10:15 a.m. Thursday February 2, 2023. 33F/1C.
Recovery. The winter skies have granted a repose to the forest. Daffodil spears have returned to their work of shooting up above the ice. Some leaves even sport yellow-green bulbous forms at the top. A golden feral cat sits on the top step of the porch and yowls. He looks in both directions, then he yowls again. His secret friend only came to visit once every other day for the duration of the storm. The song of his aching heart is loud and obvious. Do any of us understand why we were not chosen? The cabin bears the scent of burnt propane gas. Gray skies warn of more weather and the neighbors are out driving on the ice in tractors. The work of storm recovery begins now.
The Gospel of Matthew, chapters seven and eight
Heavenly Father, grant us your peace. Grant us your mercy and grant us your peace. Nothing is near as important as having your presence before, during, and after a storm. Amen.
When Yeshua finished delivering the sermon on the mount, the followers sat amazed.
And when Yeshua Mashiach had spoken these words, the people were astonished by his instruction, for he taught like a powerful one, not like their wise ones and their Perushim.from the Sepharadic gospel of Matityahu, chapter 7, translation by Justin van Rensburg
- Yeshua Mashiach = Jesus the anointed
- powerful one = one capable of teaching
- wise ones = sages
- Perushim = pharisees
Yeshua taught like someone who understood the reason the Torah was written. Plus, he was willing to put the law in plain language for the people.
The next person Yeshua healed, he instructed to follow the law of Torah, to the letter.
And when he went down from the mountain, many people went after him. And he saw a leper who worshipped him, saying, “If you want to, you are able to cleanse me.” So Yeshua Mashiach stretched out his hands and touched him, and said “I want to cleanse you.” And immediately he was clean from the leprosy. Then Yeshua Mashiach said, “Beware – do not speak to any man, but go and show yourself unto your priests, and present to him an offering, just like Mosheh commanded as a memorial.”The Sepharadic gospel of Matityahu, chapter 8, translation by Justin van Rensburg
- Leprosy = disfiguring skin disease
- Cleanse = to make ritually clean
- Mosheh = Moses, or the Torah, the law
Yeshua came down from the mountain where he delivered his teaching on Torah. As soon as he walked down, a man whom the priests declared unclean, according to Torah, was there. The ritually unclean man came and worshiped, laid out on the ground in a worshipful manner before him. Yeshua would not have been able to walk without stepping on him. The man got his attention.
The priest’s guide to diagnosing leprosy is in the Bible book of Leviticus. Skin cancer could have been called leprosy. Many types of skin diseases were considered leprosy. Actual leprosy today, Hansen’s Disease, is a contagious, disfiguring bacterial disease. And yes, the man could have had Hansen’s Disease and had Yeshua been an ordinary man, he might have gotten sick from the exposure.
But the lesson at hand was not disease prevention. The lesson was this: Did Yeshua rise to fame to negate the Torah?
And everyone was watching.
The sick man lacked no faithfulness. He worshiped. He expressed no doubt, saying, “You ARE able.” Furthermore, the sick man never asked to be touched. He only asked to be cleansed.
In an act of compassion, before a man who acted as if he was desperate to be shown mercy, Yeshua stretched out both hands toward the man,
and laid hands on him.
The man was healed of his skin disease. Matthew made no mention of whether Yeshua went directly to the Sea of Galilee to bathe. There was a good chance he did not.
But he warned the man, saying, “BEWARE!” The man was not to stop and chat, stay over at anyone’s home, but go straight to work fulfilling the law. It would take over a week for the man to fulfill all that Torah required, to be declared clean by a priest.
Why beware? After so much time, maybe years, of isolation, the man’s emotional state would have been frail. Lawyers from the temple watched Yeshua and were ready to rip into the healed one, making his state worse than before.
He was touched by God’s own son. He was healed. But something more he must do. He must obey the law to keep anything worse from happening to him at the hands of the priests. His recovery was suddenly dependent upon his own actions.
Life in the hollow, Thursday
I took a long nap this morning, unintended. It really bit into my time to work out doors on the collapsed greenhouse.
Our world, especially my nation, is in an unusual state. More people are seeing sickness and violence. More people are seeing an image of Yeshua walk into their homes and make a difference in their lives, just as I have.
By the way, you can pray that God would grant that to you.
I honestly believe that God will pull us out of this time of extremes, and he will do it in a way that only God can do. It will require that we all take part in the recovery work. We all will need to forgive one another, and bless one another.
And never wander from his way again.