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.

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 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.

————————————————————-

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.
————————————————————-

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.”

————————————————————-

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 004

S2 – Simon the Leper – The Hard Decision – Bethany

“You… have… leprosy…” These words kept echoing in Simon’s head through out the long night. As the sun broke the horizon, Simon refused to get out of the cot, but he was wide awake.

Before the priests left him, which was two days ago, Nadab asked him, “What have you done, Simon, to incurr God’s ire so? A man of your standing… falling lower below the level of a… common sinner. What have you done?”

“I… I don’t know!”

To this day, his mind was still in turmoil wondering how he got leprosy but more so on the why. He always thought he was in God’ good graces. His business was doing very well. His children are healthy. He did all that was required of him according to the law. Even when he lost his wife, he still brought the proper sacrifices. So, why did God allow this harshest of punishment on him? Unless, he was truly unworthy. For why else did he get leprosy? His mind went around and around with these thoughts like a vicious circle.

At end of the fourth day, hunger won out against depression. His brother, Tahan, was the one who brought the food.

“Simon,” Tahan said as he placed the basket of food on the floor then retreated back to the top of the stairs. “What is the plan, brother? You have not come out for days. This is not like you.”

“Well, brother, there is this thing in me called Leprosy,” he said sarcastically. He picked up the basket and went to sit in the shade. “Did you talk to Nadab?”

“Yes. He gave us instructions.”

“Did he mention about me going to the leper colony?”

“He still think you should go there. But from what I hear from our relatives, you don’t deserve to live the rest of your life in luxury and in safety.”

“How about you, Tahan? Do you agree?”

“You should know me better than that, brother. I am not our cousin.”

“Yes, I know that. Forgive me. There is such bitterness in me. And I am not talking against our dear cousin.”

“Simon, it is not yours or even my place to lay blame on our Lord. Do you remember our late father’s lesson from Job?”

Simon blinked with realization, for he was just thinking about Job. He and Job did share similar spiritual dilemna. Job was a rich man that lived his life to please the Lord. Somehow, the devil convinced Him to withdraw His protection from Job as a test. First, Job lost his business. Then, his children died in a freakish accident. Finally, Job himself was struck with terrible boils from head to foot. In despair, he sought the reason first among his friends who were not very helpful. Then, he cried out his frustration in a very long prose to Heaven. He probably didn’t expect Heaven to respond but, then in God-like manner, from the midst of a dramatic whirlwind, God answered him. In the long run, Job was humbled and repentant. At the end, God restored his health, increased his wealth and even his family increased by giving him more children.

Simon propped up his head, showing a little sign of hope. “Tahan, do you think I am being tested?”

“Being tested?” Tahan asked with a slight frown.

“Yes… like the way Job was tested.” Simon, not waiting for him to answer, exclaimed some more. “It makes sense, Tahan! By the life of me, I just don’t understand how the Lord could just punish me like this. For am I not like Job?”

Tahan nodded quietly but not showing any signs of conviction. But Simon was elated by the concept. When Tahan left him, he could here Simon busily moving around on the roof humming to himself.

*** *** ***

Three weeks went by and Simon continued life by conducting the matters of business from his upper room. He was quite content to live out his exile up there until one startling day, he heard the happy voice of his youngest child. Quickly turning around, he saw her running to him hands spread wide to hug him.

He shouts angrily, “Mary, stop!” …as he backed away from her.

Mary suddenly stopped at her tracks. She was shocked for she had never heard her father use such an angry voice on her. Then, the tears came.

Simon, so wanted to console her but he had to keep her safe. So, he angrily shouted out for Lazarus. Then Lazarus came running up and quickly assessed the situation. He grabbed up a crying Mary and slowly backed up to the stairs. That night, he made a crucial decision.

In the morning, he called for Tahan and his son.

“I am going away. I cannot stay and risk the chance that Mary may sneak up here again.”

“Are you thinking about going to the leper colony afterall?” asked Tahan.

“No. I was thinking about where our father took us hunting. Where I took you, Lazarus, two years ago. Tahan, you have to run the business and as for you, my son, learn from your uncle. Also when I go, you must have the servant carefully cleanse the upper room. Now, I am going to need some supplies.”


 

Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 4th segment of my 2nd 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.

If you want to support my writing, please use my Go-Fund-Me site below.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

Please help me go mobile, donate at or share this link to others: https://www.gofundme.com/quadriplegic-needs-mobility