FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 046

NAHAN THE PRIEST
32 AD – Confrontation – Temple Mount, Jerusalem, Judeafaithful-encounters-cover-w

Nahan was emerging through the western gate unto the Temple court which was, as usual busy with the festival’s pilgrims. It is the fourth day of the Feast of Tabernacles. It is an annual event when all of Israel erect makeshift tabernacles mostly on the roofs of their homes to commemorate Israel’s forty years of wandering. It usually lasted seven days but there is talk of extending another week. A large number of festival’s revelers had erected makeshift booths throughout the vast court. Much were mostly lean-to structures made of wood planks, stripped palm branches and odd collection of multi-colored fabric materials.

Nahan was heading to the Temple complex when he was intercepted by a minor priest.

“Nahan, the High Priest requires your presence right away. Where have you been all week?”

“I have been at the coast near Joppa at the behest of the High Priest. What is wrong?”

“The Nazarene is here!”

“What? I thought he was at the north country. Tell me what had happened.”

“He just showed up two days ago and started to teach at the columns fronting the Temple. For the past two days, we, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees have been trying to bait him to make mistakes so that the Romans have cause to arrest him. But so far, we have failed and his popularity grows.”

“Come! Let us go to the council chamber,” said Nahan.

They quickened the pace to the council chamber of the High Priest. When he entered the chamber, the council of priests were in the middle of a heated debate.

“Why are we not arresting him?”

“Yes! We should send the Temple guards now.”

There were assenting comments throughout the chamber.

“Enough debate,” said the High Priest. “There are over five thousand people on the temple court right now. They are excited of him being there. They think he is the one. Imagine what would happen if we arrested him in front of them.”

“A riot would definitely ensue,” said Nahan out loud. “And it will definitely attract the Romans.”

“Exactly,” said the High Priest. “We need another plan.”

“Holy One, we must discredit him publicly,” said Nahan. “We must show the people that he is not who they think he is.”

“I agree,” said the High Priest. “Nahan, you are an expert of the law and an accomplished orator. When he returns to the temple tomorrow, you will debate him.”

The next day, Jesus was at his usual spot, on the steps of Solomon’s colonnade, just across from the steps that led into the Temple. He was again teaching the people. But this time, there was a greater number of the ruling class occupying the platform and steps just across from him. Among them were Annas, the former High Priest and unspoken leader of the ruling class, and his son, Caiaphas, the current High Priest.

As he taught, the people and many who were there to oppose him were astonished with his words. Nahan can see that the High Priest was showing concern that even his people were being swayed. He turned to Nahan and gave a single nod… a prearranged signal.

Nahan then stepped up to the edge of the platform wearing a rich robe of purple with gold trimmings. But instead of talking to the crowd, he loudly addressed himself to the leadership.

“Holy One and fellow leaders of the people! This man here is no teacher of the law; for he has never been among us who have spent everyday of our lives studying under the great rabbis of our time. He is uncouth and lacks the sophistication of any of our learned teachers. He is, after all, just from Nazareth and a carpenter’s son at that.” The men around him laughed. “How can this man be the Messiah? He openly consorts with sinners! Even one of his closest followers is a notorious tax collector.” There was more laughter.

Emboldened by the cheers of the ruling class, Nahan continued on maligning the character of Jesus, but this time he was talking to the crowd. For fifteen minutes he twisted the teachings of Jesus and mocked them as nonsense. “It is better that you return to Galilee and teach to the sheep and goats.”
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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 46th segment of my ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS.

Feel free to leave your comments below. I look forward to read your comments and constructive inputs that will help me direct my creative thoughts.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

PS… If you want to support my writing, there are two options:

1. Donate $2-$5 to my PAYPAL account [click below]

DONATE TO MY PAYPAL

2. Purchase my ebook, THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL, in Amazon.com for only $1.99. The Centurion’s Gospel is the story of Cornelius Metellus, the Roman Centurion who almost saved Jesus Christ from the cross. Just click the link below.

FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 045

MARY, THE FAITHFUL ONE
32 AD – Meaning of True Love – Bethany, Judeafaithful-encounters-cover-w

Jesus taught more on things that the disciples need to be followers, but Mary heard very little of it. In her mind’s eye, her finger was tracing his face from his moving lips up his manly snub nose much like her father’s (except that the bridge of his is slightly longer) to his eyebrows which were slightly curved and not too bushy. His forehead was taller than most. She imagined running her fingers in his bluish-black shoulder length hair. All in all, he was not really handsome. By most he would be almost considered ordinary. But for Mary, he was heavenly.

When he finished his lesson, Mary asked, “Lord? Tell me about love.”

Mary can almost feel the amusement of the men behind her. Jesus smiled encouragingly. He looked to the others and gave a nod. She heard them get up and left the garden to just the both of them.

Jesus knew what was in Mary’s heart… Romance. He knew that she was romantically infatuated with him. He spoke to her gently and with understanding. He told her that first and foremost, he must complete the task that was set by his Father above. A task that will become known to her and his followers soon. A task that only he can undergo singly and alone.

Mary understood. She asked, “Was it wrong for me to… to love like this?”

“Oh Mary!” Jesus lightly laughed out loud. “Of course, it is not wrong. In the beginning, your Father in heaven had always intended that people should not be alone. The way a man and a woman are attracted to each other was the way the Creator had always intended. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So, they are no longer two, but one flesh.’ ” [Matthew 19:5-6]

“What you feel, though, you will feel many times but they are always short-lived as they were meant to be.”

“Meant to be? What do you mean, Lord?”

“True Love goes beyond the passion of romance and infatuation. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

“Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. Knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! When the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. But love will last forever!” [1 Corinthians 13:4-10]

“Lord, I think I understand but I so wanted to go where you go,” she sobbed. “Can I not go wherever you go?”

“That time will come,” Jesus said as he looked at her penetratingly and smiled. “For now, I think it best that that time would be best spent with my mother. Would you like that?”

She nodded.

“I’ll speak to your father.”

Then, Martha came into the garden and she did not look happy. She looked at her. Mary expected a earful but instead Martha approached Jesus.

“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” She was almost pleading.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” [Luke 10:40-42]

Mary thought that she probably was free forever from helping out in the kitchen, but then Jesus’ words on love, selflessness and sacrifice convicted her heart. As Martha walked back inside, looking a little dejected, Mary said, “Wait for me, Martha.”

They hugged and the both went in. Jesus was pleased.

At the evening meal, as Mary was helping serve, John and Andrew arrived from the city. They reported that the priesthood had given orders to arrest Jesus when he shows up at the festival. But they gave up looking out for him, thinking he was still in Galilee.

Mary’s father, Simon asks, “What is the plan, Master?”

Jesus stood. He looked at them all, then he stops to look at Mary.

“Tomorrow, I will go up to the festival and the son of man will make his appearance. Tomorrow, the Son of man will pick a fight.”

———————————————–

Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 45th segment of my ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS.

Feel free to leave your comments below. I look forward to read your comments and constructive inputs that will help me direct my creative thoughts.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

PS… If you want to support my writing, there are two options:

1. Donate $2-$5 to my PAYPAL account [click below]

DONATE TO MY PAYPAL

2. Purchase my ebook, THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL, in Amazon.com for only $1.99. The Centurion’s Gospel is the story of Cornelius Metellus, the Roman Centurion who almost saved Jesus Christ from the cross. Just click the link below.

THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch4 – part 5

SPYING IN A TREE – Capernaum, GalileeCG-book-cover-w

The winter was mild and spring came early in the Galilean hillsides. Capernaum was again busy with commerce. Five large caravans arrived laden with spices and other exotic food stuff from Persia, India and even from the fabled lands of the Far East. The fishermen were out on the lake in force taking advantage of the calm waters and had returned with a rich bounty. Though there was still a chill in the air, the market square was busy with merchants. Cornelius and Porcius went from one stall to the other haggling with the merchants; though Porcius did most of the haggling. When they neared the Jewish sector of the city, Cornelius separated from Porcius and headed down a side alley toward where he knew where the synagogue was located. Though Cornelius was dressed like the locals, he could not hide that he was a foreigner. This fact was not lost on him as he passed some people who were obviously wary of him. But yet, many knew him. During the winter months, Jacob had petitioned the head of the synagogue to allow Cornelius to enter as a proselyte. At first, the synagogue leader and members of the council were doubtful because Cornelius is a Roman soldier. But when they were eventually told of his demotion and the reason, they relented and allowed him access. Many were surprised to find that Cornelius was well versed in the books of Moses and the prophets. This and occasional contributions to the synagogue’s coffers helped ease the tension considerably.

As he turned a corner, he saw Jacob talking to one of the rabbi. So, he held his position, not wanting to intrude, but Jacob beckoned him to approach. When he came close, he bowed to the rabbi and offered the traditional greeting. The rabbi returned the greeting and then whispered something in Jacob’s ear. Then he went into the synagogue. Cornelius sensed something wrong.

“Why are we not entering?” He asked.

“A number of young men arrived from Jerusalem. They are questioning your admission into the synagogue because you are Roman!” Jacob answered angrily. “They are zealots! …fanatics! They hate everything that is foreign, especially the Romans! I am afraid that we will not be able to join the brethren this evening. But the rabbi and the council will meet with a few of these young noblemen tonight at the house of Elan, the synagogue leader, on your behalf.”

Jacob continued on another subject but Cornelius had not heard what he was talking about. His mind was on the fact that zealots can be found in the synagogue leader’s house tonight. He debated in his mind if a squad of legionnaires should surround the house and set a trap for them. But he threw that idea out. He needed information. He needed names! A plan was forming in his mind.

“Cornelius?” He shook himself back to awareness and looked at a concerned Jacob. “You were not listening. Are you disappointed?”

Shaking his head, he said, “It is of no consequence.” Not wanting to explain further, he asks, “Where is Trax?”

“The boy is sick again. I told him to stay in bed.”

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The story continues on in my next post a week from now.

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Johann Q

FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 044

MARY, THE FAITHFUL ONE
32 AD – Meaning of True Love – Bethany, Judeafaithful-encounters-cover-w

Mary had managed to escape again from Martha. Martha had given her much to do again. She was preparing the house for, what Mary considered another frivolous party for another unknown visitor who had sent word the day before of their arrival. Martha loves to play hostess to many of their father’s business acquaintances and even to quite a few of her suitors. Traditionally, husbands were already chosen by the parents even when their daughters were young. But since Mary’s mother had passed away when she was very young, her father, Simon, had forwent tradition and told that they are free to choose a partner for themselves. Martha is closed to eighteen but no man had interest her yet. Mary suspects that her father may have to secure her a husband soon if he ever want to see grandchildren. Lazarus who is about twenty would be expected to wed when he reach his thirties. As for herself, her father had not spoken to her about love or marriage at all. She thinks that her father is trying to keep her as his little girl for as long it took. But Mary had her own ideas about romance and escaping from Martha gave her opportunity to daydream more about it under her favorite tree.

She went to her tree about two hours after the noon meal living out her romantic fantasy until sleep took her into slumber land. In her dreams, she was looking up to the man of her dreams except that she could not make out his face which was in dark deep shadows because the sun was at his back. Then he extended his hand down to help her up when she noticed that his wrist had a cruel scar on it. Then an echoey voice was calling her name repeatedly.

“Ma… ry… Ma… ry… Mary… Mary!”

Suddenly, her eyes snapped open and there before her was a hand just like her dream except there was no scar.

“Mary, wake up!” It was the laughing voice of her brother. When her eyes focused, she realized that it was nearly dusk. She saw her grinning brother and a group of men looking up from the road. She looked at the hand that awaited to help her up. She followed the arm up to a smiling face of someone she did not recognize. He had a short beard and his hair came down to his shoulders. But it was his eyes that fascinated her. It’s like they can see deep into her very soul. As he helped her to her feet, she felt herself blush.

When they joined her brother and the others on the road, Lazarus introduced her to the man.

“Mary, this is Jesus. He was the one that healed father.”

Mary did not hesitate to gleefully throw her arms around Jesus’ neck which caused the disciples to laugh in approval.
The next day, Jesus was teaching in an enclosed garden. The Twelve disciples were there with Simon and his son, Lazarus. Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet. One or two of the disciples probably noticed that as she attentively looked up at Jesus she was obviously glassy eyed. Even Lazarus was amused with the wideness of her eyes. But as to Mary, she was joyously oblivious to her surrounding. All she saw and heard was only him.

“If anyone wishes to follow me as my disciple,” Jesus teaches. “He must deny himself. That is, set aside selfish interests, and take up your cross.”

“Master?” asked Simon Peter. “What did you mean ‘take up our cross’?”

“A time will soon come when all these things will become clear. For now, you must learn to develop the willingness to endure whatever may come and follow me. This mean believing in me, conforming to my example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in me.

“For whoever wishes to save his life in this world will eventually lose it through death, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find life with me for all eternity. Consider this, for what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world… wealth, fame, success, but forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

“For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory and majesty of His Father with His angels, and then He will repay each one in accordance with what he has done. And I assure you and most solemnly say to you, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” [Matthew 16:24-28 Amplified Bible]

———————————————–

Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 44th segment of my ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS.

Feel free to leave your comments below. I look forward to read your comments and constructive inputs that will help me direct my creative thoughts.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

PS… If you want to support my writing, there are two options:

1. Donate $2-$5 to my PAYPAL account [click below]

DONATE TO MY PAYPAL

2. Purchase my ebook, THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL, in Amazon.com for only $1.99. The Centurion’s Gospel is the story of Cornelius Metellus, the Roman Centurion who almost saved Jesus Christ from the cross. Just click the link below.

FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 043

ZACCHAEUS THE LITTLE PUBLICAN
32 AD – Guess Who’s Coming For Lunch – Jericho, Jordan River Valleyfaithful-encounters-cover-w

The luncheon was a grand one. Food and drinks were served in every open courtyard of Zacchaeus’ vast villa. Though his house had the distinction of being the home of the hated tax collector, it did not deter many of the town folk to eat his food which was openly provided. Jesus and his entourage with their host had finished their meal under a covered raised pavillion facing the already overcrowded courtyard. Zacchaeus, Jesus and three others were huddled together listening to a confessed story told by their host.

When Jesus smiled and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder, the people began to mutter among themselves. Then a young Pharisee among the crowd, spoke out loud, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” [Luke 19:7]

Zacchaeus stood up looking at the grumbling crowd, then he looked down at Jesus who was smiling encouragingly. He came to a decision that had suddenly unburdened his heart.

“Look, Lord!,” He excitedly announced. “Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor.”

The people were stunned to silence. But Zacchaeus felt that he had to do more. He saw among the crowd the man that had bullied him and he took revenge on him by cheating him greatly out of his land. Zacchaeus went to him and said out loud, “If I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” [Luke 19:8] Then he reached out a hand. The man’s lofty demeanor softened and slowly he took his hand and shook it.

There was a smatter of clapping among the crowd still stunned by the tax collector’s declaration. But the clapping increased as Jesus himself came down happily laughing and clapping.

Jesus said out loud, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” [Luke 19:9,10]

But then the young Pharisee who boldly stood up among his peers challenged Jesus by saying, “Teacher, your teachings are inconsistent!”

Jesus faced him calmly. Emboldened, the Pharisee continued. “I heard you speak to a young rich man. He came to you and asked if he could enter eternal life. You replied to him, ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.’ He declared he had kept them all since he was a boy. Then you said that he lacked one thing; told him to go sell everything and give to the poor; and then follow you. After which he walked away sad. You concluded with, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!’ Such were your words.” [Mark 10:17-23]

“It is not my teaching that is inconsistent. It is your conclusion that is in error.” Jesus offers no other explanation to the Pharisee who returned to his companions unsatisfied.

Jesus led Zacchaeus into the house with the disciples close behind.

“Master?” It was the disciple Philip asking, “What is the difference between the young rich man and our friend, Zacchaeus?”

“The young rich man’s problem was always his riches. His money was his idol… his god. And most importantly, he was without faith.” Then Jesus took Zacchaeus to the side.

“Zacchaeus, my friend, I must go,” Jesus said.

“Lord, I will follow you,” Zacchaeus begged.

“A time will come when you will. Stay here and be strong in your faith. Soon all things will be made clear.”

“Where will you go, Lord?”

“To see a young girl under a tree.”

———————————————–

Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 43rd segment of my ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS.

Feel free to leave your comments below. I look forward to read your comments and constructive inputs that will help me direct my creative thoughts.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

PS… If you want to support my writing, there are two options:

1. Donate $2-$5 to my PAYPAL account [click below]

DONATE TO MY PAYPAL

2. Purchase my ebook, THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL, in Amazon.com for only $1.99. The Centurion’s Gospel is the story of Cornelius Metellus, the Roman Centurion who almost saved Jesus Christ from the cross. Just click the link below.