It had been a busy day. People are demanding, that’s for sure. As a fully qualified ‘Teacher of the Law’, I was fast learning that there was more to the job than just teaching. Finally, though, it was time to lock up the office and go home.
“Have you heard? Jesus is at Peter’s house!”
What? The man that I’d listened to from afar, puzzling over His powerful teaching, was here? In my town? Peter, the fisherman, had left our little town to follow Him, and his family kept us up to date with what was happening. Now it seemed that Peter had brought ‘The Teacher’ home!
All thoughts of fatigue disappeared. I ran as fast as my feet would carry me. I wore my elaborate robes with pride, a mark of my esteemed position. They filled with air and billowed as I ran. Although I was aware that the whole effect wasn’t terribly dignified, it couldn’t be helped. Peter’s home was down by the lake, and I wasted no time in getting there.
The light was fading. From a distance, I could hear the chattering, and sensed the excitement of the crowd. The noise grew louder as my running feet pounded down the empty cobbled street. But it wasn't until I rounded that last corner that the stench hit.
What sort of crowd was this? Were all the sick and demon-possessed of the district here? To touch them would make me unclean. I’d have to go through the whole ceremonial cleansing routine later. I hesitated, but fascination overruled. I drew closer.
He heals, liberates and teaches. Surely this man is a prophet. Perhaps the Messiah?
But what is happening? He is leaving so soon? I guess the crowd could be a bit overwhelming. He’s preparing to get onto a boat. I can bear it no longer.
Elbowing through the stinking mass of humanity, I push to the water’s edge.
“Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Anything for the privilege of hanging on to His every word, of drawing nearer to the great Jehovah. Perhaps I might even become a great healer and teacher myself someday.
“Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.”* His words are powerful. My heart is branded by a scorching hot iron. Can I take that path of suffering?
In the darkness, I trudge down the familiar streets, alone, dejected, and indeed, rejected. My dirty robes hang from my stooped shoulders. The lights of home beckon. A thorough wash - clean clothes - a hot drink - a tasty meal - a warm bed. Hmmm.
* Matthew 8:20 NIV
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