By Suzanne Rowe
It had been a busy day and the people had been so demanding. As a fully qualified ‘Teacher of the Law’, I was fast learning that there was more to the job than just teaching.
Finally, though, the time had come to lock up the office and go home. As I stepped outside, I heard my neighbour call, "Have you heard? Jesus is at Peter’s house!"
What? The man that I’d listened to from afar – puzzling over His powerful teaching – was here? In my town?
Peter, the fisherman, had left our little town to follow this Jesus, and his family kept us up to date with all that was happening. Now it seemed that Peter had brought ‘The Teacher’ home!
All thoughts of fatigue disappeared and I ran as fast as my feet would carry me. The elaborate robes that I wore with pride – a mark of my esteemed position – filled with air and billowed as I ran. Although I was aware that the whole effect wasn’t terribly dignified, I didn’t care. Peter’s home was down by the lake, and I wasted no time in getting there.
The light was fading as I drew near to the house. From a distance, I heard the chattering and could sense the excitement of the crowd. The noise grew louder as my running feet pounded down the empty cobbled street. But it wasn’t until I rounded the last corner that the stench hit.
I stopped short and wondered what sort of crowd this was. It looked as though all the sick and demon-possessed of the district were in this one place.
Right then I was faced with a dilemma – if I touched them, they would make me unclean. If that happened, I would have to go through the whole ceremonial cleansing routine later.
For a moment I hesitated; but then fascination overruled. I drew closer.
I watched as He healed, liberated and taught. Surely this man is a prophet. Perhaps the Messiah? I thought.
But then, before I knew what was happening, Jesus was leaving. The overwhelming crowd continued to press in as He prepared to get onto a boat and go. I could bear it no longer.
Elbowing through the stinking mass of humanity, I pushed to the water’s edge. "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."
I would do anything for the privilege of hanging onto His every word; of drawing nearer to the great Jehovah. Perhaps I might even become a great healer and teacher myself someday.
"Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head."*
His words were powerful and my heart was branded by a scorching hot iron. Could I take that path of suffering?
In the darkness, I trudged down the familiar streets – alone, dejected, and indeed, rejected. My dirty robes hung from my stooped shoulders. The lights of home beckoned. A thorough wash – clean clothes – a hot drink – a tasty meal – a warm bed. Hmmm.
* Matthew 8:20 NIV
Suzanne is an Australian teacher of English, currently living in China. She started dipping her toe into the big world of writing at the start of 2005 and has found that God has given her a passion for sharing her faith in this way. Suzanne is a regular winner of the FaithWriters’ Writing Challenge, with her work appearing in recent FaithWriters’ anthologies. You can write to Suzanne through the Letters page of this Magazine.