The Teacher says he wants to talk with us in the morning. I wonder what about. Maybe he will tell us where we will be going next in our travels or maybe he will teach us more about the prophets. I guess it doesn’t matter. He has such a way about himself. He is not like other teachers. I lay down and try to go to sleep. I have a hard time falling asleep. Seems like we never stay anywhere very long. Maybe I should have gone with one of the teachers in Jerusalem. Then I wouldn’t have to travel around and I could sleep in the same bed every night. As it is now, I don’t even have a bed half the time. But this teacher, Jesus, is different, he teaches with such authority and it seems like he is always taking care of us and not the other way around. His teachings are sometimes hard and I don’t always understand them. I close my eyes and drift off knowing that it will be an early morning. The Master likes to get an early start on things.
Morning comes and he gathers us all around. The sun is just peaking up over the hills outside the city. It is going to be a beautiful day with this light cool breeze. He tells us:
Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward. Mark 9:41
I remember a lot of people have been so nice to us when come into town and the meet Jesus, the Teacher. The city is starting to come to life. He motions to the children that are playing around us now and says:
Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. Mark 9:42-48
I start to squirm in my seat. I get a bit uncomfortable when he starts talking so graphically. This must be really important. I hope he is not talking about me, I am trying. But it is hard this is all so new to me. I don’t want to cause people to sin and I know this is important but I don’t know if I can live up to this. Jesus glances over at me and just smiles. It is like he is reading my every thought. I calm down his look said it all. He is not here to condemn me or to throw me into Gehenna. He just wants me to keep trying. I think about the first day I met him. It had not been one of my better days. I had been a pretty wild child. I liked the wine and hanging out with a bad crowd. He had just smiled at me like he did today with that look that says, “Follow me”. And I did. Suddenly, I come back from my memories and Jesus says:
“Everyone will be salted with fire.
Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid,
with what will you restore its flavor?
Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.” Mark 9:49-50
Teacher always leaves us with one to think about for a while. We use salt all the time to purify and preserve. The blacksmith over there uses fire to purify the metals and to harden the steel. This is probably one of those things he says we are the ones being purified. I do kind of remember when we started out and there was quite a bit of grumbling and arguing amongst ourselves but the longer we are together and the more he keeps teaching us, we do seem to have a lot more peace within our group.