THE SYROPHOENICIAN WOMAN OF MARK 7:26 [part 4]

A short story by JQuisumbing

Continued…

“You would think that their God would get tired of saving them especially when they continued to disobey him,” said the old cart driver. “Why would he do that, I wonder?”

“From what I understood, their God made a promise to the Jew’s ancient patriarch, Abraham, thousands of years ago,” she answered.

“What promise?”

“Three promises, actually,” she answered. “The first is about the land which will be theirs… forever. The second was made to Abraham himself.”

“Fascinating. Do tell.”

“Well, according to the stories, their God took him out to look at the night sky and count the stars. Then he said, ‘So shall your offspring be.’[Genesis 15:5] Seeing the incomprehension in his eyes, she explained, “His promise was that Abraham would always have descendent.”

“Ah. How about the third promise?”

“Well, this is where it gets interesting. The third was actually part of the first and seems like it was actually made for us… that is, we who are not direct descendent. Somehow, through Abraham’s offspring all nations on earth will be blessed.1 I was curious, so, I pursued it. And what I found out was about a legend of a coming Messiah; a Messiah who may be walking this land… today.”

[1. Genesis 26:4]

“Messiah? I heard of that word a number of times before. But what does it mean?”

“It’s the Hebrew word for Savior.”

“Ah yes… I’ve heard that the Jews talk of their waiting of such a one, to lead them to freedom against the Romans. So far, since I was a boy, there had been three of them stirring trouble. The last one, his bones’ still hanging on the cross along the old king’s road near Sepphoris… I think.”

“No, I think the Messiah is not just for the salvation of the Jews from the Romans. As I understand it, the Messiah is for all of us.”

“Us! A savior for us? You, me, Akbar on the lead wagon and the other drovers… all of us? Mmmm… Let me ask this. What do us need saving from exactly? I mean… ah… I live a simple life and I think I’m a good person. Do you think I’m a good person?”

“Of course, you are! But we are not perfect… or maybe that is not the right word. We are not complete to be with our Creator.”

“How are we not complete?”

To be continued…

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Author’s note:

Though this short story is basically fiction, the character of Elpida is based on an actual female personality described in Mark 7. She was a gentile who showed great faith.

There are many such characters in the Bible, many of them were not named at all, but yet there are worthy stories to tell about them. With the help of some sanctified imagination and some artistic license, I felt their stories should be told especially of their faithful encounters with Jesus Christ.

THE SYROPHOENICIAN WOMAN OF MARK 7:26 [part 3]

A short story by JQuisumbing

Continued…

“This is an even longer story to tell,” said Elpida.

“Wait!” The old cart driver hopped off the cart and went to the front. Elpida heard him whistle and gave some instructions to someone in Arabic. Then he quickly came back to the cart and jumped back on. “The oxens are tied to the cart in-front, so, we will not stray off the road, and we are still half a day out of Cadasa. I am all ears.”

Elpida could not help but laugh. The story she told him went back a few years after she left Greece. She had visited many temples, shrines and religious centers along the route she followed on the coast of Asia Minor. Epimenides identified that the unknown god was a foreign god. In her search, she had learned of a variety of gods from multiple cultures. She had discounted the deities of Rome who were practically the same Greek gods but with Roman names. She also discounted the gods of Egypt, Africa and an even little known fierce people of the frozen north. At that matter, she had serious doubts that the unknown god was part of any polytheistic system. However, there was one god that interested her. It was the Phoenician god, Baal. Even, if the Phoenicians worship other gods, to them, he stood out as being aptly called Ruler of the Universe, Rider of the Clouds, Almighty, and Lord of the Earth. At least, she thought.

When she arrived in Tyre, her search took another turn. Baal was not so powerful as his title entailed. Where once the temples of Baal dotted Phoenician territories throughout the Mediterranean in the past, but what Elpida found in the capital city was just a dilapidated one room structure with a very beat up small bronze statue. Through the words of a disillusioned priestess, Baal had lost his standing among the Phoenicians long time ago. His downfall was popularly credited to the conquests of the Babylonians, the Greeks and now the Romans. But the priestess had reluctantly revealed that Baal’s downfall was actually caused when he was defeated on a lone mountain of Carmel which was by the sea south of Tyre. When pressed for more, she revealed that Baal was spectacularly defeated by the one God of the Jews.

“By the God of the Jews!? I have not heard of this before,” cackled the old cart driver. “And I thought that this trip was going to be boring. So, please continue.”

“Well, I left Tyre and proceeded to Cadasa, where my family was from, and it was there I got to learn about the one God of the Hebrews.”

Elpida told him that after she settled in, she found a small settlement of Jews nearby. She befriended an old Jewish couple, who were the only ones of that tight-lipped little community that would talk to her. From their tutelage, she learned of the one God that created the world in just six days; and who have flooded the entire Earth for the evil of early man. This one God had chosen a single man, Abraham, from among all mankind to build the nation of Israel. The same nation he later saved in such a spectacular way from the four hundred year clutches of Egypt into the very land she lives on today. Time after time, the people of Israel needed saving and every time the one God had redeemed them undeservedly and quite miraculously. Interestingly enough, Elpida had observed that in every form of the Lord’s salvation, he had imparted the use of a redeemer… a human savior.

To be continued…

PREV


Author’s note:

Though this short story is basically fiction, the character of Elpida is based on an actual female personality described in Mark 7. She was a gentile who showed great faith.

There are many such characters in the Bible, many of them were not named at all, but yet there are worthy stories to tell about them. With the help of some sanctified imagination and some artistic license, I felt their stories should be told especially of their faithful encounters with Jesus Christ.

THE SYROPHOENICIAN WOMAN OF MARK 7:26 [part 2]

A short story by JQuisumbing

Continued…

Elpida bent down to read the worn out and somewhat small inscription on the base which read “Agnostos Theos”, that is “Unknown God”. Shrugging her shoulders, she went on her way to do her business, forgetting it. But then in a country lane, she found another shrine; then another; then another. For the past month, she had discovered over ten of them mostly in Athens with a few in surrounding villages.

The priests told her that some three generations or so ago, the city was in the midst of a great pestilence. Epimenides of Crete, a prophet of great fame, came to the city at that time. It was he that counseled a rather odd plan after the sacrifices to the other known gods resulted in nothing. Flocks of hungry sheep were to be let loose throughout the city and the surrounding districts. Priests and their acolytes were to follow the sheep and observe them. Epimenides had instructed them to take note of any hungry sheep that stops to rest instead of naturally racing to the fields to graze. He also suggested that the sheep may identify which god was strongly offended by the Athenians. Skeptics were surprised that a great number of sheep did not graze but instead rested in numerous clusters in different parts of the city, none in front of any temple. Wherever the sheep rested, the priests erected an altar and sacrificed them there. Epimenides then declared that the god that was offended was a foreign deity and altars to this god was to be erected. Not long after, the plague ended.

Elpida was so intrigued that she would pester her teachers about this god, but most offered very little. She finally left that temple, moved to Athens and hounded the wise men of the different temples. Many speculated about this god but she was not satisfied. Eventually, her single mindedness for this foreign god had branded her as a heretic and was being driven out of the city. Her relatives told her that maybe she should return to the land of her birth.

“And so, you returned here in Sidon,” said the old cart driver. “I take it your travels down south not once but four times have something to do with your search and ah… for your daughter. How is she?”

“You are perceptive,” she smiled at him. “Before I left her over a month ago, Yllana was showing signs of no more than two evil spirits tormenting her. At times, one or both spirits would cause her to fall on the floor and shake uncontrollably. It was painful to watch. I have seen this before.”

“So have I, especially among the Jews. And I have also heard of a Jewish teacher with wondrous healing power. I take it that was your reason to go south.”

“Yes. I heard from a friend who was recently healed by him and that he was in the Capernaum district. I missed him by a week.”

“So, is there a connection between him and your mysterious unknown god?”

“I will know when he heals my Yllana.”

“When! You sound convinced. Besides the rumors, what made you think that this Jew can do this?”

“This is an even longer story to tell.”

To be continued…

PREV


Author’s note:

Though this short story is basically fiction, the character of Elpida is based on an actual female personality described in Mark 7. She was a gentile who showed great faith.

There are many such characters in the Bible, many of them were not named at all, but yet there are worthy stories to tell about them. With the help of some sanctified imagination and some artistic license, I felt their stories should be told especially of their faithful encounters with Jesus Christ.