Here’s something interesting to think about. When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, they were led by Joshua. Moses was not allowed to go. Why was that? I think sometimes we think God was harsh for not allowing Moses to go in, since he had led them that whole way. But I think there is a bigger picture here.
Joshua is a type of Christ. In Hebrew his name is “Yehoshua,” which means, “the Lord is salvation.” He led the Israelites into the Promised Land. It was a land of great blessings for them, that they did not work for.
To me this sounds like Jesus. Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, and also means “the Lord is salvation” or “Yahweh saves.”
Jesus leads us into our Promised Land, which is life in Christ. It is a land flowing with milk and honey, a land we didn’t work for, full of the richest blessings that Jesus paid for with his life.
So, again, why couldn’t Moses go into the Promised Land with the Israelites? If you remember, once during the Gospels Jesus took Peter, James, and John up onto a high mountain. Elijah and Moses appeared and started talking with Jesus. Moses is a picture of the law, and Elijah is a picture of the prophets.
While they were talking, this happened:
Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If You wish, I will put up three shelters— one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”…Matthew 17:4-5 (BSB)
The reason Moses couldn’t go into the Promised Land is because the law cannot go in with you to your Promised Land in Christ. Moses was a picture of the law, even in the Old Testament account. Joshua, a type of Jesus led the Israelites in, just as Jesus leads us as Believers into our Promised Land.
Romans 6:14 says,
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (NKJV)
Isn’t it beautiful that God put this picture for us in this Old Testament account of us going into the Promised Land without the law?
I’ve been reading this book called The End of the Magi by Patrick Carr. It is a fiction book about the magi traveling, following the star to find the Messiah, the King of Israel. The setting starts with the book of Daniel, which I think might have been about 500 years or so before the birth of Jesus. The premise of the story is the creation of the magi in Daniel’s time to ensure that the calendar of when the Messiah will arrive is kept, based on the prophecy.
I don’t know how much of the content is fiction and how much is fact. I haven’t studied that particular part of the Scriptures very much, but it has given me a lot to think about. The magi had a sincere expectation of the coming King. They were expecting him so much, they tracked it with a calendar.
I believe many others in Israel were the same. When you read the Gospels, it is sometimes evident that they were expecting him. It was not like he was just some random guy who showed up on the scene, and they were like, “Hey, he is doing some cool stuff, so let’s follow him.” I believe they were so anchored in what the Scriptures said about Him, that when He arrived, many were like, “He’s here!!”
One example is the woman with the issue of blood. In her story, she says to herself, “if I can just touch His garment, I will be healed.” That is a reference to a prophecy in Malachai, where the “sun of righteousness would arise with healing in his wings.” The wings of his garment were called the tzitzit, and I imagine that’s where she touched.
I was reading something yesterday about numbers in the Bible, and it said that in 1 Peter, Peter made references to Old Testament Scriptures something like 28 times. I do not remember the exact number, but it was such a high number that I was amazed. I don’t notice everything a Jewish person might notice in that letter that he mentioned from the Old Testament. Their lives were steeped in Scripture. They lived it, through geography, food, festivals, and the Torah and other writings. They just didn’t look at it and move on with their day. Their lives were absorbed in it. So, they had an expectation of Jesus’ arrival.
I think we are getting ready to come full circle. As we get ready to celebrate Christmas, I am also more aware of The Lord’s second coming. It might be tomorrow, and it might be next year. But my heart is set, and I am looking for Him, with ernest expectation waiting for Him to come again.
“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.-Acts 1:11 (Berean Study Bible)
*This is a fiction story inspired by the events in Mark chapter 1 & 2 in the Gospels.
Cast of Characters:
Hosea-Paralyzed man from Mark chapter 2
“Ima, are you going to visit Hosea today?” Zeruiah flipped the bread and continued to knead it gently. “I am making some bread, but it will not be ready for a while. You can take some with you for him if you are going later.”
“Thank you my dear,” Portia called out from the bedroom. “But I am getting ready to go now. I will take something we already have on hand. He needs nourishment, so I am not sure just the bread will be enough for him. I can take some of our leftover bread from yesterday’s meal, but I think it would be good to include some pomegranates, figs, goat cheese, plus some of the chickpea stew. I haven’t been for a few days, and I don’t know if his family has checked on him since then. He is so angry all the time. I have gotten used to his gruff manner, but he has pained them so that it is still hard for them to go over there.”
“You would think they would have pity for him in his condition. I know they are hurt by his lashing out, but the man can’t walk. He is paralyzed and needs regular assistance. Couldn’t they just get over their pain to help comfort him in his?”
“Sometimes it is hard darling for people to recover from their childhoods. Their parents may have said harsh words, or worse left physical marks on their bodies that extended into their souls. You have had a good life Zeruiah. Your father and I always tried to keep you in the ways of Yahweh and that meant loving each other. Even though Hosea is a Jewish man, his family has adopted some of the ways of the Greeks, and they have not always been kind to one another. You know that my parents were influenced as well and that is how I got my name.”
“Yes Ima. I know. You tell me all the time.” Zeruiah laughed as she reminded her mother that she knew their history. “Peter will be here shortly. It will not be much longer and we will be married. Will you be glad to finally be rid of me?”
“No my love. I will not. Maybe you and Peter should just live here, yes?
But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and leap like calves from the stall.– Malachi 4:2
It was an adventure to write this story. I believe it was 2013 or 2014 when I first became really interested in the woman with the issue of blood. I think I even mentioned writing a story about her to one of my friends who is also a writer around that time. I began studying her and listening to sermons about her, and she has become one of my favorite accounts of someone interacting with Jesus.
Please note that this was a very rough draft because I wrote it all during the month of October. A lot of what I wrote about are things I have learned over years of studying her, hearing sermons about her story. and recent education about Jewish culture. I am sure I still got some things wrong. I endeavored not to change anything at all about the Biblical accounts, but to only build around them, to fill in details we were not given with my imagination.
The Gospel writers do not give the woman with the issue of blood a name. She is simply referred to as “a woman” and then a report about her condition. I chose to give her the name Ariella, because I liked it. It seemed like a strong, but also delicate, name for a woman. I believe I found the name online, but I have a Bible names book that has the name Ariel, a variation of Ariella. The word is used several times in the Old Testament, and while researching the name again for the author notes, I found out it is a symbolic name for Jerusalem. It means lioness of God.
Other characters that were real people in the accounts in the Gospels, and in my story include Matthew, Peter, Andrew, Jairus, Jairus daughter, the leper, and of course Jesus. They were all a part of several other actual Biblical stories I included in the story, one that was occurring simultaneously with the story of the woman with the issue of blood, thes story of the healing of Jairus daughter. I gave Jairus’ daughter a name also, Mahlah. It is a Hebrew name that means “mildness.” Jairus’ daughter was unnamed in the Gospel accounts about her. The Bible doesn’t tell us what happened after she was healed, only that she was healed by Jesus. I didn’t include that part because Ariella wasn’t there, but I still wanted to wrap her story up, so I added her to the end of my story with Ariella. It is fun to think about what the lives were like for these people beyond their amazing encounters with Jesus.
People that were an invention of my imagination included Dassah, Benjamin, Ethan, Shua, Thomas, Elijah, and Ariella’s father. When I started the story, I didn’t know how important Dassah, Ariella’s best friend was going to become, but she was a key figure in Ariella’s journey. I didn’t plan that out. It just sort of happened. We don’t know if the real woman with the issue of blood had someone like that in her life, but it is a plausible explanation for how she heard about Jesus.
I chose for her to live in Capernaum, because it seemed to be one of the most logical places, based on other events surrounding her account. She could have lived in another small village or town, but I believe she was close to the Sea of Galilee based on the way the events were recorded in the Gospels, especially in the account of Mark. Because of this it made sense to place her house near the sea of Galilee also.
While looking for some information about the different seasons, I found a chart that said this event probably took place in autumn, so that made it easy to work in the temperature changes as one of the elements to the story. This discovery also led me to include The Feast of Tabernacles as an element of the story as well.
It is never revealed why the woman was bleeding, or how it started. I did some research and found out the name of this condition is called menorrhagia, and could be potentially caused by a miscarriage.I have had a miscarriage, so that was something familiar to me, and why I chose to include it in my story. My goal was to take her on a journey from feeling unclean to having faith in Jesus, while taking you the reader along with her.
As far as her occupation with her father and husband, I don’t know if women would have been involved in the duties of fishermen, but I have always imagined her doing something like that.
I gave her a love for making bread because it is something she would have done daily anyway, but would have had so much practice she would have become very skilled at it. And maybe in my mind it was sort of a gift. I have a book called The Food and Feasts of Jesus: Inside the World of First-Century Fare, with Menus and Recipes that I referred to extensively so I could include some authentic information about food. Several meals are mentioned in my story including daily lunch, Shabbat, a banquet, and a nod to the Feast of Tabernacles which would be held around the time of the year the account takes place. The prayers I included also came from the Food and Feasts book and would have been a part of their meals.
According to a Bible study I did called Missing Pieces in the Life of Rabbi Yeshua, little girls would have learned the Torah. They would have memorized several books of the Old Testament, and as an adult, she would have gone to synagogue. So if she paid attention, and loved it, she would have known that Scripture in Malachai…in my imagination anyway.
Finally, the Scripture in Malachai 4:2, it would seem, is the basis for this account about the woman with the issue of blood in the Bible, and my story. As I understand it, Jewish men wore tassels on the four corners of their garments. If there were no corners, they had no tassels. Those tassels were called the tzitzit and had a blue thread woven in called the tekhelet. The Hebrew equivalent to the Greek word for fringe or corners was kanaf, which means wings. Jesus would have had the tzitzit on the corners/fringe/wings of His garment as a Jewish man. And as Malachai referred to “the sun of righteousness with healing in its wings”, that is where the woman believed she must touch Jesus.
Thank you for reading my story! I hope you enjoyed it, were encouraged by it, and you learned something new in the process. If you have questions, or thoughts, about why I chose to include something in the story, please feel free to comment here. Or if you need to correct me, please do! I am open to learning the things I do not know.
Thank you for taking this journey with me, and with this woman. My prayer is that we all get a greater perspective of who Jesus really is.
May we all continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Him,
It’s Day 31 and the final day of the 2021 Five Minute Friday Writing Challenge. When I came to the end of this writing challenge, I discovered the last word prompt was worthy. The word worthy made me think about a couple of things.
First, was a scene from the television show, The Chosen. Have you seen it? There is a scene from that show in Episode 1 of Season 2 where Jesus asks the disciple John who is worthy, and John says to Jesus, “You.” I love that scene. And it is true. Jesus is worthy. There are many Scriptures that proclaim the worthiness of Jesus.
But what about people who follow Him?
So many people feel unworthy, but the Bible says Jesus has qualified us. He has made us worthy. How did it do that?
Several Scriptures in the Epistles back that up.
giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.-Colossians 1:12-14 (NKJV)
And He has qualified us as ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:6(BSB)
and they will walk with Me in white, because they are worthy. -Revelation 3:4 (BSB)
And here’s something else. I think that everything Jesus did during his earthly ministry is a picture of what would be available to us through the Cross.
This is an element of what the woman with the issue of blood went through on her journey to Jesus. Maybe she didn’t view herself as worthy. And then we have the Messiah, Jesus, come on the scene and everything changes. He starts making people worthy. He deems them as valuable and qualifies them.
She was technically not supposed to be in a crowd like that, according to Jewish law. She could have rendered other people unclean. But apparently she saw something in Jesus that made her feel worthy to receive that healing from Him. What she heard about him, made her feel worthy.
What did she hear about Jesus that made her feel worthy enough to be in the crowd that day?
We can probably go by the stories that are relayed before her, especially in the Gospel of Mark, since it appears it was in chronological order. And if she lived in the region near them, it would be more definite that she heard those specific stories.
Some of the Bible stories that seemed to happen around her, and that I also included in the story, were the healing of the leper, the calling of Matthew and the banquet at his home, and the miraculous catch of the fish with Peter (who also admitted he was sinful). Other stories of healing included the healing of the paralytic who was lowered in through the roof, Peter’s mother in law, the man with the paralyzed hand, and two accounts of men being freed from demons-one in the synagogue, and the other living in tombs.
Hearing all those stories about Jesus touching and freeing people, combined with the Scripture from Malachai, and probably others such as Psalm 91, created in her a revelation of Jesus as the Messiah, and his desire and ability to free her from her illness. She didn’t feel unworthy, but brave, and was courageous enough to go out into the crowd that day and receive her miracle.
One more thing. The Bible doesn’t say this about her, but I believe that she knew the Scriptures from a little girl, so she most likely knew that Scripture from Malachai that was the foundational Scripture for my story.
But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and leap like calves from the stall. -Malachai 4:2
Couple that Scripture together with what she was already hearing about Jesus, and the things he was saying to people, and it would have created a faith that made her feel worthy, and she would have easily received from Him. He was righteous, and was healing people, so they were receiving total salvation, forgiveness of sins, resulting in righteousness, and healing for their bodies. So, why not her?
And why not you?
The Scriptures that I have shared are just as applicable to you and I today. They are for you. He has qualified you already, past tense. She is a pattern for us, hear, believe, receive.
I hope you enjoyed the story, and it has blessed you in some way. He has qualified you and made you worthy to walk beside him in white.
“Ariella, am I doing this right?” Thomas was helping the other young students stretch out his father’s net so they could clean it after it had been used for a night of fishing.
“Yes Thomas. You are doing fine. Stretch out that side a little more. It seems a little bunched up. Mahlah can help you.”
Jairus’ daughter ran around to the left side of the net, ready to help Thomas stretch the linen fibers so they could dry in the sun.
Ariella stood with her bare feet in the sea of Galilee, surrounded by children, her students who had become fisherman’s apprentices. She was glad to be back at teaching, and thankful for the job of mending nets once again.
“My father says you are the best at mending nets he has ever seen.”
“Please tell Elijah I said thank you. And thank him for sharing his nets so I have something to teach you with. My father was a fisherman, just like yours. He equipped me with this knowledge when I was your age and younger. He taught me and my husband Benjamin.”
There was no longer pain when she mentioned him, only peace. Jesus had restored her soul, and his words filled her heart with peace the day her body was healed.
“Shalom Ariella!” Shielding her eyes from the sun with her hand, Dassah waved at her friend as she walked up to the shore. “I have been looking for you. I forgot that you would be teaching today. Aren’t you cold standing there like that in the water?”
She laughed. “Yes! Maybe a little.”
She stepped back onto the shore and dried her feet with a small linen towel. Quickly replacing her sandals she continued, “I always teach the fisherman’s apprentices on Tuesday and Thursday. The rest of the week I bake, which reminds me.” She turned to Thomas, “Thomas, as soon as you are finished stretching out that net, please go to my house and fetch the bread I am warming in the stove for your father. I told him I would bake some bread. There should be five loaves. Take Mahlah with you. She will know where to find it if you have any problems.”
“Yes, Ariella.” The children ran off toward Ariella’s home in search of the fresh bread.
Turning back to her friend, she gave her a quick hug. “I have been teaching the young Mahlah to bake, per Jairus’ request. How are you today? Why were you looking for me?”
“I have more news about Jesus.”
Ariella’s heart swelled. She loved every single time someone would share a story. Hopefully Jesus would be coming back through Capernaum soon, so she could see him again in person.
Dassah smiled and gave her hand a squeeze. Turning to walk with her friend along the shoreline she began, “It is being reported from Gennesaret that more people are being healed. They are saying as soon as Jesus arrived there and got out of the boat, people recognized him. They started hurrying about, bringing their sick into marketplaces to be healed.”
Ariella gave Dassah’s side a squeeze as they kept walking along the shore, her heart full of joy and gratitude and peace. She sighed absorbing all the good things Jesus was still doing. “He is the healer. It’s who he is.”
“There is more Ariella. You will want to hear this part.”
Ariella stopped walking and turned to face her friend.
“There are people there who are begging to touch the tassel of his garment, and all that touch it are made well.”
“That sounds like my story. It sounds like what happened to me!”
“Yes, it does Ariella. I believe they heard about what happened to you, and they came to believe in Jesus just like you. People are believing and being saved because they heard your story.”
Ariella looked back out at the sea of Galilee. The sun had risen high upon the sky and was glistening on the water. She loved the sea, and her view would always remind her of Jesus and of the prophet’s words that led her to him and this moment. Now, others were hearing, and she knew hearing about Jesus would continue for a very long time.
The next morning the sunlight came streaming in waking Ariella from what she almost mistook for a dream. She was healed. The bleeding was no more. The illness would not return. It was over, and she was free forever. All because of Jesus.
Rolling over in a bed she hadn’t slept in for twelve years, she sighed a deep sigh. The bed was the only piece of nice furniture she had shared from her life with Benjamin, and now she could use it again.
No more cleaning her mat. No more cleaning the filthy rags. She could get up in the morning, bathe if she liked, but not out of necessity, and begin her day in peace.
Lying there, she began to think about her experience with Jesus yesterday. He just happened to walk by her house. She wondered, “I don’t think there are any incidents of chance with Him. It seems everything he does is with purpose. He came by her house on purpose. He came by for her.
“Thank you Lord,” she whispered, “For so many things. Thank you for giving me my life back.”
At lunchtime there came a knock at the door. It was Dassah. Ariella reached out and hugged her best friend, something she had not been able to do for a very long time. Tears rolled down her cheeks.
“Thank you my friend. Thank you for telling me about Jesus. And for always being there for me. For caring for me and loving me all these years. I will never forget it.”
They just stood there for a moment, looking at each other, both with tears of happiness streaming down their faces.
Sighing, Dassah showed Ariella the basket she brought. I thought we might have lunch together today. Benjamin is retrieving the boys from Torah class, so I thought you and I might have a visit.
“That is wonderful. Thank you for the gift of a meal. I have some bread to go with it.”
Joyful laughter filled the courtyard. “Please come in Dassah. Come in to my home. No more standing in the courtyard. We have a table to fill with food and some cushions to sit on.”
Dassah entered her friend’s home, and emptied the basket of its contents on the table. She brought olives, honey, goat cheese, some lentil soup, and some dried dates. “I cannot wait to taste your bread.”
They sat down, and prayed,
Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe who brings forth bread from the earth. Amen.
Ariella tore the bread and handed a piece to Dassah. Dassah dipped it in her honey, and then eyes wide looked at her friend.
“Oh my! This is the best bread I have ever tasted! You should become a merchant and sell this to others in the community. You will make a fortune. How did you learn to do this?”
Ariellla smiled at her friend, then giggled. “What do you think I have been doing all this time?”
All eyes were upon her. So many people from the community-they knew her story, what had happened to her after Benjamin’s death. They knew she had been bleeding, and now they knew it was no more.
Jesus looked at her and said, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go away in peace and be free from your illness.”
She looked at him for a minute, not wanting this moment to end. She was in the presence of pure love. He had called her “daughter” drawing her further into that love. He wasn’t going to let her go, feeling alone, absent from family. She was a part of his family, of the Messiah’s family.
What if she had escaped unnoticed? Maybe people wouldn’t have known she was healed. Maybe they wouldn’t have believed her. But Jesus had declared her righteous right in the sight of everyone there. There would be no doubting her healing now.
He said her faith had healed her. Her faith. All that she heard, brought her to this moment. She believed what the Scriptures said. She believed what her friend told her. She believed what she heard about him.
And then the messengers came. While Jesus was still speaking to her, they came and told Jairus, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the teacher anymore?”
Ariella’s heart sank. What had just happened? She was healed and now it cost Jairus his daughter. Fear threatened to creep up on her. She looked at Jairus, and then at Jesus.
“Don’t be afraid, only believe.”
Was Jesus talking to her or Jairus? She looked up to see the synagogue leader with his head hanging down, and Jesus looking at him with the same compassion and love with which he had looked at her. He was talking to Jairus! She exhaled. The fear let go and she was able to follow what Jesus had told her and go away in peace. She had not interrupted Jairus’ miracle.
Her faith had not failed her. And Jesus would not fail Jairus.
“It stopped. It stopped.” The flow of blood from her body had ceased and she felt changed.
Her body was no longer tired and the pain was gone. She wanted to run and tell someone. She wanted to shout and jump up and down. But then she remembered where she was.
“What do I do now? Where do I go? The crowd was still thick and Ariella was in the center.
“I’ll just wait until they all go and then I will go back home.”
Jesus had stopped, which meant the crowd had too.
Droplets of sweat formed on her forehead. Her heart began to beat rapidly. She was trapped.
“Who touched my clothes?” Jesus turned around and started surveying the crowd. He looked her way.
Peter said to him, “Lord, what do you mean ‘Who touched me?’ There are people surrounding you and crowding you on every side. They are all touching you.”
Ariella knew she could not hide. She straightened herself up, and walked forward.
“It was me Lord.”
Jesus was looking straight at her now.
The crowd turned and parted, leaving a clear path between her and Jesus.
Everyone was looking at her, including Jairus. Dassah was there smiling from ear to ear. She looked at her for a second with a look of gratitude on her face. And then she looked back at Jesus.
She saw nothing but compassion in his eyes. There was only love staring back at her.
She knew she had to tell him what happened to her, but she was scared because of the crowd, worried about Jairus’ daughter, and overwhelmed by this great gift. She was healed. She was clean.
Slowly, she made her way forward toward Jesus, shaking with fear and awe. When she got close, she fell down in front of him.
“I am the one who touched your clothes Lord. The prophet Malachai said the sun of righteousness would arise with healing in its wings. I knew that meant the tassels on your garment, so I knew I must get to you. I have been an unclean woman, with a flow of blood for twelve years, isolated and alone without the touch of anyone. As soon as I touched the tassel, I felt warmth move up into my arm and down into my stomach. I could tell the bleeding had stopped. I am no longer unclean.”
The next morning the light came streaming in waking her from a night that had not been very restful. She could not stop thinking about Jesus and the wings, the tzit-tzit. Slowly, and reluctantly, she got up, got ready for the day. She went about her morning cleaning, starting some bread, all the while thinking about what Malachai had said. The words remained a constant meditation of her heart.
After lunch she heard a loud group of people approaching her house, walking on the path leading from the sea. And then she heard a familiar voice. It was one she had heard many times before, a voice she knew and loved, but hadn’t heard in person recently.
“Teacher, my daughter is near death, but come and lay your hand on her and she will live.”
Ariella gasped loudly, and her hand flew to her mouth. It was Jairus! And Jesus!
She threw open the door, and there was a much larger group of people than she had imagined, with Jesus and Jairus at the center.
Without very little forethought, she moved out into the courtyard, and toward the gate.
“Just one touch,” she thought. Her eyes surveyed the crowd. She must move quickly. There were so many people, and Jesus was moving. The crowds swayed like fields of grain in the wind or the ocean waves at night. It was smooth and slow, like a sweet, soft lullaby, and Jesus was at the center.
She kept repeating in her heart what she had heard about Jesus. “He is a healer. He loves the people. I am no different than them. If I can just get close.”
Suddenly, she saw a small break in the sway. She picked up her skirt as she was accustomed, trying not to touch anybody, but it was no use. The crowd was thick-too many people.
She was close enough to touch his shoulder, but then she remembered the wings. The wings of the garment, the tzit-tzit, was where she must touch.
The son of righteousness will arise with healing in his wings, the prophet had said. The blue thread. She knelt down slowly. It was better there. Maybe she could get away unseen, and not disturb the crowd.
She saw it. Now, to just reach out. She felt the fibers of the thread gently touch the tips of her fingers. Heat moved up her arm, and down into her stomach. Instantly the bleeding stopped. And so did Jesus.
*The second half of today’s post was originally published at Beth Listening to Him as part of an earlier Five Minute Friday word prompt, and was one of the first fiction stories I wrote about women in the Bible. You can read it here.