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Friday, June 22, 2012

Fiction Friday - ONE MORE TIME - Chapter 48C

A loud cry sounded from one of the shops. Hamath, accompanied by Benoni, trotted out from a vendor’s stall.

“Jesus!” Hamath cried. He ran up and fell to his knees in front of the Master.

Benoni, close behind, dropped to his knees beside Hamath, and tears streamed down both Hamath and Benoni’s faces.

“Lord, You are here!” Hamath pressed his forehead to the ground.

“Shalom, Hamath,” Jesus said.

“You remember me?” Hamath lifted his head. His voice shook, and it squeaked on the last word.

“Yes, Hamath, I remember you. You have changed.”

“I’ve tried, Lord,” Hamath said. “I’m so sorry for the way I used to behave.”

“Keep trying, Hamath. Never stop. The road through life is full of pitfalls for those who quit trying.”

“Lord, I’ve a request. There is a little girl in my household, a daughter of two of my servants ...”

“I know. Her name is Tamara.”

“Yes, Lord. Please, she is so ill I’m afraid she will die. Could you heal her? She is a precious child, almost as dear to me as my own daughter.”

“Have faith, Hamath,” the Lord said, and he then turned to Benoni.

“You are forgiven, Benoni. You acted foolishly, but be patient with yourself. You will become a mature man. One day you will be capable of being on your own.”

“How did You know about my—um—foolishness?” Benoni asked, eyebrows lifting.

“I know many things, my son, which perhaps you don’t even know about yourself.” Jesus reached down and touched Benoni’s shoulder. “You do not have to bow. Rise.”

“I believe it, Lord.”

He passed by the two men, still walking with Jonas toward his home.

They were stopped one more time before they arrived at the home of Jonas. Nicolas the physician had a small home on the same street Jonas did.

“Hail, Jonas,” Nicolas called from the door to his humble house.

Jonas lifted his hand in greeting. “Shalom, my friend. Come and meet the Master Physician.”

Curiosity shown in Nicolas’s eyes as he approached. He bowed his head. “Shalom, Sir.”

Jonas had to smile. There was something about Jesus’s eyes that immediately drew attention from everyone who saw Him. His eyes were instantly piercing, warm, compassionate, intelligent, knowing. You could see that nothing ever got past Him.

Jonas smiled at Jesus. “Lord, this is the best physician in Tyre, Nicolas. Nicolas, this is Jesus, the Messiah—the Christ,” he added, saying the word Greeks used to mean Messiah.

Nicolas’s eyes opened wider. He wasn’t a Jew, but probably he had heard of the promised Jewish deliverer.

“Shalom, Nicolas,” Jesus said, looking into Nicolas’s eyes. “Come with us.”

“Sir, if You are indeed the Master Physician, there is a case here which baffles and concerns me—a small child who is dying of fevers and convulsions. She needs someone wiser than I to bring healing to her body. She is...”

“Tamara,” finished Jesus. “Yes, I know her.”

“Then, sir, is it possible You could bring healing to her?”

Jesus smiled. “It is possible.”

Nicolas’ eyes filled with tears. He nodded and followed them.

#

When they arrived at Jonas home, Mariah met them at the door. Jesus met her eyes, and she started. Why did she feel this Stranger could see inside her?

Jonas placed a kiss on her forehead. “This is Jesus, Mariah, and these are his disciples—I’m afraid I didn’t ask their names. They have been traveling all day, and I invited them here to spend the night and eat with us both this evening and tomorrow.”

“Welcome, sirs, please come in and rest. You must be weary.”

“Arbah,” she said, addressing a servant walking past, “please fetch water and towels and bathe their feet.”

Jonas led the others into a large room, but Jesus stayed behind.

“Mariah,” Jesus said softly, turning to face her. He approached her and grasped both her hands.

Mariah caught her breath, her eyes wide. “Yes, Sir?” She backed away as far as His hands allowed.

“Forgive yourself,” Jesus said. “Your husband has forgiven you. In fact, you have done nothing to forgive, but you allow guilt to hold you from your husband and Your heavenly Father. You are forgiven. Let your guilt go.”

“How did You know?” Mariah asked, and now her eyes, too, filled with tears. “Are you a prophet?”

“Some call Me a prophet.” He released her hands. A smile warmed his eyes, and then He walked into the room with the other men.

Jonas walked back into the room to Mariah. “Mariah,” he breathed, “Can you believe this? The Master is in our own home. He could have gone to the wealthiest family, to the most elaborate home in Tyre, but He chose to come to ours.”

“The Master?” Her eyes stretched wider.

“Yes—the Messiah. Mariah, this Man is the Promised One of God.”

“Is this One who is able to heal the sick?” she asked, a spark of excitement beginning in her heart.

“Yes, so I’ve heard.”

Without another word, Mariah turned and ran into the room where Jesus sat with His disciples and Nicolas. She knelt at his feet. “Master, I’ve a favor to request of You.”

“Ask it, daughter,” Jesus said.

Odd. He calls me daughter, yet I’m sure I’m older than He is. But it doesn’t sound odd coming from Him. “There is a small child here in Tyre who has a heart of pure gold. She cares for other children as if she were their mother, even though she is only four years old. She gave my two children her only toy, and she comforted their fears even though she herself is so ill and probably afraid for her own life. Her name is Tamara—Oh, Lord, would you please heal her?”

Ezra and Zillah also trotted up to Jesus, and they patted His leg for attention.

“Please make Tammy better?” asked Zillah.

“Tama thick,” Ezra said, nodding. His wide brown eyes leaked tears.

Jesus laughed heartily, much to the amazement of all those around him. “Truly, truly,” He said. “I tell you, there has never been a child so loved by those around her.”

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