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Meditations on the Daily Life of Jesus of Nazareth

(Version 1.2) Introduction What is meditation? It is obsessing about something until displaced mentally and spiritually into a place where nothing else affects you except the thing you came there to see. How often do we meditate on the daily life of Jesus? Little clues in the gospels and the prophets provide us facts for making some logical assumptions about things he must have done during the unrecorded years of his life. If we ask, we shall receive and maybe, just maybe, the spirit that lives in us might let us in on a little secret or two. Regardless, much of the following is speculation and inference. The style is often unconnected and disjointed but for the subject who binds all things. Jim Demello, February 2012

The Beginning My name is Luke. I crawled out of the Judean desert near a small river. Surveying the landscape around me I spotted a white glistening temple and then I knew where I was – Israel – Palestine – Jerusalem. Who could mistake that blinding storied edifice for anything other than the Temple? No mistaking that walled city either, and it put a fear in me. I headed in what I determined to be west and north on a dusty road towards a hamlet that was less threatening. Bethlehem. The village was pretty quiet. Some sheep crying from the fields nearby, some traffic on the road but all I could think of is, 'I'm thirsty!'. I feel like I swallowed a boat load of sand. And, 'I'm hungry!' - a falafel sandwich would sure hit the spot. What does one do when in a strange place with no money, friends or guide book? I saw what was obviously a tavern and stumbled through the small doorway into a pitch black cavern. Landing face down on the ground trying to blink away my blindness I heard some laughing. A young woman stooped to help me up. “Friend, ours is a popular establishment with a great reputation but we have many empty seats. There is no need to sit on the floor.” “Where does an excitable young man such as yourself come from?” “The desert.” I answered. “Ah, a Bedouin.” “No, just a wanderer.” “And what does a wanderer wish to eat and drink?” She was a dark, curly haired girl, maybe seventeen or eighteen. Hunger and thirst were my priority. I checked my pockets. None. No money. “I'll take anything that you can spare for free and I promise to make payment when I become able.” “A beggar then is it? Come with me.” As she set me down at a rough table and bench I thought: “I seem to know things but they don't fit in with this place and time.” She watched me eat with obvious interest and after a while stated: “You have strange attire for a Bedouin.” “I'm ... from the North. ” “Well what am I going to do with you?” “I'm not sure what I'm going to do with me.” “I will speak with my father about you. Do you have any skills?” “I can read and write.” The young girl introduced me to Joseph, a carpenter. Good name for a carpenter I thought. Joe, strong, like his forearms. And a great smile.

I didn't want to seem too familiar so I called him Joseph rather than Joe. He shook my hands, both of them, like he was really pleased to meet me. “ I have a lot of work to do and really need a helper right now. YHWH must have sent you.” Yeah, I thought. Must have been Him. “Do you know how to use a saw?” I said I knew which end to hold but my lines might be a little crooked. “Well, we will make it work.” Joseph showed me where I would sack out, the roof. Good thing I like the stars. Then he had me follow him down to his workshop which was part of a stable. The smell was a little overpowering, bringing tears to my eyes in fact. “You will get used to it.” He handed me a wooden shovel and showed me where to deposit the offensive material. I guess this is how they begin training carpenters their trade in Palestine. Kind of a Zen thing no doubt. (Even Eastern mysticism had penetrated the Middle East.) In the next few weeks, between meals of great middle eastern foods (Mary, his wife, was an awesome cook, and Joe too.), nights of sore muscles and exhausted sleep, I began to learn the trade of woodworking - furniture, house framing, boat planking, sawing, sanding, pegging, nailing, drilling, casting nails, tool making – it was all fascinating and satisfying. Joe would often hum Jewish sounding ditties and with the smell of sawdust and olive oil and the noises of livestock – I was transplanted to a new heaven and earth. The memories of the old one were still fuzzy and blocked. Sometimes strange words and images would appear but so disconnected that I could not create a coherent memory. I loved being a part of this young and beautiful family. Even the baby appealed to me and I know I don't like babies. The child, Jesus, son of Joseph of Nazareth. Jesus was like any newborn I guess. Did all the typical baby stuff; cry, make funny noises, and the other things. But I seemed to be exceptional happy around this child. I would sing snatches of songs I knew and Jesus would focus his attention and then smile – like he already knew the song. He was nothing exceptional though Mary seemed entranced by him. A mother's love I suppose, like any mother. I was envious of Joe, Mary and Jesus and I was content here in Bethlehem of Judea, Palestine, the subjugated country of the Roman Empire. At night on the roof as I lay on my mat looking up to heaven at an amazing spread of stars I noticed Orion and the Seven Sisters and a new star I had never seen before. It had a tail. Strange. One day while Joe and I were working in the shop, a couple of soldiers appeared in the doorway, asking for Joseph. Seems they were looking for carpenters to complete a

contract in the Temple in Jerusalem. Fitting some ceder planks, stone work or some such thing. I knew as a pagan I wouldn't be allowed to perform this work but I wanted to tag along with Joe and see the sites. After a couple hours of walking we arrived at the Fountain gate of Jerusalem. Once inside the city walls we followed narrow and convoluted streets past private homes and markets selling everything under the sun. The noise was tremendous as was the smells, both good and bad. Joe told me to go wander around and we would meet in the afternoon near the pool of Siloam. He pointed me in the general direction as he set off to the temple work area. I dallied around the market streets for a few hours and eventually came to the pool. It was a big blue and white tiled affair with pillars and a roof and lots of folks in and out of the water. I was a little tired and chose a place away from the water to sit and rest a while. Near me was a young man stretched out on a mat like a sunbather but in a long robe. I said, “How you doing” and he said, “Not bad for a crippled guy.” He had been here day in and day out for a few years, hoping for a miracle cure. I asked him if he believed in God (YWVH). “Of course, I'm Jewish am I not. But I often wonder where He's at. It seems He often abandons us. I really cannot believe my parents were so evil as to deserve a lame man such as myself”. He stated this as fact not like someone who felt sorry for himself. After some small talk I wished him better fortune and told him I believed angels weren't really behind the moving waters in the pool. It's just a natural spring. And I also told him to stay away from idols – that would surely overdraw his quota of suffering. But who was I to preach to this man? It was getting late and some horns were being blown. Must be supper time. I offered my new acquaintance a few coins but he gracefully refused and told me the conversation and fellowship were worth much more. Promising to see him if I ever returned to the city, I walked to the Fountain gate to wait for Joseph. A few days later our lives and that of many others were to change course forever. One night Joseph woke me and he was obviously in a state of high anxiety. He told me he had had a very compelling dream of an angel telling him to get out of Bethlehem and make his way down south to Egypt. I was very sorry to hear him say that as I had no desire to go where there was more sand and heat and though I came to love this family as my own I had to decline their company. Had I really known who they were I would have gladly submitted my allegiance to them as a knight to King David. Following hasty preparations I saw them off. Joe with Mary and Jesus borne on a donkey with their few belongings packed on another one, heading south. They were able to attach themselves to an early morning convoy of families, merchants, camels, wagons and hired guards. I stood watching them leave and cried a bit. Oh Father, I prayed, watch

over this pitiful little family – and me too. The morning that Joseph and family had departed, soldiers came to the little town of Bethlehem. They were going house to house and from some of the hamlets came yelling and screaming and crying and within an hour it spread to the whole village – a dirge of loss and mourning and gloom and doom. I didn't stick around to find out what the commotion was about. I grabbed a few clothes, my toolkit and slipped away between the buildings into some fields. I felt like such a coward but it was self-preservation. What could I do to a well armed soldier? No hero today. I still felt some of irrational fear of Jerusalem, like someone might discover who I really was and put me in one of those terrible palace dungeons with chains and manacles and stocks and rats and mean guards. So I knew I had to leave the area and because Joseph had told me of the north where he came from my plan became: climb mount Olivet to take a look at the city below and then find a convoy heading towards Galilee. By the afternoon I had reached the mountain top. I found a good viewing place of Jerusalem and sat a spell. It was certainly a grand spectacle. A high walled city of white and clay colored buildings with a huge area near the eastern wall that housed what looked to be a castle of sorts. South of that was the Temple. A tall white and holy looking place which was located a little further south than I would have expected. Someday, to the north, would stand a golden domed structure and it felt like a stab to the heart. Finding the road toward Jericho I settled in with the first group of travelers I saw. We were walking and talking and singing songs. Upon our arrival at Jericho we were told to break for the night. I settled down between some massive overturned stones outside the city gate and grabbed a bit of shuteye. It would be a long journey to the Sea of Galilee.

Age 12 One evening I came into Joseph and Mary's house and found the child Jesus washing his brothers and sisters feet. I asked him what he was doing. He answered, “I'm practicing.” Then Jesus laughed a little at his private joke. ☼ of ♂ I asked Mary, “May I ask you a delicate question?” Then I pushed on without waiting for her to reply. “Was Joseph ever married before he married you.” She said, “He was not.”

Age 17 The young Jesus must have known everything. He remembered God and spoke with him daily. He didn't need training as a Rabbi because he wrote the law and quoted himself – he knew it perfectly. ☼ of ♂ I wandered into one of the workrooms where Jesus was putting the finishing touches on a model of a ship which was about 2 feel long – it was quite beautiful – seeming to glow from the oil stained and polished cedar wood. “It's Noah's ark.” I exclaimed. “Yes,” he said, “an exact scale representation, needing only occupants and a flood to be complete.” I asked who it was for and he told me it was for an orphan boy he knew. The boy was interested in his ancestors and it was his birthday. I was interested in the story too and asked him, “Where did all the water come from?” He just told me that nothing was too difficult for the Father. He added that one day the details may be discovered by men but the discovery would only harden their hearts. As time passes the world will again become as it was in the days of Noah and faith will become as rare as a red heifer. ☼ of ♂ Because Jesus knew who he was, knew the scriptures, was told by Joseph and Mary of his special circumstances – he was in no need of searching for his spiritual connections with his Father – they were just there like his five senses. He learned early to answer the call to God just as Samuel did. Daily prayer and meditation increased his spiritual awareness and power. Isaiah says, “The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. (50:4)” ☼ of ♂ Jesus was forged like a steel sword – purified metals folded and stressed over and over until it (He) became stronger than normal steel. Then he was filed, honed and polished by purification, meditation, fasting, prayer and dedication resulting in a blade that could cut through the sinfulness of mankind and be expertly wielded by his Father.

Early Twenties As I was sitting with Jesus and a neighbor of his the question came up, “When are you going to get married Jesus?” I thought to myself that Jesus must get kidded a lot by those who knew him well and it must be unusual for a capable man like him to be unmarried and surely he would be a promising prospect to the available young women. As per his style, he quoted some scripture: “And let not any eunuch complain, 'I am only a dry tree.' For this is what the Lord says: To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant – to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.” (Isaiah 56:3-5) ☼ of ♂ Jesus took over as head of the family in his twenties after Joseph had died. He owned a house with Mary, a cart and donkey, a carpentry business. He would take the cart to the forests and cut timber, oak, cedars, pine, sycamore, and cyprus, with an ax, bring it to the shop and let it dry, strip it, rip it, and shape it for various tasks. He could repair carts, make wheels, ox and donkey harnesses, yokes, plows, repair boats, build houses, fabricate shovels, hoes, axes, rakes, furniture, ladders, and just about any wooden contrivance imaginable. Locals liked him because he was fair and did not try to cheat them and he did good, really good work. And he knew how to work stones. He loved to tell stories of the missing cap stone that was looked for to complete the house. ☼ of ♂ The Carpenter carved and fashioned toys for his brothers and sisters and the children of Nazareth – for wedding gifts, birthdays and anniversaries. Cedar chests, furniture, mirror holders, detailed models and toys and kites [ancient knowledge of kites came from the East long before]. And he made stone wheels for grinding wheat and presses for making olive oil. ☼ of ♂ I watched Jesus doing many simple tasks in the normal course of his daily life: sleeping, dreaming, star gazing, carrying water (a woman's job), shaving, holding, feeding and caring for his baby brothers and sisters, taking out the garbage, washing dishes, filling a lamp with olive oil and trimming the wick [the smell of a lighted olive oil lamp is wonderful], riding and caring for a donkey, fishing, praying for the meal, eating, sharing his food with strangers, presiding over his brothers and sisters weddings, taking care of his nephews and nieces (“Uncle Jesus”), traveling around the countryside of Galilee , visiting relatives, burying friends and family, teaching, listening, consoling, smiling,

laughing, joking, ... Age 25 Jesus was not a handsome man [Isaiah 53:2 says, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him] – but very Jewish looking – he fit the role of rabbi well and inspired confidence with his words and actions. He always had a right word for every occasion – or a respectable silence. Never did one suffer from his wit yet evil intentions brought his swift and judicial replies. He was defender of all men: women, children, widows, orphans, disabled, poor, slaves; sufferers all. ☼ of ♂ James, Jesus younger brother, one day said to Jesus, “If you are to be a king, does that make me a prince and our sisters princesses?” Jesus replied, “My brother, it is as you say, you will be princes and princesses in a kingdom unlike you can possibly imagine.” His siblings loved their elder brother but could not understand why he didn't look more like his father as they did. They also doubted their parents ambitions for him and sometimes thought him a bit of a dreamer. “If only he would be more like our rabbi. Jesus is smart but aloof when he should be spirited and spirited when he should be conforming.” ☼ of ♂ After Jesus had finished scraping a piece of oak into a particularly smooth surface he had me run my hand over the wood and then he remarked, “My Father will scrape and mold my followers into perfection. It will sometimes be painful and difficult but if you do not give up following me you will be made complete.” I did not particularly look forward to the suffering part but he told me to just trust the Spirit. ☼ of ♂ I guess I am no different than the first disciples in that sometimes I want absolute proof of his divinity; I don't want to feel I have wasted my time following him. I often think to myself, “I wish I could see a miracle.” One hot night as the family and I reclined on the cool rooftop Jesus told me, “Luke, look at the stars and tell me what you see.” I didn't know how to respond or what his point was going to be.

He continued, “You can only see a few thousand of the stars. What you do not see is the much greater number I have created – and I know each one by name.” I looked for a particular star I recognized and asked him, “What is that star's name?” He said, “I will not tell you it's heavenly name but I give it a new name – star with which Luke tests God.” ☼ of ♂ Jesus had all this foreknowledge of technological innovations, he could easily have convinced even the greatest skeptic of his Godhood had he wanted. I often wondered why he didn't make greater shows of his divine nature so that future generations would have no excuses for disbelief in who he claimed to be. Jesus then one day told me while I was sitting, watching him work over a piece of wood in his workshop. “Remember the angel Lucifer? He and some of his followers came to envy my Father's glory and my close relationship with Him. He often traveled far away from the Father on his own volition and brooded. Eventually his heart began to grow cold and a new force was born in it; evil. This led to his eviction from the Father's company and also that of his angelic disciples. After this happened the Father decided that to prevent such further occurrences, He would test men. If they passed the test of belief, and the test was of a simple nature, only then would He entrust them to live with Him. I asked, “And what is this simple test?” “To believe in Him who the Father sends. To love Him with all the heart – not with the eye.” “If I perform a miracle now to convince you of who I Am, only your eye will believe me but not your heart. But if you believe in me because of my Word, then your heart and eye will be satisfied. And then there will be no future demons in Heaven.” ☼ of ♂ I asked, “Lord, what is the nature of your spirit?” I asked not knowing exactly the nature of my question. Jesus replied, “The heavenly body is like a butterfly, able to travel through new dimensions. The heavenly mind is able to exist in new dimensions because it can see the Father face to face. When you come to see the Father face to face, you will understand. Now you are just a caterpillar.” ☼ of ♂ Mary had just asked Jesus to go out to the fields and gather some mustard plants. She

wanted to dry the plants and make a mustard sauce for an upcoming festival. As Jesus went out the courtyard his sisters asked if they could go with him. They often felt couped up in the house and they loved to accompany their eldest brother – they loved to listen to his stories and wise sayings. As they walked along a path to the outside of the village they passed the local tower of rocks that the villagers used to watch over the vinyards and crops. Miriam, the oldest girl said: “Jesus tell us the story of the Tower of Babel”. Jesus told her, “You know that story as well as I do, I will tell you another story.” “A village much like our little town of Nazareth had never built a tower and they were often plagued with wild animals and wicked men who came at night to steal their grapes and crops. So the elders of the town assembled all the men and boys, assigned tasks and begin building the tower. Some of the men said they were too busy to contribute time and they made their excuses not to help with the work. Others said they were too important or vital to the functioning of the town and they did not do their part in the construction or financing of the tower. So the remaining families performed the task of finding the materials, gathering the stones, giving the land, feeding the workers and finally building the tower. After the tower was completed some of the families grumbled that those who did not help with the work should somehow not be able to benefit from the use of the tower.” Jesus then asked Miriam: “What do you think about that little sister?” Miriam thought they might be right but how would they prohibit those land owners from using the tower as it was for watching all the farm lands. Jesus then said the following: “God calls all men to work. Some will answer the call with great ability and enthusiasm, some will come unwillingly but know in their hearts that it is necessary. But some will refuse the call with excuses and curses. Still God in His great patience blesses all men – hoping they will all come to the work. Those men who labored in building the tower will be vigilant in it's use and come into even greater blessings – and even bless those who never worked – even as God gives this great world to those who are good and those who are evil. He knows his own.” Miriam then asked him: “Did you help build this tower my brother?” He answered: “Yes, I was the architect.”

Age 28 Jesus asked me to go with him to Sephorus. This was a more cosmopolitan and GreekRoman town nor far from the primarily Hebraic Nazareth. The road was well built, thanks to Roman technology and excessive taxation. On the way we encountered some

Roman soldiers lugging their gear. As they weren't marching in formation we fell in among them and Jesus began to talk with one of them. Not many minutes later he took hold of the soldier's bag and loaded it on a donkey we brought with us to carry supplies. Much to the consternation of a few Jewish travelers he continued along with the soldier until we reached Sephorus. At the city gate Jesus returned his burden to the soldier who was going on to an outpost at Tiberius. As Jesus and I continued into Sephorus I asked him why he voluntarily helped that soldier when he had not obligated Jesus to help him. He told me that service to others was the most pleasing activity we could perform to show our love of God. Then he told me that that particular soldier would one day do something in return for Jesus favor. I asked what that might be but he simply returned an indecipherable smile. I asked what he thought about the Romans ruling Palestine. He told me that even the Romans were subject to someone and their kingdom, though mighty and long lasting, was but a tool in the hand of God. “One day all kingdoms of this world will bow to the almighty Father and Creator in the new Kingdom of Love.” I asked who would rule this new kingdom. He said, “Isn't there but one God? As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14) Then he stooped to the ground and scribbled in Aramaic in the dirt: “As for man, his days are like grass...but the Lord loves those that fear him.” (verse 15) After we had gone to market and loaded with supplies we began our trip back up the road to Nazareth. As we walked along I asked about the prophesied Messiah. “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that day their plans come to nothing.” (Psalm 146:3) “Are you the Messiah?” I thought no sense messing around. Of course, he says, “As you say.” I said, “Save from what?” “What man can live and not see death, or save himself from the power of the grave.” (Psalm 89:48) “And the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” (Ecc 12:6) “Then there is some kind of life after this one? The Jews seem kind of confused on the afterlife. Jesus replied: “Remember Daniel said (12:2) that everyone whose name is written in the book will be delivered to everlasting life.” “To shine like stars.”

“Then only some folks will see this life?” “Salvation is far from the wicked for they do not seek God's will. (Psalm 119:155) I told him, “Then I better be good for goodness sake.” “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. (Proverbs 8:17) For whoever finds me finds life and whoever fails to find me finds death.” (verse 34)

Age 29 On the roads near the cities were many crosses – some occupied. When I traveled the roads with him he would often stop and see if he could comfort the tortured and dying men. Jesus would caress the crosses as if he had made them himself and was admiring his handiwork. Some of them were not much more than trees stripped of their bark – others were worked wooden planks. He knew what was approaching – having carried a cross himself for condemned prisoners, he knew what it meant to pick up the heavy crossbar beam or the entire cross and drag it. It was a tool like a hammer to be used – crafted explicitly for the purpose of pain and agony – and it was heavy beyond belief. Jesus sometimes gave drugged drink to the the dying men with prayers and words of comfort, to let them know they would not die alone and that their lives were not lived in vain. He would carry final messages from the condemned to their families and loved ones. Jesus bore sad news to newly created widowed mothers and wives. He shed many tears in their favor and held their hands and heads when customs prohibited such consolation. He gained a quiet reputation for sincerity and compassion to the admiration of the local people and to the consternation of the religious leaders. He did not advocate resistance and conflict as the Zealot resistance forces advocated and who often encouraged him to take up their sword. He simply responded, “It is not yet my time.” ☼ of ♂ Jesus slept on the ground, feeling the hardness and contact with the earth – his creation. Yet he knew that that was illusory, it was only energy that gave an impression of solidity. Sometimes he shared such thoughts with me because he knew I would understand something of it I suppose. The things he understood must be vast but he could only share those with Yahweh. In his prayers, what things would he talk about with his Father? His missed relationships in Heaven, his responsibilities as caretaker of the universe? His love for creation and his longing for the physical and spiritual presence of the Father and his other companions. He must surely miss the beauty and comforts of his heavenly home – to limit himself to the frail perspective of a human must at times become such agony. Such were the thoughts I had as I walked and listened to a man who seemed to

me to be the King of Kings disguised as a lowly carpenter living among humble peasants in lonely and unknown Nazareth – a smallish town harboring the Man who would become the center of history. ☼ of ♂ Jesus fed the homeless and travelers and orphans. He gave alms to beggars and the poor. He treated slaves with equality. ☼ of ♂ He knew the taste of fine wine or else the wine he made at Cana, which was very good, must have been a fluke ☼ of ♂ Jesus sharpened many tools. Did he sharpen the blade of a sword or spear? Did he cast his own nails - realizing that one day they would hold him to a cross. ☼ of ♂ He created the world but was not part of it. He was an artist who chose to hide himself but when he came into the world he told no one he was the artist and today they say we are the artists, the only ones who can bring order and appreciation to creation. But grace and truth came only through Jesus Christ (John 1) and finally we have seen the Father and he lives inside us if only we believe and accept him. So unwondered and unappreciated is this gift living in our hearts. Rarely do we even ponder it and ask the Father to reveal even more of Himself to us – such is possible through meditation on this beautiful confluence of the human with the divine. What is a god – something that lives forever, even God said we are gods – we live forever. We look at our short earthly lives, too soon terminated by time or catastrophe, and forget the example of the butterfly – death is but the changing of an ugly insignificant crawling creature into a wondrous flying work of art. Death is only a change point, a place in time where we become who and what we were meant to be. Every healthy human wants to live forever and so we have gotten our wish, if we just acknowledge and believe in the Lifegiver. Most will not do it, like being given a huge diamond, abnormally large and too perfectly cut – and tossed away as a fake because it is too good to be true. No, we want instead our dirty clothes and “short brutish” lives and the finality of infinite darkness, unconsciousness and unawareness. ☼ of ♂

What is so important about baptism? Jesus told me, “Baptism reveals – like wiping away mud from an ancient artifact. And, it will tie you to me.” ☼ of ♂ Jesus found a potsherd because anywhere you kick at the soil in Israel they pop up, and he reminiscences: “This was once a lamp in the palace of David. This one here was part of the furnishings of Solomon's temple in Jerusalem. I have wandered through the stalls and markets of peddlers and recognized the pieces and times and places.” ☼ of ♂ The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed two times. It contained a treasury and furnishings coated with gold. If one processed the dirt around the temple mount they would be rich from the gold flakes scraped from the destruction of the temple. Age 30 How did Mary know Jesus could do something about the wedding feast at Cana running low on wine unless he had done something miraculous in front of her before. Yet he obviously did not prolong Joseph's life. [Perhaps it was necessary to remove the earthly father for Jesus to complete his mission.] But isn't his behavior at twelve years old miraculous – how would doing any other miracle be different? ☼ of ♂ Jesus told us, “God has given you your senses to find and become aware of Him. But instead you use them to search for proofs that He does not exist.”

☼ of ♂ I asked Jesus a question because he had been constructing a ladder that is often used to gain access to the roof of the house. “Can we work our way to Heaven?” Jesus said, “Remember Jacob's ladder? The ladder was let down from Heaven, not erected from earth. I am the ladder between Heaven and earth and it is a free gift to those who choose to climb it.” ☼ of ♂ Jesus asked me, “Luke, would you rather have the house of the tax collector or the tent of a shepherd?” I knew how to answer this so I said, “The tent.”

“Well said, the house of the wicked will be destroyed but the tent of the upright will stand forever.” ☼ of ♂ I have always wished I had more intimate knowledge of certain details in events of Jesus' life. I asked him one day, “How many wise men came to honor your birth.” He responded, “I will not tell you. But one day, in the presence of the Father and his angels and saints, I will have them tell you the whole story. Be patient.” I thought to myself, maybe I should go ask Mary. ☼ of ♂ The hills of Galilee are green and tree covered and as Jesus was walking them one day it was with surprise that he encountered a deadly horned viper coiled upon a stone. Jesus addressed the viper, “You are a long way from home my friend. Have you come to tempt me before my time?” To which the viper hissed but nonetheless remained perfectly still. Jesus then sat on a rock near the viper and remained quiet for a few moments. He said, “Why would a shining angel of light, the very chosen leader by my Father of the heavenly hosts - why would he choose to so recklessly endanger and abandon his soul by craving the impossible? All your followers you have doomed for eternity. Satan, you had glory from the Father, beauty, power, favor – why then throw all those gifts away in a fit of selfish ambition?” The snake sat imperiously silent. Jesus sat humbly in sadness. “You are lost my old friend and don't realize you are even now dead.” The snake then hissed a reply and slithered away.

A Prophecy I asked Jesus, “Can you really walk on water?” He said, “Others went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the Lord, his wonderful deeds in the deep. For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunken men, they were at their wits' end. Then they cried out to the Lord

in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.” [This is Psalms 107:23 – 30 – remarkably similar to the story of Jesus calming the sea in John 6 where – he walked on water.] ☼ of ♂ “I am bound by consistency to work within the parameters of common knowledge,” Jesus told me one day when he showed me a map of the world he had drawn in the dirt and I had told him the world didn't look entirely like his map.

☼ of ♂ Trees in Scripture The bible begins with the story of a tree that gives eternal life which is taken away from men and ends with a story of the tree of life being restored to men. Trees saved mankind through Noah. The Temple was lined with wood. [Isaiah 60:3 says, “... pine, fir, cyprus...” and elsewhere cedars.] Trees can be misused and abused as in providing the place and material for idol worship. Trees can live a long time. Trees sustain life on earth. Jesus is a branch from the stump of a tree. Jesus made his living from the use of trees. Jesus died on a tree. Jesus was a carpenter.