I heard of this “madman” called John the Baptist who was shouting in the wilderness just outside Judea and with some of my friends decided to go check him out for a few laughs as apparently he was dressed in the dead skins of animals, with unkempt hair, smelling of wild honey and shouting at the top of his voice about someone with power who sounded like a magician wielding fire as with the spirit. The skies were overcast with clouds that day, and as we came over the brow of the hill to the spot where John was, we were shocked to the amount of people standing around with different positions of life, including some teachers from the temple. Some were on their knees crying, hands over their faces, while others were standing in the river Jordan waiting to be baptized by John. As I looked and my friends kept on laughing and jeering those around John, I felt the need to keep quiet and observe. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man walking purposefully in stride and looking directly at John the Baptist.
With every step the people in front of Him just parted as if there was a force pushing them out of the way; some even falling on their knees as He passed them. I could only watch with my mouth open as if time stood still. Then I saw John looking at Him as if seeing a long lost brother and both greeting each other with a kiss embracing as families do. Before I knew it, I was standing in the river and I could see His face more clearly and hear His voice. His name was Jesus and had a peaceful countenance about Him. In a moment he was baptized and what comes next I cannot describe with sufficient words. As Jesus arose from the river, this particular set of clouds parted and the sunlight was so intense with its rays casting on Him as what can only be described as a shadow of light with form fell on Him, then there was thunder even though there were no rain clouds, sounding like an audible voice that I heard, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!”. As I sat on the river bank late into the evening I rehearsed all I saw and heard trying to rationalize it and consider the reasons for my remorseful feelings. All I could think of was John’s words, Jesus’ face and before I knew it, I was spreading to others the events of that day, telling them, “He will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire”!
As the day progressed, it wasn’t like any other crucifixion with those jeering, weeping, wagering and appealing for mercy for those on the cross. This Jesus seemed different, distant in His thoughts, and composed even though He cried out as they nailed Him to the cross, and yet He never asked for a quick death like the others. The others beside Him wailed with each pounding of the nails, crying out. That shrieking in agony haunts me each time I close my eyes to sleep. I have seen too many die in excruciating pain. The blood pouring out drenching the ground red, so much that each time I have to wash my scandal’s of the blood stains under them, on my person and on my armour. With each swing of the hammer, I braced, tensing my muscles for the expected sound of metal clanging against metal and the screams that followed as with each hit, their nerves and bodies wrought in unbearable pain and agony. Seeing the blood dripping from the crosses, it crossed my mind that they soon will have to be replaced from being overused for they were weathered from the sun’s heat and had so many holes in them. Sometimes, because of the many holes the soldier nailing had to adjust the position because it was not secure enough, causing double the pain on the one on the cross. Crucifixion was meant to be brutal and it certainly was.
The evening became cooler even though there was a stillness in the air and the skies darkened. Eventually, I became intrigued by this Jesus that knowing He was dying; He still took the time to speak to others even though many were cursing and laughing at Him. When He told someone called John, that the woman he was holding was now his mother, I couldn’t help it and wonder if we were crucifying an innocent man as emotions overcame me. This Jesus did not sound like a criminal or some ranting and raving self-appointed prophet. I eventually reasserted myself into my status as others looked on. Soon, the wind started picking up and the dark clouds moved swiftly across the sky, then I heard Him cry out loudly as He looked up, “It is finished”! Suddenly, I became startled, trying to gain some perspective as to what was happening for in a moment the ground started shaking so violently that many lost their footing falling to the ground while others fled down the hill, all screaming and some bowed down in submission, appealing with their hands raised up. What seemed long ended as soon as it began. When the earthquake finished, the skies cleared and we prepared for the watch. All was quiet now and many left, only His mother and a few others stayed, sitting on the ground frozen in their stare at the now limp body of Jesus as their tears dried up on their faces. I couldn’t help looking at Jesus’ draped body in silence, standing just at the base of the cross and feeling alone as the sun started to set and a hue of orange splashed across the horizon casting His body and cross as a long shadow, wondering and saying, “Truly this was the Son of God.”
Nothing replaces being there when an event impacts our lives. Of having all our senses, emotions and body heightened because of what is experienced just like watching a movie that touches us and moves us because there is some form of deep emotional connection. We literally live as the characters in the movie. Such emotions can leave deep scars in our lives or give us strength to face another day. Either way to live vicariously is as good as being there.
Jesus could have stayed longer if God deemed it necessary but there was no need as His message was simple and His examples empowered those that experience it. Yet, God does not prefer those needing to see, hear and touch to know His Love for them but rather with the Holy Spirit believe He is for them in good as well as bad times. For it is by Faith are we called to live by and to demonstrate our love for God - Heb. 11:6. We have the power to see, hear and feel with and in the Spirit as with any movie through our imagination and connection to the Word; “for it is life to me “- Prob. 4:20-22. Through creativity and revelation by the Spirit, we make the Word come alive and have a deeper meaning and impact in our life. That's why God, Jesus, and the apostles command that we meditate day and night on the Word until it is so entrenched in our minds, thoughts, and body that it absorbed in every facet of our life. By this, we push out the darkness and continuously open ourselves to revelation from God, Jesus, and the Word.
Flush it Out! - I can do all things with Christ, the Word and God!
Aug. 12, 2016.
Were you there?
After all, I have never seen any Pharisee do this. To my surprise and with mouth wide opened, hands arrested, I saw as He walked over to Peter, He kneed and started to wash his feet. He continued this with all the other apostles. With each apostle as he washed, I saw Him not only speak to them but smile at times, placing His hand on each of them as a father would a son; as they shared stories together. Jesus was so intimate, gentle and unassuming that He hardly measured up to what I had heard about Him. How could such a person have crowds follow Him and hail Him as the Messiah? This only peaked my curiosity. I tried to beckon my friend to come and see but she just ignored me and waved me off. I eventually just sat on the stairwell steps in the corner of the room, looking on patiently, waiting for more and asking myself, “who is this Jesus?” in my mind. Eventually, the apostles seemed agitated as Jesus spoke; some standing others sitting; with some of them starting to shed tears while looking at each other in despair. I propped up trying intensely to hear the conversation and see their expressions. Then Peter prompted the one called John who leaned over to Jesus and whispered to Him. Jesus, hearing the question looked intently and answered back as Peter looked on. Then, as if a pre-rehearsed motion, all three simultaneously looked to Judas who was quietly sitting sipping his wine; as he took the dipped bread from Jesus. Then I saw both Peter and John’s eye glazing over as they looked at Judas, eventually looking down as if they were disappointed. Jesus seemed to have said something to Judas when all of sudden, Judas stopped and looking intently at Jesus got up in haste and rushed by me and out the door into the night. I remember that night so vividly, living it as if just happened; for I have never experienced anything like it ever again; of seeing unhindered love from a teacher and hearing words that ring deep into my heart, especially Jesus’ words before leaving with His apostles, “A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you”.
I was so glad to be asked by my friend to help with the cleaning up the meal for this Jesus and His apostles just before the Feast of the Passover. I had heard of Him and the miracles that happened wherever He went and was hoping to see something spectacular to tell my children. My friend told me Jesus shared the meal and spoke of bread like it was His body and wine His blood. She dismissed this by waving her hand, saying maybe He, Jesus drank too much wine and hopefully they will soon leave as she wanted to go to bed. The rest of the evening seemed uneventful as the apostles kept on listening to Him and asking questions. I started to recognize who was John, Peter and especially Judas who had the money bag closely tied to his waist. I could only watch as permitted with my chores. He, Jesus seemed as if He was waiting for something when all of sudden He got up, took off His outer garment walked over to me, taking one of my towel putting it into a bowl of water. My immediate thought was, is He going to clean also? Is this my spectacle to tell my children? That this Jesus, so called prophet and teacher would help me clean?
He did not look scared or apprehensive to the attention but was very deliberate in speaking and hardly blinking an eye as He looked at us. What was even more amazing and unheard of was that the teachers were all was attentive in their listening and pressed in to hear Jesus’ words and statements on several issues from Genesis to Deuteronomy; before we knew it was the ninth hour and we all reluctantly departed to our own affairs. Later that night I could not help but ponder at this boy Jesus so much so the next day I invited other notable teachers hoping we could discuss at length what all of us saw and heard. At the temple, there was a small gathering more than the day before and I could hear different comments like, “where did He come from”; “His father must be a Rabbi” and “there is something different about Him”. At the center of it all was Jesus talking and answering questions with the same authority, and clarity as the day before. This continued for a few days and every time He spoke we could not help but be amazed at His wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to the point even some the known scholars had a baffled look on their faces and seemed to be stumped by Jesus’ questions and statements. Eventually, His parents showed up and took Him home. The next few days fuelled some heavy discussion on Jesus’ remarks but for me I could only look up at the temple's roof as I sat quietly and seeing the sun casting its rays through the window on the Torah, I thought of Isaiah’s prophecy on the soon to come, Messiah with my lips uttering continually, “Glory to God!”.
Tradition dictated that Jesus and His parents went to Jerusalem every year to celebrate the Feast of the Passover. So the family packed their donkey as per usually except that year Jesus was twelve years old and soon to celebrate His bar-mitzvah starting His journey into manhood. I remember them entering the temple as a family; the father Joseph constantly rubbing the calluses on His hands being a carpenter. The mother, Mary had a certain Grace about her. But what really caught my eye was their son Jesus, who on entering the temple seem to know the place as if He somehow had authority. I eventually dismissed my observations and took my place among the other elders. After the people left and all quieted down, I went to find the others who met as was our practice to discuss the laws of God. To my surprise, this same boy Jesus was conversing with some of the most respected teachers.
Did you know many who heard and saw Jesus, even daily did not believe their eyes and ears. Even when people who they knew and respected urged them to consider His message. They just refused to open their hearts to Jesus and His Words. Of course, this still happens today and at times as Christian’s it amazes us that some people just don’t get it. We find them in the parable of the sower and we should not be surprised there are more examples of disbelief compared to believing the Word - Matt 13:3-7. The Word clearly states why many do not accept, "because the cares of the world" - Mk. 4:19. They are lost because they refuse to let go, are fearful and have a mistrust of anything or anyone they cannot control. To be a believer, it is required that we surrender everything no matter the outcome of our journey, having Faith that God knows what He is doing and He will sooner or later fill all our needs and wants. We are to return to the state of a child - Matt 18:3. Even with a child-like state many of us struggle to see pass the bills, processions and even our troubles. They need more to build their Faith, just as Thomas, the apostle, said, “unless I see and touch" - Jn. 20:25. For them, it would be helpful if they were there when Jesus lived and walked on the earth.
Matthew 27:45-54; Mark 15:33-39; John 19:25-30.
Yes, Sir. I answered with every fibre in my body and immediately got my stuff and proceeded with everyone else assigned to “The Place of Skulls”. I hated Jerusalem with its stifling heat, constant street beggars and the Jewish Rabbi’s constantly trying to undermine Roman’s occupation. But I had no choice, coming from a family of honor, it was my duty. I just wanted to go home as soon as possible. That day, the crowds were more intense and loud with most of the population gathering around the mound. I was warned to be aware of anything suspicious as the man who was to be crucified proclaimed to be another prophet sent from God to save His people. I thought in my head, “another one”, they come out of the woodwork every year during the Feast of Passover trying to rally the people into rebellion, “when will these people learn, no one is strong enough to topple the Roman Empire”.
When Jesus was born, for many it became the fulfillment of the prophecies as well as the beginning of a new life. Jesus was also a disappointment for others who knew of and suffered as a people under the brutality of the Romans. Many wanted His life not just to be words but meaningful action. They wanted a champion to free them from the occupation of the time. To put in place those who would dare to subjugate the people of Israel, just as Goliath attempted to - 1 Sam. 17. Many still recalling the Victory that made Israel feared among the nations. Instead, Jesus was anything but a warrior as David was.
Jesus breathed, ate, and drank for a total of thirty - three and a half years before divinely changed into a new heavenly birth. His life as a young boy with the exception of age twelve would have been normal and uneventful for those who knew of Him but did not know Him. Jesus was special not only because of the prophecies, nor the knowledge of those who expected and borne His birth but because He, Jesus accepted the destiny of His life and walked in it despite any outside influences. Jesus took hold of His Faith in His God and Father and with every opportunity lived with God’s will for His life, preaching and living the Word by example for others to do the same. Because if they could believe, trust and emulate Him, and see the Anointing working through Him as He healed and have authority over demons and death, then maybe others would become sons and daughters; heirs to the Kingdom of God, becoming brothers and sisters in Christ.
Imagine how it must have been for some to not only see, hear but be touched by Jesus as we are every day shaped by our world and Faith and their possible stories.
ChristnMe @ 2013