Who Am I?

My mystery guest came to my mind while reading the Gospels recently. The problem I had was to provide clues to his identity that were sly enough to disguise it but not so enigmatic that they would totally obscure it. So, here they are:

  1. It is easy with a name like mine to be last in line
  2. I am mentioned in all four Gospels, always by apposition either to my sons or my wife.
  3. I am not a saint, but
  4. I have saints to the left of me and saints to the right of me.
  5. I was well known by the priests in the temple.
  6. I had a very good contract with them for my fare.
  7. I had hoped to leave the business to my sons but they had better things to do.
  8. My net worth enabled me to hire helping hands.
  9. My sons’ friends started calling me nerges, which is an Aramaic word. I never understood why at the time. Now I do. I can’t tell you what the word means or you’ll figure out who I am.
  10. I named one of my boys after Jonas the prophet. You might say for business reasons.
  11. While this younger son was just a lad I often took him with me to the temple. He loved to pray there and chat with my customers. Even the high priest was fond of him.
  12. I never knew it until after my death that my sons actually saw prophets of old and heard them speak. They kept this secret to themselves.
  13. My family line ended with my sons. Neither of them had children.
  14. My death was peaceful; my funeral unpretentious, no fanfare.
  15. Thousands of people still visit the grave of one of my sons. Not so the other one. In fact, the latter’s tomb has been found, but there are no bones in it. I know why.
  16. My family and I are in heaven now. And my boys? Well let’s just say that I am proud of them and I thank God that they “had better things to do” than take over my business.