Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Fellowship (among believers) (10/11/07)
- TITLE: Incomplete, Not as Sweet
By Janice Cartwright
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A famous Rabbi named Jesus is known to you, but you do not yet have an intimate relationship with Him. He once touched your life with brief but lasting consequence. Since that time you have chased after every rumor of Him that drifted through the marketplace. You can’t get Him out of your mind.
One day a man clothed in a purple caftan hobbles up to your door. He is here to deliver a message. The Lord and His disciples are coming your way; but even more significant is the fact they will stay in your home. They are three days’ journey off.
It is hardly to be believed. The Master has chosen you, your house. The spirit man feels disarmed and fragile within you.
On an avalanche of preparation you launch your servants. The dust of their activity invades your days and fills your nostrils. But eventually everything is set to rights and the clean space re-packed with the luscious aroma of baking. At night questions churn away your sleep.
What will it be like to have Messiah under your very own roof? Will you remember the questions you wanted to ask Him? What will He answer? Will He relish the savory meat you prepared just for Him? Will your house rumble with His laughter, or will His face be sober as a judge? Will the sleeping room you have decked with lilies and spread with clean linens cheer and soothe Him? Will He feel cozy; will He rest well?
On occasion you remember His disciples: there are twelve of them. Yes, your house is adequate. But mostly you think of Him. Perhaps sometime during your fellowship He will look directly into your eyes; His love will permeate the very fiber of your being. He will search your soul and know how much you love Him back.
Your expectation has now heightened to a crescendo; the hour is come at last. As a sign of welcome, all four doors, one to each side of your house, stand open. Again and again you seek the street. Finally you see a blur of figures, hear a distant murmur of male banter. With all the dignity you can muster you go into the road to greet and escort your guests the rest of the way.
But something is wrong. Your eyes search the group to find there are only nine, and Jesus is not one of them. A man who calls himself Thomas steps forward with unsatisfactory news, “The Master has been detained.” The disciple doesn’t know how long: perhaps later tonight or after a few days Jesus may show up. But maybe not. The Master has asked that you accept His apologies.”
“Come, come, Shalom. My poor house is indeed blessed though unworthy of such as yourselves. Nevertheless I pray you honor it with your presence. Here you will find water to refresh in and oil for anointing. You must rest yourselves. The meal I have prepared is little when compared to your esteemed company.”
But inside you feel like a dried up potsherd.
The sumptuous feast is consumed, good wine enjoyed with compliments, the final blessing has been pronounced. You were able to mask your disappointment and perform the duties of an honorable host. Your guests have ascended to roof-top sleeping quarters and the house is quiet. But your thoughts are far from still. Jesus’ absence has imparted to you a valuable if painful truth: without Him even the best of fellowship seems hollow and somehow lacking.
But hope dies hard. Mightn't it be possible for Jesus to yet appear? Perhaps even tonight? At that moment you hear a soft rapping at the door. Your spirit soars.
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:3 (KJV)
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