Mysterious MajestyThe dusty, traveled stranger drew more attention than the common passer-by. Head high, shoulders strong, commanding, even filling, the very air around him. What was so different, so...attractive, about this bedraggled, wandering Jew?
Rumor had preceded the small band of men. Preparation had been made. Sometimes, it was said, he traveled with a hundred. Sometimes thousands followed him. Today, it was only twelve. Twelve ordinary men.
The merchants were slightly disappointed. Still...there was something there. Something worth watching. Worth waiting for.
Whispers. Sideways glances. Really, what could be so amazing? Granted, there was a certain fire in his eyes. A gentle command in his voice. Never demanding, but...well, you wouldn't for a minute disobey! His smile, his laugh...contagious.
And then, as if he had only one objective, he strode straight into the center of the village. His men made place for him to sit. And he started to teach. That was all. Like a rabbi, a teacher of the law, he began to explain the Torah. His men listened, enraptured. Curiosity drew a small crowd. And then, as word spread, the crowd grew. As many as could squeeze into the small courtyard did, and the rest hung out of windows, or leaned over rooftops.
Riveting. This man, this dirty stranger, with no pretense or fanfare, spoke of the mysteries of Heaven like he had been there himself. With the wisdom of the elders he explained the Prophets, and how the very words of the Torah had been woven together to lead straight to this very moment!
Could it be? No...he couldn't possibly be suggesting....
And then suddenly a scream! A man toward the front was shouting something unintelligible. It was Shlomo, the town "lunatic"! Frothing at the mouth, his face contorted, his eyes wild, he rushed at the teacher who stood up with an air of...ownership. Looking straight at the deranged man, and with a voice of complete control, he said, "Get out of him."
That was it! Nothing more. Poor Shlomo fell to the ground as if he were dead. The silence was palpable. And then the teacher gently bent down and whispered something in Shlomo's ear. Slowly, both stood up, the teacher's arms around Shlomo's shoulders.
The collective gasp seemed to suck all the air out of the sky, leaving everyone's skin tingling, the hair on their heads standing straight up. Matthias looked...normal. He smiled a smile that contained all the gratitude and admiration a man could possess. And then he sat down next to this...what was his name? Wasn't it Yeshua? Such a common name. A common-looking stranger.
And then, one by one, a lame man here, a sick woman there, a mother with her child, came pressing up toward this man of authority. His hands, his gentle touch, crackled with a power that none had ever seen. His men stood up in a protective circle, just in time for a mad rush of desperate, dirty, sick and dying.
What a time! As the sun bathed dusty foothills in brilliant shades of rose and tangerine, a calm settled over the tiny, transformed town. A few children darted here and there, laughing drifted down alleyways. Most sat around discussing how this young Jewish man had altered their lives forever.
Who would have known? Who could have foreseen the unearthly power that would flow effortlessly from his hands. Who would have guessed at the life-giving words that he would speak. In a single afternoon, the impossible had now become possible. This man, this teacher, this...less than ordinary traveler would turn out to be...
3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
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