Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Huh? (01/21/10)
- TITLE: The Prodigy
By Sharon Eastman
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The ninety-mile journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem was long and hard, but it was worth it. Most of the Nazareth village took this trek to celebrate the Feast of Passover. It was spring, and the land was pregnant with the promise of new life. The eight days of the feast would be holy yet fun and would unite friends and strangers alike.
One pair of friends participating in this event was Jacob and Samuel. Jacob was a shepherd, and Samuel was a stonecutter. They were eager to join the festivities and laughed and talked about it along the way.
Jacob was interested in the pretty women he might meet, but Samuel was more interested in the money he might make. Both saw opportunities in Jerusalem, and both were driven to seek some.
As they approached the holy city, their eyes glistened at the site. Multitudes swarmed the festival booths. Priests in elegant garments filled the temple with pride and dignity. And, as always, there were the poor, the beggars, and the cripples.
Jacob smiled when he observed all the beautiful women. Their colorful robes and veils flowed like a brilliant river. It didn’t stop him from flirting with them after a few rebukes. His pride and ego protected him from any chastening remarks, especially by women.
Intrigued by the large number of booths, Samuel’s lust for money rose in his heart. He rapidly navigated to the booths with precious stone. When he saw the vast array of gold and silver, tears filled his eyes. He was enchanted! Some day he would wear the rich, sophisticated garments that these vendors wore.
Therefore, together they wandered the streets of Jerusalem watching the people and their activities, amazed by it all.
In spite of their pleasure-seeking attitude they never forgot the true reason for their visit. They had traveled to worship the Lord, who delivered the ancient Hebrews from Egyptian oppression. The Torah recorded that God performed many miracles to release the Hebrews from this bondage. The mightiest was the Passover. In it the Death Angel killed the entire first born of Egypt and passed over the Hebrew population. Lamb’s blood had been applied to the door lintels for salvation-precious blood of salvation. Pharaoh finally released them, and they went forward to worship and praise God as a new nation.
While children, Jacob and Samuel went to school with the priests. They understood the significance of the Passover Feast. Their comical demeanor disappeared when they reflected upon God’s holiness, His mercy, and His justice. They were also thankful for God’s establishment of the Hebrew nation, Israel. Pride and joy overwhelmed them when they thought of their homeland.
While Jacob and Samuel attended the feast, they learned much about scripture, but much more about life. They witnessed the corruption of the Jewish priests, who exploited people and themselves. Vile businessmen were everywhere with blatant extortion. They saw hungry, humiliated prostitutes, who betrayed their souls with their bodies. Most of all, their hearts ached for the sad crippled beggars.
Their trip was an inspiring, enlightening venture. Because Samuel had made business connections in Jerusalem, they stayed a few extra days. Everyone was commenting on the sad state of the temple and the city. In Jacob’s opinion the Hebrews needed a new prophet. People welcomed that idea.
Samuel said that he heard of a boy at the temple conversing with the priests about God and the scriptures. This child astonished them with his awesome wisdom.
Out of curiosity, Samuel and Jacob went back to the temple. There, they saw Jesus, the son of Mary and Joseph, the carpenter. He was surrounded by a group of priests and Pharisees. Entranced, Samuel and Jacob listened. They were amazed! What? Wasn’t this the boy they saw only a few weeks ago playing with children and his dog? He was just a neighborhood kid, but here Jesus was in his glory. His deep brown eyes were sorrowful as if he knew the woes of the world. An aura of glory framed his face, and he looked like an angel.
Samuel and Jacob couldn’t even attempt to reach Jesus as he was swallowed in the crowd.
At last, convinced of discovering this new young prophet, they trekked back to Nazareth. With the lessons they learned and hope in their hearts, they worshipped God. They knew this new young prophet gave promise of personal and national salvation to Israel.
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