The following morning, Tapper returned to Jerusalem to see what the Messiah would do, again accompanied by Smurfette, Brainy, Clumsy, Grouchy, and Duncan. As they made their way inside the city, avoiding being seen by the people scurrying about with their business, Smurfette noticed something. "It's the fig tree that the Messiah had spoken to," she said. "Yesterday it was starting to wither, and now it isn't even much of a tree anymore."
"Gosh, I wonder if I could smurf the same thing to a tree," Clumsy said.
"Clumsy, you wouldn't be able to smurf such a thing unless you had some sort of magical power," Brainy said.
"It isn't any sort of magic that caused this, Brainy...it's faith," Tapper said. "The Lord said that if you have faith the smurf of a mustard seed, you can go smurf a mountain to go smurf itself into the sea, and it will be done for you."
"It's too bad that we can't smurf ourselves back home with just smurfing a single word, laddie," Duncan said.
"I hate not being able to smurf back home," Grouchy said.
"We will be able to smurf back home, Grouchy," Tapper said. "The Lord has smurfed this to me during my prayer to Him last night, and anything that the Lord smurfs will come to pass."
"Really?" Brainy said, sounding like he was in disbelief. "Then how is it from your own book He smurfed that some of them standing with Him will not die until they see the Son of Man smurfing in His kingdom?"
"I honestly don't have all the explanations for everything that I smurf in Scripture, my fellow Brainy, but I do smurf my faith in the Almighty that He has all the answers and that I do not need to worry about anything, not even about tomorrow," Tapper said.
Then they saw the Lord with His disciples, except for Judas Iscariot, returning to the city, and after they entered, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. "Rabbi, behold, the fig tree which You cursed has withered away," the disciple named Simon Peter said.
"Have faith in God," the Messiah said. "For truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will be done, it will be to him, whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, Everything whatever you ask when you pray, believe that you receive, and it will be to you. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive, that your Father in Heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive your trespasses."
The six Smurfs followed Him toward the Temple, and as He was walking inside it, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to Him. "By what authority do You do these things? And who gave You this authority to do these things?" they asked
"I also will ask you one question, and when you answer Me, I will tell you by what authority I do these things," the Messiah said. "The immersion of John...was it from Heaven or from men? Answer Me."
They huddled together as if to figure out how they would answer Him. "If we say, 'From Heaven', He will say, 'Why then did you not believe him?'," one of the men said.
"True, but if we say, 'From men', then we will have to deal with the people, for they all have counted John to have truly been a prophet," another man said.
So they together faced the Messiah and said, "We do not know."
"Then neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things," the Messiah said.
The six Smurfs continued to watch the Messiah as He was being tested by various people. Some of the Pharisees and the Herodians decided they would try to catch Him in His words. When they had come, they said to Him, "Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give?"
The Messiah looked at them in a way that He could see their hypocrisy. He said to them, "Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it." So one of the Pharisees brought a denarius for Him to look at. He asked them, "Whose image and inscription is this?"
They said to Him, "It is Caesar's."
"Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's," the Messiah said. And they looked at Him in great wonder.
Then some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him. They asked Him, "Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man's brother dies, and leaves his wife behind, and leaves no children, his brother should take his wife and raise up seed for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife; and dying, he left no seed. And the second took her, and he died; nor did he leave any seed. And the third likewise. So the seven had her and left no seed. Last of all the woman also died. Therefore, in the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be? For all seven had her as wife."
He answered, "Are you not therefore in error, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in Heaven. But concerning the dead, that they are raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, how God spoke to him at the bush, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?' He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly in error."
Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, "Which is the first commandment of all?"
He answered, "The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.' And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to Him, "Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other besides Him. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."
When the Messiah saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And after that no one dared question Him.
"Well, He's certainly not a bad speaker," Brainy said.
"I hate listening to speeches," Grouchy said.
"Golly, I wish I could be just as smart as He is," Clumsy said.
"Laddie, you look like you're wishing that He could smurf here longer," Duncan said to Tapper.
"Oh, if we were here for the three years that He ministered to Israel, hearing all His wonderful sermons, seeing all the miracles He had performed," Tapper said. "I do envy the privilege His disciples had of being with Him all that time while we only smurfed here for the last week of His life here on earth."
"Well, everyone except for Judas Iscariot, and who knows where he might be at this time?" Duncan said.
Meanwhile, the high priests were convening together for a secret meeting led by Caiaphas. "How are we going to get our hands on Jesus to arrest him?" one of the priests asked.
"We're going to need someone who is very close to Him, one of His own disciples," Caiaphas suggested. "But who among them would dare betray Him?"
A guard entered the room. "Master, we have a visitor who wishes to speak with you."
Caiaphas permitted the visitor to enter, and it was Judas Iscariot with his cat Ashtoreth. "Hello there, your eminences. I hope that I didn't catch you at a bad time," he greeted humbly.
"Not at all," Caiaphas said. "We are looking for a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth who can help us arrange a meeting with Him."
"A meeting with the Messiah?" Judas said. "Hmmmm...sounds interesting. I wonder what the nature of that meeting might be."
"It is one that you do not need to fully know what it is about, but we are deeply concerned for His safety, and we would want to make sure that He would be escorted safely to our meeting," Caiaphas said. "We are willing to reward you handsomely...say, thirty pieces of silver."
"You hear that, Ashtoreth?" Judas said to his cat. "They're going to pay us handsomely for delivering the Messiah unto them." Ashtoreth snickered at the thought as Judas then turned to face Caiaphas. "Why, certainly, your holiness. I will even show you where you will find Him."
Caiaphas rubbed his hands with an evil smile on his face. "Excellent. Remember, that we wish to have this meeting around the time of the Passover, so don't be late."
"Oh, I certainly will make sure that the Messiah arrives on time, won't we, Ashtoreth?" Judas said while looking at his cat, who just snickered.
After Judas and Ashtoreth left, Caiaphas laughed. "We have our betrayer, gentlemen. Now all we have to do is wait for him to deliver the Man of Nazareth unto us."
Back at the camp, Hefty was having trouble trying to maintain order while Papa Smurf was still busy trying to find the right arrangement for the chronosyte crystals.
Grandpa Smurf decided to check up on Hefty. "How are things smurfing along here, Hefty?" he asked.
"It's getting hard to keep these Smurfs confined to our camp when they want so much to explore this new area that we smurfed to, Grandpa Smurf," Hefty said. "And besides that, we have Tapper and those other five Smurfs smurfing back stories of this Messiah they have seen."
"He does seem like a really fascinating character to me, Hefty," Grandpa Smurf said.
"You don't think that He's really the Son of this imaginary God that Tapper believes in, do you?" Hefty asked.
"I do believe that there are powers greater than our own that direct our lives, Hefty," Grandpa Smurf said. "It may be possible that this Messiah really is who He says He is."
"Well, if He's truly this great, why didn't He stop us from smurfing on this trip through time just so we could smurf that dinosaur back home?" Hefty asked.
"I'm afraid that I can't answer that question for you there, Hefty," Grandpa Smurf said. "It's very likely that He just permitted it to happen so He could teach us something about ourselves."
"What, that I'm supposed to smurf my faith in Him?" Hefty said. "Papa Smurf's having trouble trying to smurf us home with the time crystals, and he's more real to me than Tapper's God is."
"Then this is certainly a time when we have to realize our own limitations and smurf our faith in something or Someone who truly knows what He's smurfing with us," Grandpa Smurf said, putting his hand on Hefty's shoulder. "Don't worry about it too much, though...we'll eventually smurf home sooner or later."
Later on, Tapper and his five fellow Smurfs were sitting at the dinner table, with Tapper, Smurfette, and Duncan looking rather interested in what they had experienced, and Brainy, Clumsy, and Grouchy looking rather uncertain.
"Isn't that exciting, Tapper?" Smurfette asked. "Mary Magdalene wants us to join her and the other disciples for the Passover that the Lord is smurfing."
"Indeed it is very exciting, my fellow Smurfette," Tapper said. "It is almost as if we will be dining with the Almighty Himself in heaven."
"Uh, what exactly is Passover?" Clumsy asked.
"According to what Tapper has smurfed from his holy book, Clumsy, it is a feast that the Jews celebrate every year around the time of spring to remember their deliverance from Egypt by the hand of God and His servant Moses," Brainy said.
"You are correct, Brainy, and what's so important about this Passover is that the Messiah Himself will be the fulfillment of what it's really about...not just the deliverance of the Jews by God from the smurfs of the Pharaoh, but the deliverance of all who believe in God's Son from the smurfs of sin and death," Tapper said.
"Of course you know that Judas is going to smurf up at the Passover, laddie," Duncan said.
"I am expecting that to happen regardless of our being there as witnesses, Duncan," Tapper said. "Nevertheless, I want to make sure that my closest friends will be there to smurf history as it will happen a few days from now."
"I'm not sure smurfing there with Judas Iscariot and that cat of his is really a good idea, Tapper," Brainy warned.
"Uh, yeah...what if Ashtoreth starts smurfing us around like Azrael?" Clumsy asked.
"I have a feeling in my spirit that the Lord will restrain Ashtoreth's actions for that particular feast to happen, my fellow Clumsy," Tapper said. "We will have nothing to worry about as long as we are with Mary Magdalene."
"That's good, because I sure hate having something to worry about," Grouchy said.
"Oh, I forgot in all my excitement that I didn't bless the food we're smurfing," Tapper said. He then stopped his eating and bowed his head to pray. "O Lord God Almighty, we thank You for smurfing us to this point in time so that we can learn from You what it is You want us to know. Please bless the food that we eat, that it may nourish our bodies as Your Word may nourish our souls. In the name of Your only begotten Son I pray...Amen."
"Amen," Duncan and Smurfette responded together with their heads bowed.
After dinner, Tapper entertained the Smurflings with stories about when Jesus first appeared at the immersion of John the Baptist, who was the prophet sent to announce the arrival of the Lord. He said that John was a man who lived in the wilderness wearing camel's hair for a garment, and that his only food was locusts and wild honey.
"Wow, this prophet of the Almighty sounds a little like Wild Smurf, Tapper," Nat said, sounding fascinated.
"But how was he able to become a prophet of the Lord if he smurfed most of his life in the wilderness?" Sassette asked.
"He was a child who was smurfed with the Holy Spirit even before he was born, my dear Sassette," Tapper said. "Many people must have smurfed that he was strange, but that was how prophets were to the people of Israel at times...they just obeyed the Lord and trusted in what He was smurfing was for the good of His people."
"But what happened to this John the Baptist after he had immersed Jesus?" Slouchy asked.
"He got arrested and smurfed into King Herod's prison...not the same King Herod who died around the time of Jesus' birth, mind you, but another King Herod...and was mostly kept around to smurf the Words of God to the king until the time of his birthday, when his brother's wife's daughter asked for the prophet's head on a platter, and that's how he smurfed his end," Tapper answered.
"And to think all this time we're smurfing that you're going to lose your head for smurfing words from you holy book, Tapper," Snappy said, feeling around his neck. "He surely lost his quite literally."
"That's the peril that believers in the Almighty must face every day, my fellow Snappy," Tapper said. "That is why His Son tells us that we must count the cost if we want to be His disciples, because it may smurf to the point where it will cost us everything we smurf dearly in this world."
Meanwhile, Grandpa Smurf went to check up on Papa Smurf, whom he hasn't seen for a few days, even for dinner. "Are you all right there, youngster?" he asked. "You haven't smurfed with your little Smurfs since we first smurfed up camp here."
"I'll be all right, Grandpa Smurf...it's just that I have work to do in smurfing the proper alignment for the chronosyte crystals, that's all," Papa Smurf said.
"The way you've been smurfing lately, it's becoming an obsession with you to smurf the right alignment for the crystals when none of us even have the Key Of Chronos," Grandpa Smurf said. "Maybe you should smurf some time away from your search, let your mind not think about the crystals for a while."
"I'm not going to abandon the search, Grandpa Smurf...not now and not ever!" Papa Smurf shouted. "My son Empath needs me! I have abandoned him in the village and I promised that I wouldn't smurf that to him again!"
"Papa Smurf, what you smurfed with Empath this time was not your fault," Grandpa Smurf gently said. "It's time you stopped blaming yourself for what's smurfed with him and let yourself have some time to relax before you resume smurfing with the crystals."
Papa Smurf sighed. "I can't help thinking that everything I smurfed with Empath was my fault. All I ever wanted was to be his Papa Smurf, not the Papa Smurf of a hundred other Smurfs. He was everything in my life to me, and I can't help feeling lost without him."
"I know that Empath is very special to you, Papa Smurf, just as you are to me," Grandpa Smurf said. "I'm sorry that life didn't smurf you what you wanted, but what you have now is greater and more important than just the life of your favorite son. Right now you're their Papa Smurf, and they also need their Papa Smurf to be with them."
Papa Smurf looked at the crystals and realized that Grandpa Smurf was right. But he still didn't know what he was going to do.