Three times I met this Jesus of Nazareth, and each time I felt strange and confused. Each time he gently spoke three simple words, "COME UNTO ME." Yet each time, gentle and tender as he was, it seemed almost terrifying. How can I explain how my heart fought desperately to follow him. Even to the grave, and yet I was held back by some unexplainable force, stronger even than the intensity of my love for him. Some would question that I did love Jesus, scoffing at my vow of devotion saying, "then why didn't you follow him?" Why didn't I follow him? Oh how I have pleaded with my heart to send the answer and yet I did not know then and I do not know now why I did not follow Jesus.
The first time I met him I was traveling to a neighboring town with several of my comrades. As we approached him and three of his disciples I knew, even from a distance, that this man was different. My steps faltered as I stood transfixed as he approached. My comrades, who had heard the rumors about this King began laughing and jeering at him. One was even so bold as to spit at his feet, but he walking only as if he saw me. If my thoughts reflected in my eyes it's no wonder he gave such full attention to me. I was scared, yet calm and immovable and only vaguely aware of my friends beginning to shout at me for not joining in with their railing and ridicule. He stopped before me and looked into my eyes and it was like looking into all eternity. I felt my heart whisper, "If you've never loved before, and if you never love again, here is one to give your dearest, and deepest love to." I felt a surge of love for him as I have never felt before, warm and pure. I am sure he felt this too for with kindness in his eyes, he smiled so tenderly and said, "COME UNTO ME."
At that moment one of my friends came up and slapped me on the shoulder and said, "Oh no, don't tell me you're falling for the magical spell of this mighty king." Suddenly I thought, how foolish I must look before my friends, and almost unconsciously said, with a sly laugh, "Me? Of course not. What do you take me for? A common peasant?" We all laughed and I turned to join my friends but not so suddenly that I did not see his eyes change from love to pain. That momentary glance pierced me deeper than any sword, but I still walked off laughing with my friends, at the common carpenter.
The second time I met him, I was alone. It was early in the evening and I was drawing water from my well and he walked up beside me and put his hand on my arm. I did not have to look up to know it was him, nor could I look into those eyes again, so I avoided his gaze and hurried with my task, the sooner to leave. Once again I was transfixed. My eyes were soon enveloped on his own. All I could see in them was forgiveness and that ever present sea of love, wide and deeper than the ocean. He spoke out three words that cut deep into my soul and made my heart gush with tears, "COME UNTO ME."
I longed to go with him. I wanted desperately to run back and give him my heart, which he already had a firm hold on, but didn't. I didn't even look back, I couldn't. I dropped to the ground and tried to drown his words with my tears, but I couldn't do that either. Why didn't I follow him? Why? I only saw him once more. It was the last night in Jerusalem. As soon as I heard the noise my heart sickened with the shouts of the crowd as they marched him to the hill of Calvary. I knew that I could never join the crucifiers and yet I could not join the mourners as they stood beside him. So I ran until I could run no more and I threw myself on the ground and wept, until there were no more tears. How long I was there I do not know. I only remember that suddenly I felt myself walking back to Calvary. I didn't want to return, but I was going. I walked slowly and thoughtfully, never stopping until I was standing beneath his feet.
It was dark and I stood there several minutes before my eyes rose to meet his, and when they did, strangely enough, he seemed as he had before, radiant with power, glowing with love. I knew they could not kill him, not any more than they could kill the love I felt for him. This time, he could barely whisper, "COME UNTO ME." I fell to my knees and answered his three simple words and said, "Yes, my Savior, I will come."
It was the next day that Roman soldiers found the body of a man at the foot of the cross. No one knew the man, nor could they find the reason for his death. In his hand he was clutching a small piece of paper that had written on it, as if it were his last and final message to mankind, in a weak, scratchy handwriting, "I didn't lack the love, I only lacked the Courage."
Author currently unknown.
"...we know of their surety and truth,
because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent,
which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in
our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do
evil but to do good continually."
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