FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 029

NAHAN THE PRIEST
31 AD – Temple Mount, Jerusalemfaithful-encounters-cover-w

The fat portions and the blood were brought to Nahan. He directed a priest to first splatter blood against all sides of the altar. With that done, the fat portion was placed on the hot grill of the altar. Flames shot up as the fat drippings hit the coals. Then he descended the steps and a tray of unleavened loaves that Simon brought as a peace offering was handed over to him. Nahan took a quick glance at Simon and the other men. Simon smiled and nodded. He started singing a psalm and was joined in by everyone else.

Nahan slowly approached the porch of the Temple a little apprehensively. It was a feeling he always felt. Afterall, he was about to enter the most holiest place on Earth. And he knew that his heart was not as pure as it should. His final task is to enter The Holy Place and place the unleaven loaves on the golden table for the Bread of Presence. He looked up at the two tall bronze pillars that flanked the golden double doors. The pillars were named Jachin and Boaz. Jachin was of the line of the priesthood. Boaz represented the line of David. The pillar were as tall as six men standing on each other. The gilded folding doors were almost as tall. Two minor priests stood before the doors waiting. As soon as he was inches from the doors, they slowly opened it, keeping their eyes downcast so that they would not look in. Nahan entered.

Inside was dark in contrast to the bright sunlight outside. He paused just inside the portico. As the tall folding doors closed, his gaze was greeted with a yellowish glowing shimmer reflecting on the golden walls. The Holy Place was a long enclosed hall with no windows. The walls were laid out with fine gold panels decored with palm tree and chain designs. The shimmering effect were caused by ten tall golden lampstands, five on the south side and five on the north. At the end of the hall, was a deep violet curtain called the Veil. By the dim light, he could just make out the silhouettes of the cherubim designs on the Veil. The Veil which is almost five inches thick, covers the entrance to the inner chamber, The Most Holy Place. In there houses the holiest object in all the world, the Ark of the Covenant, which he knew he will never see for only the High Priest can ever enter there.

Sitting before the Veil are two objects, the golden altar of Inscense and the table also plated in gold which is his objective. He goes towards it in a slow paced gait quietly chanting a Hebraic psalm of God’s goodness, holiness and sovereignty. When he got to table still chanting, he solemnly replaced the loaves of bread. When done, he bowed to the Veil and slowly back stepped to the doors which opened just as he came to it. Once outside, he handed the tray with the bread to a waiting priest. He then proceeded back to where Simon and the family was waiting for him where he gave a final benediction. As the family left, Nahan took Simon to one of the alcoves.

“Simon, I know you went to that self-proclaimed prophet,” he said.

“Well, Nahan, I know that you know and by the way, he never publically proclaimed anything.”

“But he is making himself very visible for the people to see and to follow. The leadership is concerned of the kind of trouble this man can bring, especially when the Romans hear of it.”

“Oh, I think he nor the Romans are the problem.”

“What are you saying?”

“You knew I was a leper. I come back after 10 years totally healed but yet, instead of praising with me, you were more interested to wring out of me any information of him… for them.” Simon left.

Nahan was about to return to his quarters, when he was summoned by Caiaphas.

Upon entering the High Priest’s chambers, Caiaphas angrily handed a scroll to Nahan.

“He did it again! He miraculously fed five thousand men with only a handful of fish and some loaves!”

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 29th segment of my ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS.  We will take a pause in the story of Nahan the priest and return when face off with the Nazarine. We go back to Demacli, the legion demoniac four years later.

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, please 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 028

NAHAN THE PRIEST
31 AD – Temple Mount, Jerusalemfaithful-encounters-cover-w

On the appointed eighth day, Nahan amusingly watched Simon enter the Temple complex with the entire clan and a crowd of friends. The source of his amusement was that Simon had shaved his head and his beard, as required. The mirth on the faces of all three of Simon’s children testify that they too were trying not to breakout laughing themselves. Then he noticed the animals the family handed over to the priests who already started to examine them for any blemishes. Nahan knew that the final part of the purifiction ceremony only required two male lambs and a one-year-old female lamb, all with no defects, along with a grain offering of choice flour and pressed oil extracted from olives. Instead, Simon took from his herd, two young bulls and a heifer cow that has yet to borne a calf. The women separated from the men and stayed at an elevated floor area designated just for them. The men, being prompted by the priests, moved forward up to the steps of the elevated columned portico that separated the Court of the Priests from the Court of Israel where only those men of Hebrew descent can gather.

Nahan watched them approach with a little apprehension. The men were festive and the women were singing a Psalm of rejoice. But that may change as soon as he makes his announcement. Seeing that he could not delay any longer, he took a step forward and raised his hand up to signal for everyone’s silence. When everyone went quiet, he took a deep breath.

“My friends and family, I must announce that the priesthood no longer consider this as a purification ceremony.” Mumbling voices rose in crescendo. “Please allow me to explain. Ten years ago, I and two others diagnosed Simon to have signs of unusual and spreading whitening of the skin. But I must confess that we were too hasty to declare leprosy. It is quite apparent that by Simon’s healing, the priesthood believes that it was just a skin ailment that lasted so long.”

Simon’s son, Lazarus, was about to protest but Simon held him back by calmly shaking his head.

“Simon?” asked Nahan. “Since you have been away from worship for so long, would you offer your animal and grain sacrifice as a freewill offering of thanksgiving.”

Simon nodded his ascent which was a relief to Nahan. He proceeded through the portico into the inner court or the Court of the Priests. Since he was the presiding priest, he went to the Brazen Sea. It was a massive bronze basin constantly filled with thousands of gallons of water which sat on the southeastern corner of the court. The basin itself sat on the hind quarters of twelve lifesize bronze oxens. Also known as the Laver, it stood taller than two men. Nahan went to a smaller basin that stood waste high, where another priest waited. He rolled up his sleeves and extended his hands and forearms over the basin. The other priest reached up to turn a valve, on the side of the mouth of one of the bronze oxen. Then water poured out of a spout ingeniously hidden in the mouth. After ritually washing his hands, he solemnly crossed to the massive altar on the eastern side. He went up the twelve steps to the top of the platform where he felt the heat from the coals that were just stoked by a priest. Hearing distressed animal sounds, he moved to the edge of the platform to observe the slaughter. The two bulls were already down and the cow was frantically mooing as it was led to the already bloody slaughter area. A priest was calmly stroking it head to help it quiet down. Another brought a clean basin and positioned it under the cow’s neck. He held a knife behind his back waiting for the animal to calm down. And when it did, the priest had adeptly cut into the cow’s jugular. The animal didn’t even feel the slice. Blood poured into the basin held by a priest and was quickly taken away as the cow collapse on the ground. Then, the animals were strung up and other priests start to cut into them.

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 28th 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, please purchase my ebook, THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL, in Amazon.com for only $1.99. The Centurion’s Gospel is the story of Cornelius Metellus, a Roman Centurion who almost saved Jesus Christ from the cross. Just click the link below.

FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 026

MARY, THE FAITHFUL ONE
31AD – Bethanyfaithful-encounters-cover-w

Content she had done her devotional duty, Mary returns to her favorite spot to watch the comings and goings of the people on the road. Her favorite pastime was to randomly choose anyone on the road and imagined what exotic country they came from or what adventure awaited them. She looks up the road, still not much traffic. The lone wagon was out of sight. So, she turns her gaze downwards, tracing the winding road down the highland until she again spots the two men riding donkeys. They were a lot closer now, maybe about three miles. She closed her eyes and imagined that they were merchants from the ancient mountains of Moab from that secret stronghold called Petra. But they are not just merchants, they are actually Nabatean assasins heading for the city. They were sent by the Nabatean king to take revenge on Herod Antipas for divorcing his wife, the daughter of the Nabatean king. Mary smiled on what her imagination conjured up. The part of the story where Herod Antipas divorced his Nabatean wife for Herodias, his brother’s wife, is true. She heard it said by the Baptist before he was arrested by Herod.

For a good forty five minutes, she creatively weave her tale of other villains, heroes and heroines, including an unrequited love affair. But then in the midst of her reverie, she heard a distant whistling sound. At first, she paid it no mind, but then she heard the whistling sound again and it sounded a lot closer. She took a squinty peek out one eye, but everything was blurry. So, she opened her eyes wide, had to blink twice to clear her vision. What she saw were the two men riding donkeys who she playfully imagined were assasins, were actually her brother on the lead donkey and an older man riding the other ass.

“Lazarus!” She gleefully stood up and waved at him. Then her eyes widen in disbelief. The old man got off his ride, pulled off his head cover and veil that hid his face and slowly walked toward her.

“Hello my sweet cherub,” said the old man.

“Abba?” Mary asked, not believing her eyes. Then, as he came closer, she recognized his smile. “Abba… Abba!” She dashed down the short hill to the road but stopped dead at her tracks as she remembered that she could not come close.

“It is fine, Mary,” said Lazarus as he put a hand on his shoulder. “Father is well and healthy.”

Mary then jumped into her father’s embrace.
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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 23rd segment of my ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS. We will comeback to the short story of Mary months later when she first meets Jesus. Our next story is about Nahan the Priest.

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.

FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 025

MARY, THE FAITHFUL ONE
31AD – Bethanyfaithful-encounters-cover-w

Mary always liked butterflies. This is why she had pots of colorful flowers on her window. There was one particular butterfly that she was paying very close attention to as it hovered over a lavender flower that still had its morning dew. It had orange wings with little black spots. The body was grayish with black stripes on its abdomen.

“Well, my winged friend, what adventure has the Lord have for you this fine day?” Mary asked with dreamy eyes. Then she looks past the butterfly, that had finally landed on the flower to extract the nectar, to the blue skies. After a long while, she whispers to the sky, “Lord, what new adventure have you for me this day?” She smiled.

But her revery was soon intruded upon by a demanding voice. “Mary… Mary! The food in the kitchen will not be done by itself!” It was the voice of her oldest sister, Martha.

Mary flinched at the thought of helping out another day in the kitchen with Martha ordering her around. She can just hear her in her head. ‘Mary, do this! Mary, do that!’ Ever since Lazarus left about two weeks ago, Martha had been ruling the household like a queen.

“No! Today, I am sneaking out like a thief,” she said to herself.

And snuck out, she did. Avoiding her sister and the servants, she dashed out the back gate hearing her sister shout for her. Feeling free as a butterfly, Mary giggles as she skips and a hop straight to the village gates. She knows she’s not a little girl anymore but she was so happy to escape, she didnot care if she acted a little childish.

She headed for a hill that overlooked the road. There was an old oak tree there that she liked to sit under and daydream. As she got there, she sat down on her favorite spot which was a cushion of grass between two roots. From her vantage point, she can see the road wind down the highlands. She can almost see the great river that divides the green region of Judea and the brown arid region of Perea. There was hardly any traffic on the road except for a lone wagon heading for the city and what looks like two men riding donkeys still some distance away.

Mary wondered if that could finally be Lazarus returning home with her father. He said he was going to where father exiled himself and bring him to that healer they heard rumors about. That was about two weeks ago. She had hoped and fantasized he would be miraculously healed. But then she could not help remembering Martha’s words saying that no leper had ever been healed. Even her uncle didnot believe the stories coming down from the north.

“Oh Abba! I miss you so,” she sobbed and her eyes were teary. She got on her knees and turned at the direction of Jerusalem, to where the Temple of God sat on that holy mountain. She bowed down and prayed, “Dear Lord… I beseech you again for your incredible mercy to bring my father home. I recall the story of how your servant Elijah lain upon the dead body of a boy and brought him back to life. Oh Lord, oh Lord. If Elijah can bring a dead boy back, well Lord… I am sorry, Lord. I am too presumptuous. Forgive me, Lord. I am not deserving. I am just a girl who misses her Abba.”

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 23rd 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.

FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 024

SIMON THE LEPER
31 AD – Cleansed – Galileefaithful-encounters-cover-w

Then, the pounding stopped and he heard like a long roaring sound. When he opened his eyes, the first thing he saw were beefy legs. He looked up in wonder to find what he thought was a giant of a man swinging his staff in a wide circle driving the angry attackers back. Then, the angry voices quieted down.

He slowly and painfully stood up amazed as he watched the Nazarene calmly walking over to the giant and placed his hand on his arm. He looked up at him half-scoldingly and said, “Peter…” He didn’t have to finish the sentence. The big man returned a half grin and a shrug. He smiled shaking his head and then turned his attention to Simon.

Simon took two steps forward and then like he realized who he was facing threw himself on the ground and asked, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

“I am willing; be cleansed.”

Then the Nazarene started to reach down and was actually going to touch him. The crowd simultaneously gasped and Simon flinched back. But the Nazarene was quicker. Before Simon could back away, his right hand was on his back, his left was gently grasping his arm and helping him up.

Simon felt a warm sensation through out his body. Then the first thing he noticed was that he had feelings in his feet. He actually could feel the grass under his toes. Even his fingertips were tingling. He looked at his arms to find normal skin color rather than the expected sickly white flakes and bleeding sores.

“Look at his face!” exclaimed an awed voice from the crowd.

Simon hesitated for just a moment, then lifted trembling hands to his face. What his probing fingers revealed was a whole nose restored and no sign of sores.

Then, the valley was filled with celebratory singing and dancing. Lazarus, who had witnessed everything from among the crowd, went directly to his father and embrace him. They both wept.

“Come, follow me,” said the Nazarene.

Simon, still hugging his son, followed the rabbi to a nomad tent under the trees.

“Please, sit down,” the rabbi gestured to a matt on the ground. He went over to a low table and poured water into three clay bowls. He served the two bowls first to them, took the third bowl and joined them on the matt. “Drink first, then we talk.”

A woman brought in a large plate of flat breads, fruits, some meats and placed it in the middle of them. After they ate, the rabbi called for the men that were just outside the tent. Twelve men entered including the big man called Peter.

“Andrew, please take a couple of men and follow this young man to their camp and bring everything back here.”

“Yes, master.”

When they left, the rabbi gestured for the big man and two others to sit down with them while the others sat in other parts of the tent.

“Lord, what is your name? I only know of you as the Nazarene.”

“I am Jesus.”

 

In the morning, Simon came out of his tent feeling invigorated. They were planning to pull up stakes and make the return trip to Bethany.

“Well, father, when we get home, we have to tell as many people that we found the Messiah… and show them how you were healed… and then…”

“No, I will not.”

“What! What are you saying, father? People must be told.”

“I agree, but it will not come from me.”

“Why, father?”

“Because the master asked me,” Simon said solemnly. “His words to me last night were ‘Tell not anyone about this. Go, instead to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering as is according to the law passed down by Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. It is most important that this will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.’ ”

“We cannot even tell the girls?”

“Of course, we can.”

“Good. I cannot wait to see Mary’s face when you get home.”

 

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 24th segment of my ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS. We will take a pause on Simon the Leper’s story and visit him again some 20 years later. Our next story is about young Mary, daughter of Simon the Leper.

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.

FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 023

SIMON THE LEPER
31 AD – Cleansed – Galileefaithful-encounters-cover-w

The hill was a little steeper, so Simon had to slow down his descent. Lazarus was following a short distance behind. He looks up and saw that the Nazarene was already in the valley approaching the creek, working his way through the crowd. He was approaching the edge of the crowd on his side of the valley. He paused to figure out where to go. Should he skirt the edge of the gathered mass of people? It looks like the only way to get to him was through all those people. Simon hesitated.

“Father, what is going on?” His son asked as he gasped for air.

“I have to see him, Lazarus.”

Lazarus looked at him then he looked at the crowd.

“Father… No! Those people will kill you! You do not have to see you him today.”

Simon looked at him then said, “Yes, I do.”

Simon started to walk towards the crowd who were still about thirty feet away. Lazarus, not able to block or physically detain him, followed from behind.

When he was about ten feet from the crowd, Simon started to shout out to them. “Unclean! Unclean! Make way! Unclean!” At first, no one turned around, but then a young woman heard his shout. She turned around and screamed out loud. Apparently, Simon’s veil was uncovered and all the woman saw was a leperous face with no nose. Her scream came to the attention of other women and they too joined in the screaming. When people saw a leper walking purposely towards them, they scrambled out of his way. Simon managed to successfully penetrate through the crowd, so he thought he was going to make it. But then their initial surprise and panic quickly turned into anger.

Simon had to slow down because the angry shouting crowd was not moving aside as much. Then, they started to pelt him with stones. Some of the bolder ones started to come at him with long sticks. One of them hit him in the back of the head and Simon collapsed on his knees. Then they started to pound on him, hitting him on his back and his head.

Simon was dazed and his head was ringing. At one time, he thought his son was calling for him but his voice sounded so distant. Then, the pounding stopped and he heard like a long roaring sound. When he opened his eyes, the first thing he saw were beefy legs. He looked up in wonder to find what he thought was a giant of a man swinging his staff in a wide circle driving the angry attackers back. Then, the angry voices quieted down.

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 23rd 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.

FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 022

SIMON THE LEPER
31 AD – The Sermon – Galileefaithful-encounters-cover-w

Simon thought he ended his sermon there, for the Nazarene paused for such a long time. But then he spoke of entering God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate and then of being wary of false prophets by deeply checking their fruit. Somehow, the delivery was a little different and Simon wondered if the narrow gate had something to do with him.

And sure enough, the Nazarene spoke of himself and said something that may be construed as blasphemous.

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” [Matthew 7:21-27 NLT]

Then, the Nazarene stood up indicating he was done. The people started to clap and call out to him.

For Simon, the words of the Nazarene was heaven in itself. He had almost forgotten that he was stricken with a flesh eating disease that will sooner or later take his life. He so wanted to live not because he was afraid. But because he wanted to be part of the Kingdom of Heaven. He watched the Nazarene work his way down the hill through the crowd. It looked like he was making his way to a copse of low lying trees on his side of the stream. It was then he noticed some tents among the trees. A thought occured to him.

Suddenly, he was up and rushing down the hill with his son asking a little surprisingly on where he was going.

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 22th 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.