I am Dr. Bill Griffith, a retired pastor. In my years of ministry, so many people had asked me questions about Biblical references to people whose names were given but nothing more. I had to say I did not know.
Who was Rhoda? (Acts 12:12-16) and why was she important enough for Luke to tell this strange story? Who was Theudas that an army of more than 400 men thought he was the promised messiah? And who was Judas the Galilean? (Acts 33-39) What was the story of Matthew’s mother whom he called “the other Mary”? What did it mean that Jesus was “a man of sorrow and acquainted with grieve” and why did he never marry?
Who were Barsabbas and Mathias that they would be the two chosen as possible successors to Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:31-26)? Who was Cornelius? Why was he chosen to be the first Non-Jewish Christian? (Acts 9, 10-11). What does the angel’s quote mean? “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.” (Acts 10:4)
I set out to find out about the preparers of the way for Jesus. As the months passed other questions demanded answers even as shocks made Jesus’ preparers and opponents into real people for me. Research only created new questions. One day I looked at the pile of papers showing many interconnections with the persons who were helping or opposing Jesus. It did not seem to me possible to tell the complete story by provable facts to satisfy scholarly doubt. So wrote a novel of trust, making the “might have been” into “I believe this is exactly what happened.” Each story seemed to me to have been a likely event.
After nine years and using the services of editor, Carla Bruce, I submitted the novel to literary agent, Terry Burns. He told me that I had too big a book – “old ladies cannot read such a book in bed.” His remark and challenge did not lead me to cut down the size of the novel. It did challenge me to tell the whole story of the struggles of the people who were “seeing a great light.”
The book expanded to three books – the first one tells of the conditions six months before Mary was told she was to bear God’s child. I named that book “Darkness before the Dawn.” The second book told the story between the annunciation and the coming to Palestine of Pontius Pilate in 26 AD. That book is named, “First Light.” The third book called “Dawn” tells the story of Jesus’ followers and his opponents and continues until the end of Pilate’s governorship in Palestine. The three books make one novel which is presently called “Chronicles of Cauis/Preparers of the Way.”
Tantalizing facts – Pilate was arrested and a prison ship transported him to Rome in 34 AD. He either committed suicide in 35 AD, or was executed on the orders of Nero and his head taken to Mount Pilatus in Switzerland. His wife, Claudia, ruled in his name for two years. She was the daughter of Emperor Tiberias and his third wife.
The novel awaits a publisher. If no publisher comes, I have enjoyed twelve years of discovery.
Dr. Bill Griffith