“Make no mistake, Jesus is spellbound. Forty days is a long time to hang out. But there is abroad a transaction—a negotiation, and these things take time. Jesus declines all but the simplest amenities from his host, he is judiciously polite, boundlessly inquisitive and returns flattery with flattery, jibe for jibe, and laughs uproariously at the best of the dark teacher’s jokes.
But as time passes and they take one another’s measure, there departs from their relationship a thread of civility. What Jesus declines from his host is taken as an affront and the dark teacher unravels ruses of unvarnished hostility, deceit and degradation to express his rage at his failed seduction. What burns deep and hot in the dark teacher’s realm is a faint glow compared to the flame Jesus has nurtured in his heart.
He rejects succor from the dark teacher and waits out dawn after dawn, suffering pain, loneliness, doubt and despair and accords to these their share of power in tears, and his tears release him.”