within Judaism that believes that Jesus of Nazareth – a man denounced by the Council and crucified by the Romans outside this very city over three decades ago – is in fact the long awaited Messiah, and has been raised from the dead by G_d. The man is Mark, author of the Gospel which bears his name. He has come home to encourage the ecclesia that meets in the house he grew up in.
Cast of characters
Mark: or, Yohannan Marcus, author of the Gospel
Mother: Miryam, host of the ecclesia
Brothers: Benyamin – a member of the Council
[Benyamin has four grandchildren (Samuel, Deborah, Miriam and David). Their father, Joseph (Benyamin’s son) died a year ago.]
Daniel – a Zealot
Simeon: An elder of the ecclesia, who wrote to Mark asking him to come from Rome to address the members of the Way
Yiftach: A long-time follower of Simon bar Giora, who is intrigued by the Way, but who is preparing to fight when the siege begins
Rachel: A young woman of high class who has experienced a drastic change in status, and who is now grateful to join the gathering for the food and welcome she receives
Adina, Devorah and Ya-el: friends of Rachel who find themselves in similar circumstances