Rachel’s Story

I can’t help but follow him this last day before we leave Jerusalem to return to Nazareth. He usually stays with his brothers and friends, but today’s different. I watch him walk away from them and not even one notices that he left.

But I do.

And I follow him.

My palms are damp and my belly is full of butterflies. I should stay with the young women, but I won’t.

“Rachel, you’re as stubborn and curious as old Sol!” my father often tells me, ruffling my hair and giving our donkey a swat on his ornery behind.

My friend knows where he is going. I want to see where.

My mother died when I was born, twelve years ago, the same month Jesus was born. My father and I travel with Jesus and his family every year to celebrate the Passover Feast in Jerusalem.

We live close to each other in Nazareth. My father repairs rooftops here and in nearby cities. I stay with Jesus’ family while my father works.

And today, in Jerusalem, I follow Jesus.

To the temple.

I go where I’m not supposed to go, and my heart thumps hard in my chest, but no one seems to notice me.

I watch my friend walk up to the circle of men—teachers, rabbis—men who stand and sit on worn stone steps in a shaded alcove. Deep in conversation, several have scrolls spread across their laps.

What are you doing, Jesus . . .

I draw in a breath. The scent of burnt offerings rolls past me in puffs of heated dust that makes me rub my eyes. I press the folds of my light robe around me, and lean against a pillar in the shadows.

One of the teachers reads aloud.

Jesus sits on a step, right in the midst of the rabbis.

He’s listening.

I listen too.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

The rich voice hesitates, then ceases. A collective intake of breath rustles through the men, as if a freshening wind has sighed through trees, then silence.

The teacher’s eyes narrow and his fingers tighten around the handles of the Isaiah Scroll. He glares at my friend.

Jesus stands, his dark eyes touch on the teacher then move to rest gently on each of the rabbis, one-by-one. His voice, firm and strong, he repeats the scripture, every word.

Adonai Hashem, protect Jesus from punishment.

My hands fly to my face. I want to fall on my knees, but I must not be discovered. The solid pillar seems to hold me.

Jesus gives them no time to reprimand him. He nods toward the white-bearded rabbi who sits, unmoving, against the rough beige stone of  the temple wall.

And as if answering the old teacher’s unspoken question, Jesus speaks of the Coming One, repeating words of the prophets. Words I’ve heard my father speak.

What are you saying, Jesus . . . 

I watch stern expressions change from anger to awe as my friend, answers questions no man could know.

And my ears burn with what I hear my friend saying to the teachers.

I stay, listen, and watch until the sun grazes the rooftops with heated bronze rays . . .

Until I give up and will my feet to run.

I’m to leave early with my father. He has promised a side trip to see cousins. I’m suddenly anxious to return in time to pack my things.

Only when I return to Nazareth do I learn what happened. His mother and father had traveled a day before they knew he was not with the company returning to Nazareth. It took them three days before they finally found him in the temple sitting with the teachers.

No one but his mother understood when Jesus explained.  But she listened with a knowing smile as I confessed to her what I’d done, what I’d heard.

And I was to hear it once again.

This time, in Nazareth.

We’re much older now. Jesus’ father died four years ago. Like Jesus’ mother, I am widowed, but with no children. Jesus is no longer the sun-browned, rough-robed, boy I knew.

Yesterday, along with His family, I’ve welcomed Him home. Like quicksilver Jesus has slipped in and out of our lives since the signs began in Cana. He’s been away for over a month this time.

Today, with His mother, I stand near the door of the synagogue and listen. Together, we hear Jesus read from the Isaiah Scroll, hear Him say the words of the prophet, His voice even and authoritative.Mary grasps my hand.

I close my eyes. I’m twelve again, listening to a rabbi’s reading of the same prophecy my Friend speaks into the tense air of the synagogue in this moment.

But it’s not the same. Three times, Jesus emphasizes a single word, Me.

“. . . upon Me . . . anointed Me . . . sent Me

With all the humility I remember, He hands the scroll to the attendant, sits down, and continues to speak

“Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Mary’s hand trembles. There is more as He speaks to them in a proverb . . .

It begins with a ripple, and rushes like a flood through the crowd.

Sudden anger from the men inside, an instant change from their approval of His earlier gracious words. Jesus is silent now as they rise to their feet. He allows them to lay hands on Him, permits them to take Him outside and to the cliff edge.

Will they throw Him over the edge? Kill Him? My heart clenches with dread.

We follow.

Maybe tears cause the blur, the smear of color and movement as if time melts the scene with the heat of its passage.

I don’t know how . . .

But in the midst of the blur, the figure of Jesus, the clarity of His body encased in golden light, moves through the crowd untouched.

His mother knows His Truth. As she ministered to me when my firstborn died in my arms, Mary began to share her many stories. They came from her heart along with the balm of her comfort in the years since. She knows it will not be for long, but she will follow Him, her firstborn Son.

I will too.

Maybe it will be at a distance, perhaps unseen. But Adonai has graced me with the means to follow. I will stay near her, and follow Him.

Jesus was my friend when He needed to be “about His Father’s business”. Now, He is still my friend and more. He is my Lord.

♥ ♥ ♥

No one knows what Jesus listened to the teachers say or what words he spoke to them. We are only told that those who heard and spoke with Him in the temple were astonished at His understanding and His answers to their questions. And like the three days before His resurrection, no one knows what happened during those three days before Jesus was found by his parents, with the teachers.

God knows. And I’m curious enough to let my imagination have free rein with a story based on the scriptures from Luke 2:39-52, Isaiah 61:1-2a, and Luke 4:22a

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.

Albert Einstein

God gifted each of us with a lively imagination. How does using yours enrich your walk with Him?

I’d love for you to share with me in a comment!

Love,

Sally

 

 

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But Mary . . .

“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.”

 

Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.

“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

 

“He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” Matthew 28:1-7

“Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.”

 

Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. Mark 16:9-10

“. . . Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.”

 

. . . Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together and, the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in.

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.

Then the other disciple who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.

Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.

But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.

“But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb.” (John 20:11 NKJV)

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.”

“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.”

Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her. John 20:1-18

Jesus said: “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:2b-3

Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” John 8:58

♥ ♥ ♥

Would you have gone with your lamp shining dim in the darkness of early dawn?

Would you have stood and stayed while the earth quaked and angels in white rumbled a giant stone away from where your beloved, deceased Teacher had lain for three days? Where burly guards shook then became stiff with fear?

Would you have fallen to your knees to listen to an angel speak words that changed your life with each syllable, words that said your Teacher had risen from the dead?

Would you have looked into the tomb and wept and conversed with angels, then restrained yourself from embracing your Teacher as you turn and He speaks your name and asks you not to hold Him as He tells you why?

You are a woman of God and yes, you would have. Jesus, Immanuel, God with us, saved you, gave His life for you.

We follow the lead of strong women who loved and walked with Christ before us. We, too, will believe and live and tell of Him.

May Easter blessings abound for you throughout the year and beyond.

Love,

Sally

Except for one, all scriptures in the captions are from the NIV, and, except for my end notes, the entire post is scripture from the Gospels in the NKJV

Circles, Rings, and Valentine Things

Whom do you love?

“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. …”

Proverbs 31:10-31

“Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her,
and likewise also the wife to her husband.”

1 Corinthians 7:3

Whom do you love?

“A friend loves at all times . . .” Proverbs 17:17a

“He drew a circle that shut me out—
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him in!”

 “Outwitted” ― Edwin Markham

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another;
as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

John 13:34

“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

1 John 4:8

♥ ♥ ♥

Who is it that loves you?

It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.”

Isaiah 40:22

He who sits above the circle of the earth loved you first.

From before you were born, God loved you and he promises never to leave you nor forsake you.

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’
This is the first commandment.”
Mark 12:30

 “Greet one another with a holy kiss.”
2 Corinthians 13:12

God gave us all His love in the person of his only Son, Jesus.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Are you doing something special for someone you love on Valentine’s Day?

It’s a good day to remind your friends you care!

Have a great week.

Love you!

Sally

All scripture is New King James Version