Someone interrupted, firing a question at Him. “Master, what if my faith is not even the size of this mustard seed—where can I get this faith?”
“Why is it that I pray and nothing happens?”
“How can I know faith if I’ve never seen it?”
“How is it that You have the authority to preach like this?”
“Who gave You the right to proclaim what faith is and what it is not?”
“Who are You, anyway?”
Jesus held up His hand for silence, and gradually the crowd again grew quiet. He focused on the last question. “Who do you think that I am?”
One of his disciples, the man called Peter, spoke up with a loud and proud voice. “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Someone in the crowd asked, “Are you the Christ?”
“So some people say.”
“Jesus, Son of David, would you please heal me—I’m blind,” one man cried, his plaintive voice wavering above the rest of the noise.
One of the rulers of the synagogue stood up. “It is not lawful to heal on the Sabbath,” he said, arrogance oozing from his speech.
Jesus turned to him. “If your donkey fell into a hole on the Sabbath, would you not pull him out? Is this man not more valuable than a donkey?”
“That would be questionable.” The ruler sneered. “This man is a beggar and contributes nothing to the community, unlike a donkey...” The sound of his arrogance faded as Jesus silenced him with a look of pure pity.
Jesus turned to the blind man. “Do you believe that I can heal you?”
“Yes, Lord,” the blind man said, and then he gasped.
“I can see,” he shouted.
That began the surge toward Jesus. Several people in the audience began to throng him—some with twisted backs, some with withered limbs, some whose ailments were hidden from the eyes of the world, some who had to be carried. Sarah pushed and grasped for a way to Him, but couldn’t get past the crowd. For the first time in her life, she wished she were as tall and strong as Paul.
Suddenly someone shoved her, and she fell to the ground. Several people stepped on her, unmindful of the human form under their feet. She felt terror and pain like she had never felt before—she had to get up! Then someone kicked her behind her ear. Everything went black and she felt no more.
#Later as the crowd began to clear away, the disciples noticed Sarah’s body lying motionless on the ground.
“Master,” John said, “there is a woman here on the ground—and I’m afraid she is dead.”
Jesus walked to Sarah’s limp body, knelt by her, and picked up one mashed and bloody hand. “Sarah,” He murmured. “Wake up.”
#Someone called Sarah from far away. She groaned. Where was she? How long had she lain here? She rubbed her aching head. Someone had called her. She opened one eye in a pained squint—the other eye wouldn’t open. Slowly, she raised her head and gazed into the eyes of Jesus. As she did, the bruises and scrapes began to melt from her like butter from the sides of a warming pot. She blinked and opened both eyes. “You called me?”
“Yes, Sarah. Rise. You wanted to ask me something.”
She sat up, remembering. “Tamara, my daughter, she is too ill to live.”
“She’s a Canaanite. I can tell by her speech,” One of the men around him said. “Go away, woman. The Master is tired and needs to rest.”
She threw him a look that should have frozen him. She wouldn’t be shushed, not now. “Jesus, please heal my daughter.”
“Master,” another of the disciples said. “Send her away—she is only a Canaanite.”
Jesus held up his hand and shook his head. He said nothing, just gazed into her eyes.
“Jesus, please, heal my daughter.” She paused, remembering that people in this era believed convulsions were demonically caused. She started, just noticing the group of people that began to gather. Some wouldn’t understand the seizures as resulting from a fever.
Besides—the physicians in her own time couldn’t find a cure—maybe these “ignorant” ancients could be right. She thought of Benoni and Shalisha who had seen Tamara convulsing earlier in the week. She remembered His words about faith. Jesus remained silent, his eyes full of love and understanding. She knelt on the hard, rocky ground. “Lord, my daughter suffers from, from demon possession. Please free her.”
“It wouldn’t be right to take the bread from the Children of Israel and give it to the dogs.”
His words were so in opposition to the look in His eyes. Did He want her to beg?
Ah, I remember. “Lord,” she said, “Even the little dogs are allowed to clean up the crumbs under the table.” Odd how she now remembered one of her childhood Sunday School lessons and connected it with Keddy.