Eternal Reflection by Pastor Carl W. Mann, II
Luke 4:14 (KJV)“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.”
Our Lord, Jesus Christ, had returned in the power of the Holy Spirit from His great testing by Satan in the wilderness. We understand that His Father was “perfecting” Him with this testing, and He used Satan to perfect the spiritual discernment of “The Man, Christ Jesus.”
This is the meaning of…
Hebrews 5:8-9(KJV) “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”
After facing His Adversary’s maximum ability to deceive, Jesus came out of His “Wilderness Experience” filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered, as Man, with the Power of the Divine. As a result, He began to move and manifest that He was God’s Christ in all His Words, Works, and Willingness in such magnificence that the fame of His mighty acts spread far in advance of His Presence.
Following is a possible “Eternal Reflection” of one who experienced His mighty acts firsthand…
Yesterday, I overheard some of the men saying that Jesus of Nazareth would soon be coming to an area near my village. I listened intently as they discussed the way Jesus spoke with such conviction and power that one would think that He was a King, or some other person of influence. Yet, they seemed to mock Him because He was known for being a Son of a carpenter, and lived with His widowed mother.
I am accustomed to listening to the men of Capernaum discuss the politics of the Synagogue and the ruthlessness of our Roman masters; however, when they began to discuss that Jesus of Nazareth was becoming famous for performing extraordinary miracles, my curiosity rose and I wondered if He really could perform miracles, and, if I were ever in His presence, would I witness such a thing.
I could only wonder if such a thing were possible; for, I wouldn’t have time to seek Him out! Being the only son of my widowed mother requires that I provide sustenance and security for her and my sisters. Since I am only 14 years of age, I find myself often “in the middle” of the estimation of men. It seems that most of the men consider me a child, while others expect as much from me as they do the seasoned citizen. Nonetheless, I purpose every day to find a way to provide for my mother, my sisters, and my grandmother who lives amid the “rejected,” the colony of lepers.
I reflect on all this as I am awakened by the sound of shuffling feet outside my window as the footsteps of the village beggars make their way to their various spots wherein they will look to those who might be their benefactors. It will not be long before the village will be alive with its everyday activity of women going to the village well for water, men going to the fields, men coming in from their fishing through the night, and the sounds of playful laughter as children run through the streets. But, I must quickly arise, eat the meager breakfast mother prepared for me and my sisters, then run to the shoreline where I shall hope to be hired to help clean the nets of some fisherman in exchange for some fish that I might use to barter for additional supplies. To date, no one has accepted my offer to be available to help them fish.
Today has a mysterious aura about it! The sounds of the village, the chirping of the birds, the cries of the beggars, and the sighs of the elders seem to be more clear and concise in my ears. In fact, I never noticed that these sounds were somewhat of a “language” before. My mother’s normal greeting of, “Shalom! Good Morning!” has a more meaningful impact upon me; because, I am experiencing a deeper sense of peace than ever before, and I am able to accept her blessing that this morning is good, and today will be good as well!
I must make my way more quickly to the seashore today! I stayed in bed longer than I planned; however, I could not get the thoughts of Jesus of Nazareth out of my head. I wonder, would today be the day that He would come to our area? Even so, would I get a glimpse of Him? No matter, I must beat the others to “the nets” or my family will miss tonight’s and tomorrow morning’s meal.
I am grateful that God is granting me favor again! Joses, my favorite fisherman, is just arriving at the shoreline – surely, he will welcome me to assist him today.
“Shalom, my young friend,” Joses cries out as I approach him. “Shalom, elder Joses,” I respond. I am most grateful that he was just arriving; therefore, he probably does not know that I had arrived later than usual, AND, it may well be that his lateness is an indication of a successful night of fishing.
I praise the Lord for Joses’ success; for, he is in a very joyful mood and will most probably be more generous with the wage of food he will share. I particularly enjoy the days that Joses is joyful; for, on many of such days, he pays me by sharing some delicious pickled fish and barley loaves his wife prepares. If he is extra generous, he will share enough that I do not have to try to sell a few of his large fish so I can buy enough for my family. Today is such a day!!
Where is this crowd of people going? I think I’ll follow them just to see what the attraction is.
What?! Did I hear correctly? Did that guy just say that the Rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth, is sitting with His disciples on the top of this hill?
I just must get a closer look at Him! It’s good that I’m smaller-built because I can worm my way closer without much difficulty; and, because I am a male above the age of 12, they cannot forbid me from gathering amid the men.
There He is! It must be Him! The closer I get to Him, the quieter the people are, and the more peaceful I feel.
“Excuse me? What am I hiding under my robe?” Who is this strong-voiced guy who is asking me what I am carrying? Does he think I came to hurt Jesus? I wouldn’t do that; and, besides, I’m just a kid!
“Sir, I am carrying five barley loaves and two small pickled fish. I earned these to feed my family. I’m only protecting them from drying out, and I cannot afford to lose them. I’ve learned that the best way to protect something of value is to hold it close to my heart.”
I don’t know what this man said to his friend, but his friend looked at me and nodded his approval. Good! Now, maybe I can get a little closer to hear what Jesus is saying.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” What does He mean by this?! I certainly know what it is to be “poor,” but to be “poor in spirit,” what does this mean?
Why is He looking at me? His eyes – they are not looking “at” me, they seem to be looking “into” me! I want to look away, but I cannot. For the first time in my life I felt that someone was “seeing” me. He wasn’t looking for what I could do for Him and He wasn’t looking “down” on me. He was “seeing” me – I never felt as loved or as special as in this moment! I have a need to fall at His feet, but His gaze gives me strength to stand. I wonder, is there anything I have that He might want?
I am noticing a strange phenomenon taking place. I know that He has fixed His eyes in my direction; however, it seems as if He sees each one of us, while seeing every one of us! That is a miracle!
I have no idea how long I’ve been standing here, but I know I should be getting home. Mother will be concerned for me, and the family will be wondering about the food. Oh! What am I going to do? I promised Grandmother that I would bring some extra food so she can share with others who have been “rejected.” How are five barley loaves and two pickled fish going to be enough for my family and the “rejected?” God help me!!
He’s staring at me again! He’s nodding His head as the “big-mouth’s” friend says something to Him. What does that man want?
“You want to use my bread and fish? Sir, it’s all that I have, and it’s not just for me!”
“Jesus sent you to ask me?”
Jesus is smiling at me. There is something in His smile that quickens my heart to believe that I can trust Him with all that I have. “Please take these loaves and fishes. I only wish I had more to give Him.”
“Of course, I’ll sit down with the men,” I say to the “big-mouth’s” friend. What is Jesus doing with my food? I’ve never heard anyone pray over His food with as much authority and gratitude before. Now, He’s asking His disciples to start passing my, I mean His, food down the line and through the hands of the people to share what He has blessed. This is really going to be interesting. I don’t think they’ll get past the first couple of men before the food runs out! Nonetheless, Jesus does not seem to be worried at all!
Good! A loaf and a fish is passing my way, I might as well tear off some for myself and pass it on. I’ll just take a little bit so that it will go further.
What?! I can’t believe what I’m seeing! I know that I tore some off, how is that loaf still intact? Wait a minute! Each group of men have their own loaf and fish, and it appears that neither the loaves nor the fishes are diminishing! Wow! If this continues, there’s going to be a cartload of loaves and fishes left over!
I can’t recall when I’ve eaten so well. The bread tasted like it was just baked and the fish was just perfectly spiced! Now, what does he want? The “big-mouth’s” friend is coming toward me again.
“My name is Andrew. My brother, Simon Peter (‘Big-Mouth’), sent me to ask you what you wanted to do with all the left-overs?”
“What do I want to do?! They are not MINE! I gave them to Jesus!”
“You do not understand. Jesus never receives from anyone without giving back. It’s impossible to be more giving than He. You trusted Him with all you had, and He’s sending you home with more than you could ever provide for yourself. It’s just one of His ‘Core Values’.”
It’s amazing how things work out. I was concerned with how I would keep my promise to my Grandmother and her friends. God gave me a heart for the poor. Wait a minute! “Blessed are the poor in spirit….” Hmm, I think I understand. Also, I can testify that Jesus of Nazareth is a “Miracle Man!”
“Oh, thank you for your help, guys. We need to make a stop by the colony of the ‘rejected.’ I can’t wait to see the expression of my Grandmother’s face when we give her 11 baskets of fresh food!”