THE SYROPHOENICIAN WOMAN OF MARK 7:26 [part 6]

A short story by JQuisumbing

Continued…

They arrived at Cadasa just before the sunset. Elpida hopped off the cart she was riding on at the outskirts of the town. Saying a fond farewell to the old cart driver, she headed for a pathway that skirted the town’s perimeter wall. She came to a cluster of farm houses and went straight to the farthest house. As she came close, she can hear a little girl’s screaming. Elpida quickened her pace. Not hesitating, she didn’t bother knocking and pushed open the door to find a woman, her cousin, and a young lad struggling to calm a smaller child girl shaking and thrashing on the floor.

Elpida embraced her daughter as she squirmed in her arms. Eventually, she calmed down and fell asleep. Elpida nodded to the young lad who came and carried the little girl to her sleeping pallet.

“I expected you four days ago,” said her cousin calmly and like she expected her. “I hope you were successful this time.”

“No. I just missed him in Galilee. But now he is nowhere to be seen.”

“So, what is your next plan, cousin?”

“I intend to search for him closer to the source. You remember my friend, Demacli, the one who wrote and told me about the man of Nazareth who is performing God-like miracles throughout the lands of the Jews. He convinced me to move to his city at Hippus… one of the free cities of the Greeks. He said that this healer will again stop by to his city.”

“How does he know this and why would this Jew go there… a city not of his own?”

“Demacli was just like my Yllana, in fact, he was a lot worse. I would know, he came to me once, but I could not help him. This man…” she paused in thought and then said, “This God-man freed him from not just one or two evil spirits, but a legion of them. He is the one I have been searching for. Yllana and I will leave the end of the week.”

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 5]

A short story by JQuisumbing

Continued…

“How are we not complete?” asked the old cart driver.

“Well, it’s something that I had heard based on their holy scrolls,” Elpida said.

“So, tell me what you learned.”

“This is what I understand. First, the God of the Jews is the one and only true God that created all things including mankind. This is according to their holy scrolls which was written by their greatest prophet, Moses. It was written that mankind was created in God’s image.”

“Image? You mean… ah… that we all look like their God?”

“Well, not exactly. You recall that I mentioned the old Jewish couple. Well, the old man, his name was Levi by the way… he used to be a synagogue teacher. And he explained that God is not a physical being with two arms, a head and so on. He is spirit while we are not. However, those qualities in us that separate us from animals is what is in the one God and He put them in all of us.”

“Ah… I think I understand… well, a little anyway. Please continue, Elpida.”

“Anyway, since mankind was made in His image, according to Levi, mankind was suppose to live a good life with Him in eternity.”

“A good life in eternity, you say. Well, my life is somewhat good but it is hard… even harder. I mean even yours is harder. So, what went wrong?”

“They sinned against their Creator. They were given a commandment but they eventually failed to keep it for one reason or another. And it was because of that one sin that we today are still paying for it. But that is not all. We are all destined for a place even worse than Hades… a fiery place of eternal despair.”

“Worse than Hades, you say. What could be worse than Hades?”

“I know not. But I myself would not want to end up there.”

“Mmm… and this messiah… this savior can save us from eternal damnation? How?”

“I do not know, but I am determined to find out.”

To be continued…


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 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…

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 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.

THE SYROPHOENICIAN WOMAN OF MARK 7:26 [part 1]

A short story by JQuisumbing

It had been a long five weeks. Elpida knew she had been away from home longer than she desired. But when she had received a message from a fellow Greek acquaintance who had come to her some seven years ago, she had to go. On the back of a slow moving cart drawn by a pair of oxen, one of a dozen transporting wheat to Tyre, her eyes were glazed, mesmerised on the passing dusty road under her dangling feet.

“Elpida… Elpida?” Elpida looked up to the craggy old face of the cart driver who left his place up front. She blinked twice then glanced at the empty seat.

“Who is doing the driving?”

“Ah… the road is fairly straight for three miles. My oxen will not veer… I hope,” he chuckled. “You have been quiet back here for some time. I thought maybe you fell asleep and fell out.”

“No… I was just deep in thought.”

“And by the look of your face in this entire return trip, you were not successful in your search.”

She slowly shook her head and stopped with her head bowed.

“Well, let us see,” said the old cart driver thinking to change the subject. “When we last talked, you were telling me about the reason you left Greece. You stopped short of the unknown god. Who is the unknown god again?”

That is a good question. To this day, she still did not know. At one time, she was a seeress to the Temple of Hermes. This always amused her. As a young girl, she was abandoned by her relations to the priests of this impoverished and unpopular small temple just in the outskirts of Athens. Hermes was not as widely venerated as the more prominent gods and goddesses of Athens. Since his temple lacked the kind of in-pouring of gifts like the other temples, the priests saw in her a cunning opportunity to increase their coffer. The priests did not hesitate to train her the art of being a seeress. The training took no more than three days. Her part was to rant on cue and always end with her eyes rolled back and twitch crazily on the floor. Her reward was a clean bed and good food to eat. And there was food aplenty, especially after the priests scoured the district announcing that they had sheltered a child touched by the gods. But her time there was not just play acting. One of the older priests took it upon himself to educate her. She was taught to read and write and the secrets of herblore. When she grew to womanhood and the temple had other little girls to fill her place, she was given other tasks, one of which was to visit other temples basically to spy on them.

It was on a narrow street to the Acropolis that she came upon an unusual non-descript shrine in a recessed alcove between two houses. She thought that it was ransacked and it’s carved image was stolen for what was left was the carved pedestal base and inscription. But then an old couple walked up to it left a handful of flowers on the pedestal. Elpida approached it curiously. She lifted the flowers and found that no statue ever sat upon the pedestal. She bent down to read the worn out and somewhat small inscription on the base which read “Agnostos Theos”, that is “Unknown God”.

To be continued…


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 CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch12 – part 5

THE MISSION – Capernaum, Nazareth, SidonCG-book-cover-w

They spent about a week around the plains south of Sidon. Because they were in Gentile country only a few recognized who Jesus was. It was a time of rest and not contending with crowds. It was also a time for lessons. In one particular afternoon, when they were staying in a house of a Galilean acquaintance in a small village near Tyre, Jesus used an unexpected visit of a Syrophoenician woman as an object lesson for his disciples.

The woman had recognized him right away when they rode through the small village. Observing them enter the house, she barge in before the door was closed and threw herself to the ground before Jesus.

“Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David,” she cried out in desperation, “for my only daughter is cruelly tormented by the evil spirits sent by the gods.”

Cornelius sympathized with her but noted that Jesus was not responding to her. He was not even looking at her. Her wailing for mercy became even louder and annoyance was showing on the disciples’ faces.

It was Judas Iscariot who spoke first. “Master, you must send her away or her loud screaming will bring all the needy to us.”

The other voiced similar concerns. It was when Judas and Thaddeus were about to pick up the woman to lead her out was when Jesus quickly stood up and was sternly looking at each of the Twelve. He stepped forward and helped her to her feet. Then he stepped back a couple of steps from her and as he was looking at each of the disciples, he said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

She fell down to her knees and pleaded, “Lord, help me!”

Jesus again helped her up and again backed away two steps. This time he was looking directly at her and answered her with a slight smile, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

Cornelius thought she was going to beg but she stood there contemplating on his words and stared at his smiling face. Then her eyes lit up with understanding and quickly said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” [Matthew 15:21-28]

Then the woman broke out in tears and embraced Jesus. Jesus then turned his eyes toward Cornelius.

Cornelius understood the silent request. “I will take her home to her daughter.”

As they were walking to her house, he surmised that this was a test. This woman passed and by the look of disappointment in Jesus’ eyes, they did not. When they reached her house, as expected, the daughter was normal.
—————————————————————————————-

The story continues on in my next post.

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Thank you

Johann Q

FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 037

ELPIDA THE SYROPHOENICIAN
32 AD – Village of Cadasa, Sidon, Phoeniciafaithful-encounters-cover-w

The priests told her that some three generations or so, 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 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 that he was in the Capernaum area. 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.”

“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.”
———————————————–

Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 37th 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, the Roman Centurion who almost saved Jesus Christ from the cross. Just click the link below.