TITLE: Hannah Meets Messiah 10/16/ 2018
By Marlene Custer
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HANNAH MEETS MESSIAH
Falteringly, Hannah trudged past the stone houses of her neighbors as she made her way to the market area. Pausing for a moment to take in the view of sheep grazing on the distant hills, she breathed in the slight scent of olive trees. She furrowed her brow as images of last night’s gathering flashed through her mind. She didn’t know what to think. There was something captivating about Peter’s friend, Jesus. A smile tugged at her lips as she remembered some of the conversation she overheard while serving fresh cheeses, dates, and raisin cakes. Moving in and out of the candle-lit room, she had strained to hear how Peter and the others were responding. Did they think that He may be the Messiah?
The smell of fresh fish, garlic, and leeks brought her thoughts back to what to fix for dinner. A hearty lentil soup with some fresh leeks would be tasty, and would easily serve a crowd.
“Hannah! What can I get for you?” Hannah’s neighbor, Leah, called to her from her booth in a nearby tent. As Hannah approached, Leah leaned in closer. “What did you hear the Prophet say last night? I saw you had quite a group at your place. Some nosy neighbors even poked their heads inside your windows.”
“I don’t know what to think. Jesus speaks with such authority. Peter, my daughter’s husband, is convinced Jesus is the Messiah,” Hannah shared quietly. “But my late husband, Amos, warned that we should not be too quick to accept everyone claiming to be sent from God.”
“Your Amos was a good man, Hannah,” Leah said reassuringly.
Always ready for some good gossip, Anah stepped over from her table of baskets. Adjusting her linen head shawl, she greeted Hannah. “Were you at synagogue when He read from Isaiah? He spoke with such authority.”
“That was certainly a bold declaration,” Hannah replied thoughtfully, “but I don’t think the synagogue leaders agree on what He seemed to imply. And instead of talking about freeing us from the Romans, He has hinted at the high cost of following Him.”
“That’s what bothers me about him,” interjected Leah. “You need to be careful, Hannah. And, personally, I think the whole bunch is taking advantage of you. Coming in droves and expecting you to cook for all of them.” She threw up her hands in disgust.
“Well, my daughter, Judith, helps me. She is gathering things from the garden now, while I am here. The Sabbath is soon, I can get my rest then.”
Hannah listened restlessly as Anah spoke, “I don’t know anyone personally, but there are many claiming they have been healed. He even seems to have authority over evil spirits, as well.”
“Where is He now?” Leah asked. “Didn’t He spend the night at your house?”
“Yes, but He was up early and gone before any others were awake.”
“Where does He go so early?”
“I’m not sure. Peter said that sometimes Jesus prays all night.”
“I must finish and get back home. I may need to rest before I begin preparing the meal,” Hannah added before moving on. “I’ll let you know if I hear anything else.”
As she turned to search for the fresh leeks, Hannah heard Anah chuckle nervously, “Well, you shouldn’t worry about running out of food, just call on Jesus to help you out.”
Moving quickly, Hannah bought the fruits and vegetables she needed. As she made her way home, she felt chilled and her energy was waning quickly. “What is happening with me,” she wondered. “I don’t have time to be sick.”
She stopped briefly to set her baskets down and wiped her brow. She gave her loose garments a little shake, then stooped to pick up her baskets. Surely a cold drink of goat’s milk will revive me, she thought. And maybe a quick nap.
The next morning Hannah was drifting in and out of sleep when she overheard Judith speaking to Peter. “I am concerned about mother. She seems to be burning up with a fever. I cannot go to Synagogue this morning in case she needs me. I’ve been placing cool cloths on her brow.”
Some time later, Hannah opened her groggy eyes long enough to see Judith step out of the room. Peter must have returned from Synagogue. Her whispered words drifted into Hannah’s consciousness, “Is Jesus coming? Mother is so sick.”
The room seemed to radiate heat from her fever. In her weakness, Hannah worried about the meal that needed to be set out for the guests that would soon be coming. Then her senses quickened as she heard the strong voice of Jesus, “Where is she?”
Hannah felt His presence as Jesus approached her bedside. Jesus took her hand, and with great authority, He rebuked the fever. Hannah’s eyes fluttered open, and for a brief few seconds focused on the tenderness portrayed in the eyes of Jesus. Strength and energy flowed through her body. She had never experienced such love and compassion.
Hannah immediately sat up. Looking around, she saw Judith and Peter’s awestruck faces, and she exclaimed, “I, I feel great!” Without hesitation, she got up and refreshed herself. Soon she was serving the afternoon meal with an energy and zeal she had never before felt.
That evening it seemed the whole town gathered at their door. There were many who were demon-possessed, and Hannah looked on as Jesus drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. As she watched, she saw Him as never before. Searching the crowd for Leah, her heart burned to share the good news with her. There was no longer any doubt in Hannah’s mind as to who Jesus was. She knew He was more than just a Prophet. She knew without a doubt that He was the long-awaited Messiah!
* NIV The account of the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law is found in Matthew 8:14-17, Mark 1:29-34, and Luke 4:38-41. Added details are from the author’s imagination.
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