To Be Near Him

I recently read a book called The Essential Jesus, which is the Gospel of Luke, translated in a very comprehensible form. Reading about Jesus and his many encounters with people while he was on earth really got me thinking.

Of course, my story is fictional, and we can meet Jesus in Spirit through prayer and Scripture reading. But thinking about people who encountered Him as a human being as well as the Son of God really got me pondering what it may have been like to experience Him in Biblical times and what I might have said to Him and, well, there went my wild imagination! Journey through time with me…

To Be Near Him

The heat was oppressive that day. At least there was shade from the sun inside the house. I ladled some water into a cup and drank.

“What are you doing out of bed?” My sister-in-law almost shrieked as she entered the house and dropped her basket. “You are supposed to rest your legs when they ache.”

Inwardly I groaned, but I didn’t dare voice a complaint to the one who was devoted to my care. Surely I was a burden to her although she never let on. She helped me back to the bed.

“Give me the mending to do, sister. I’ll not sit here idle all day. After all, there’s nothing wrong with my hands,” I said.

She seemed to consider it for a moment, then relented and brought me the basket of torn garments, needle and thread. I set to work, grateful for something to pass the time and distract my mind from the heat.

“Mama, Mama!” My oldest son’s face appeared at the door. There was an earnestness in his voice. My sister’s head shot up from her work. All of our children were pushing behind him, shouting, and, within moments, they entered the house.

“Hush!” my sister called. “What is going on?” She was looking directly at my oldest boy.

“Jesus is in our town,” he began excitedly, “and He’s coming this way. Jesus is going to pass right by our house. He’s been healing people all day.” My son looked at me then he continued. “We saw him. There was a blind man and he spoke to Jesus. We couldn’t hear what Jesus said, but when the blind man walked away, he could see again!”

The other children started to chatter, but my sister hushed them. She and I exchanged glances. We had heard so much about this Jesus. We talked about Him for hours as we did chores together. Some said He was the Messiah, the promised One. Others doubted. I spent a lot of time thinking about Him. I hadn’t told my sister, but I felt curiously drawn to Jesus. A wise teacher, healer, man capable of miracles, man from impoverished, little Nazareth, of all places. He claimed to be the Son of God. Oh how my heart wanted to believe this!

My sister and I heard that Jesus also claimed to forgive sins. I knew I had broken the law. Even when I had kept the law outwardly I was sure, in my thoughts, I had sinned against God and others. Could this Jesus really forgive me?

I looked at the excitement on the children’s faces. They said the blind man was healed but then he went away. I couldn’t fathom it. I would want to talk to Jesus. I would have so many questions. But Jesus probably wouldn’t waste his time. I imagined Jesus being brilliant and having limitless knowledge and understanding. It was foolish to think He would take time for conversation with me.

Then I thought about what I heard about how Jesus was spending his time. I was told Jesus went to the homes of sinners and dined with them. People whom the Priests and Pharisees would have never considered worthy of sharing a meal and conversation.

Clearly, Jesus was different. He must really care about people. He must truly love others. I longed to meet Him myself. To see Him with my own eyes. To know Him. To be near Him.

And now Jesus was about to pass by our house! Using my arms as leverage, I pushed myself up. This time my sister did not argue. She looked at me knowingly and her eyes became moist with tears.

“Take me to Jesus,” I said.

My son looked to his aunt for approval and she nodded. Instantly they were both at my side, offering support as I walked unsteadily toward the door. The other children trailed behind us.

The mid-afternoon sun temporarily blinded me, and I stumbled as my legs felt fatigued after only a short distance.

“Can you go on, mama?” my son asked. They were holding me up, one on each side. A small crowd gathered around us.

I took a deep breath and attempted to take a step forward. Then One in the crowd turned and looked directly at me.

“Woman,” He said, “who do you seek?” His voice was kind and tender.

The sun spots cleared from my eyes and I saw a face that was not the most lovely to look upon, but it was one that expressed love and compassion. Immediately, I knew this was Jesus. He stood in front of me, not just looking at me, but SEEING ME with eyes full of concern. I began to comprehend that Jesus was much more than a mere man and, moreover, at that very moment His attention was focused on me. How could this be? What could I possibly offer Him? Yet He stood there, genuinely waiting for a reply, and something told me He would have waited all day.

My sister nudged me. I knew what they expected me to ask of Him. It was clear to everyone who had gathered that I suffered from an illness. The crowd was poised and ready for a healing. I couldn’t request His healing power then simply walk away. My heart had formed another response. I needed something far more important.

“I am seeking  you, Lord. Please grant me forgiveness,” I said. Like flood waters, a deep sense of faith came rushing into my heart. Truly, I was looking at the very Son of God. “Please come to our home for dinner. I don’t have much to offer, but everything I have I will give to you.”

Thank you for reading. Again this is a fictional story about a physical encounter with Jesus in Biblical times, but one based on my desire to know Him and draw nearer to Him each day. Until I meet Him face to face in eternity, I am blessed to be able to do this through prayer and Scripture reading. If you would like to get to know Jesus, The Gospel of Luke is a great place to start. If you’re finding Scripture difficult to comprehend, please email me. I’d be happy to send you a copy of The Essential Jesus. 

Grace be with you, my friends.

3 thoughts on “To Be Near Him

  1. This poem is one of my favorites and I was re-reading it just now and thinking about what a remarkable “call back” person you have become. And more so with each new challenge you face. Thank you for your faithful calling back to those around you.
    If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back­;
    ‘Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track;
    And if, perchance, Faith’s light is dim, because the oil is low,
    Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.

    Call back, and tell me that He went with you into the storm;
    Call back, and say He kept you when the forest’s roots were torn;
    That when the heavens thundered and the earthquake shook the hill,
    He bore you up and held you where the very air was still.

    O friend, call back and tell me, for I cannot see your face;
    They say it glows with triumph, and your feet bound in the race;
    But there are mists between us, and my spirit eyes are dim,
    And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him.

    But if you’ll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry,
    And if you’ll say He saw you through the night’s sin-darkened sky,­
    If you have gone a little way ahead, O friend, call back,­
    ‘Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track.

    – Selected
    (Quoted in Streams In The Desert devotional)


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