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I Can See: Man Born Blind.... John 9: 1-7

I Can See: Man Born Blind.... John 9: 1-7

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I Can See: Man Born Blind.... John 9: 1-7

Lunghezza:
352 pagine
5 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jul 24, 2012
ISBN:
9781475934175
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

I Can See, based on the Bible story of Jesus healing of a man born blind, Tobias is brought to life. Born, blind, in Jerusalem during the time of strict Jewish laws, Roman occupation and the arrival of Jesus, Tobias life becomes complicated. His cousin, David, was also born with a deformity, a clubfoot. Together they explored the world around them only to find that they were ostracized; they had to depend on each other.

This was a time of great disruption, domination, and turbulence; which laws to follow and what to believe in. Neither Tobias nor David knew, the events that were occurring around them, would reach into their lives, change their beliefs and turn their worlds upside down. Their story describes their struggles to fit in a society that shunned them, the miracles that changed their lives and learning to believe in the unknown.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jul 24, 2012
ISBN:
9781475934175
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Bernard Dionne, born and raised on a farm, worked as a police officer, received a Bachelor of Social Work degree from University of Manitoba, worked in the Health field, retired in Belair, Manitoba, finished writing his book just prior to his death. He and his wife, Heather, raised four children in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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I Can See - Heather Dionne

book.

Prologue

For David, even to think of changing a single letter in the transcription of the Torah would contravene the will of God. Any change in the written Torah would have a dramatic effect on world order. These thoughts were at the back of David’s mind as he sat at the table and examined the last scroll he had been transcribing before he was ordered to the Roman Emperor’s library on the Island of Capri in Italy.

Immediately upon his return to Jerusalem, David went to the transcribing room in the Temple. He wanted to reawaken the senses and feelings he usually had whenever he was in the Temple library. He was happy to be back there, surrounded by the precious Scripture scrolls stored in the library.

David looked at his writing on the scroll and felt great pride in his work. He was well aware that the written word of the Torah would last forever, and that those words could indeed change the world. He closed his eyes and gave a short prayer of thanks for the gifts God had given him, whispering Oh God, lead me to the purpose of my being so that Your glory will be manifested. David’s fingertips gently rubbed the letters on the scroll before him.

So that’s what your writing looks like came a voice from behind.

There was no mistaking the person speaking.

David’s whole body froze. He could no longer see the words in front of him. Thought vanished . . . This could not be. He knew that voice because he had heard it all his life. It was his cousin Tobias. But those words looks like did not make sense because Tobias was blind. Tobias had been born blind. Slowly David turned his head and there was Tobias standing right behind him, looking over his shoulder, his same old scarred face with its usual big open grin showing the few remaining teeth in his mouth. One ear was disfigured from one of Tobias’ many falls, and his nose angled to the left, the result of walking or running into too many unseen object as a child. A long clean cloak replaced Tobias’ usual ragged garb, and his hair was groomed and not frazzled.

It was Tobias’ eyes that were most shocking to David. They were clear and without the glassy opaque look that had existed for as long as David could remember. Tobias was looking directly into David eyes, and there was no mistake. Tobias could see.

David stood, and turned to face Tobias. He opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out. His mind could not register what his eyes were seeing, and so no words could be formulated.

For a long time the two men stood silently staring at each other. David was thoroughly perplexed. This was indeed his cousin Tobias whom he protected and had played with for years as a child. He reached out his hand to touch Tobias’ face, but stopped in mid-air. This was impossible. Throughout history, there was never any record of anyone born blind regaining his or her sight.

I can see, David, I can see, stated Tobias, still grinning and looking at David.

David remained speechless. He grabbed the crutch leaning against the table, and used it to steady himself. He felt dizzy, and was not sure he could continue standing. This was just unbelievable. More seconds passed as he looked in disbelief into Tobias’ eyes.

My God . . . how did . . . ? were the only words David could mutter. Tobias took one step closer, and placed his right hand on David’s left shoulder.

It was Tobias who could now no longer speak, and his eyes began to fill with tears. He was seeing the face of his cousin for the very first time. At that moment, David dropped his crutch, and wrapped his arms around Tobias. The men held each other and sobbed uncontrollably.

As children, David and Tobias had grown up together, and had lived side by side. Their mothers were sisters. David and Tobias were the same age with only one day between them. And it was a day that would be remembered. It was the day that King Herod the Great died.

However, it was not the death of King Herod or the fact that the two sisters had given birth to two boys almost at the same time that was of any significance. What was significant was that both boys were born with a deformity. David, born first, had a deformed right foot. It was bent almost ninety degrees at the ankle, and looked like some sort of club. Tobias was born blind. The talk of the town was that someone had sinned in that family, for many believed that any deformity at birth was the result of sin.

David and Tobias were more like brothers than cousins. They had laughed and played together as children, and looked after each other from the time they could crawl. When they were able to walk, David was always there, taking Tobias’ shoulder for support and directing Tobias everywhere they went. Mostly they played in the house or in the front courtyard. Sometimes David would play tricks on Tobias by remaining very quiet, and Tobias would have to find him. It always surprised David how quickly Tobias could find him. Tobias used to say that David stank, making it easy to find him. Sometimes they would play tag in the open courtyard. David’s lame foot found it hard to catch Tobias except when Tobias would get too excited and lose his bearings. It was at those times that Tobias’ face would meet a wall or a post.

Finally, David was able to compose himself, and pulled away from Tobias. After a few more awkward moments he was able to mutter some words through the overwhelming emotions he was feeling.

This is so hard to believe, David said, wiping the tears from his eyes. He began to comprehend that Tobias could now see. For Tobias the world was no longer a place filled with void and darkness without form, colour, or light. What David saw, Tobias saw. So often David had lain in his bed at night in a pitch-black room trying to understand the kind of world Tobias lived in, knowing full well that it was impossible to know what it was like to be totally blind. But David knew what it was like to see and to distinguish all the shapes, colours, and movement around him. Tobias could now look at all that transformed the world into a place of mystery and beauty. Tobias could now go everywhere without effort or assistance now that he could see.

What happened Tobias? David asked, still mystified by this miraculous event. How did it come to be that you can see?"

It was Jesus, said Tobias. That is why I’m here, David. I want you to write my life story so the whole world will know that Jesus was the Messiah, the true Son of God, who not only gave me sight, but who came in this world so that all of us could see the true light.

What! Jesus gave you sight? said David with shock, bewilderment, and disbelief. Hearing the name Jesus stunned him, for he had heard many reports of this so-called false prophet. David had read and knew every page of Scripture. There was indeed a Messiah promised, but Jesus was certainly no Messiah. David had heard all about this Jesus on his journey back from the Island of Capri to Jerusalem. He had had many conversations about this Jesus with Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes who had seen and heard Jesus preach. They had talked about this Galilean who had travelled through many parts of Judea breaking every Jewish law, and spreading offensive and false ideas about a new kingdom. Mostly it was the poor and the unfortunates, who had little or no education and no understanding of Moses’ law that believed in Jesus. Certainly his cousin Tobias fell into that category. According to the information David had received, Jesus was a deranged preacher walking around the countryside making all sorts of claims including being the Son of God. Jesus also had some followers who were just as crazy as he was. On the orders of Pontius Pilot, the Romans finally crucified him and that was the end of that. Jesus had now been dead for several months, and there was no more mention of him in the synagogues or the Temple. In fact, many of Jesus’ followers were no longer allowed in the Temple or allowed to talk about him.

David, I was born blind, and now I see. The whole world has to know my story, stated Tobias with determination. I need you to write my story.

David looked at Tobias’ serious, beaming face. He could not let him down. He would write the story of his childhood friend who was born blind. By investigating Jesus, and by writing Tobias’ story, he would at least find the truth about how Tobias gained his sight, and he could expose the fraud Jesus.

Yes, I will write your story, David promised Tobias.

Tobias’ face lit up with excitement.

David, you cannot write about me without writing about yourself, said Tobias. God granted you a brilliant mind with the gift of memory, knowledge, and understanding and God granted me sight. God worked his wonders through both of us. The world must know our story, David, for God blessed both of us.

David liked the idea of including himself in the story, for all his life he had truly felt that he was indeed blessed by God. David was also aware that by including himself, many more would believe him, because he was renowned as a scholar throughout the Jewish community. He would reveal the truth about Jesus and expose him. Certainly Jesus was not responsible for Tobias’ gaining his sight. From all the information he had received, Jesus was a very dangerous man. The Jews had enough difficulties living in a corrupted Roman Empire, being ruled and controlled by heathens, without the need to have some false prophet walking around claiming to be the Messiah. Tobias would know the truth in the end, but for now he would go along with Tobias’ plan.

Yes Tobias, it will be our story, and I will reveal all. For surely it is God’s will that the truth be known, said David glancing at the last scroll he had transcribed. You can be sure, Tobias, the truth will be written, and the world will know.

Oh, thank you, God, Tobias said interlocking his fingers across his chest in a prayerful gesture. My prayers have been answered.

A few moments passed, and then Tobias said quickly, I am sorry I have to go. I have lessons to learn. We will meet again soon.

His eyes beaming, Tobias turned and headed towards the Temple exit. David watched him walk around a table, leave the library room, and head towards the Temple door. He then reached out for the door latch so he could pull the door open. David’s mouth fell open in amazement. He had never seen Tobias walk that way before.

What really happened Tobias? How is it that now you can see? David muttered to himself.

Silently David vowed that in the name of Yahweh he would seek out the truth, and through the written word he would divulge what really took place the day Tobias gained his sight. Jesus certainly was not responsible. How he wished he could have been there to meet this Jesus. David felt certain that he would have been able to expose him.

For almost four years David had been away on the Island of Capri working in the Great Library of the Emperor of Rome. Rufius Gordian, a retired General of the Roman Imperial Army, had gone to Jerusalem looking for scribes and scholars who could translate and transcribe Greek literature and Greek law into Latin. The Romans were well aware that the Jews, in particular, possessed great abilities and skills in this area. Rufius had also received information that he should seek out David, regarded as one of the best and was known throughout Palestine for his writing and translation skills. The Roman officer’s orders were made very clear to David. He was to return with him immediately to the Island of Capri, and begin working in the Emperor’s library. David knew he had no choice, because no one dared refuse the emperor or any of his commanders.

David travelled to the Island of Capri, and settled into his new quarters in the Emperor’s library. Thankfully the Roman centurion liked David. He protected him from any harassment from other workers. Many saw David propelling himself on a crutch with his clubbed-shaped foot dragging underneath him, but few recognized his immense ability and skill. Many saw only a cripple on crutches, and were mystified at how such a young person could speak, read, and write fluent Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic.

Rufius Gordian had always been interested in literature and history. As a top general in the Emperor’s army, he was able to accumulate a number of books on Greek literature and many historical documents. Many of the books and documents were in poor condition and required restoration. Many had to be transcribed, and the Greek literature was to be translated to Latin. This type of work required great skill, and David was a master in this area.

The work in Capri was gruelling, but through it David matured and increased his knowledge of literature and world history. David’s workroom was a dreary cubbyhole adjacent to the library with only enough room for a table, chair, and a cot. David ate with the servants and their families. There were much larger rooms adjacent to the library but senators and other Roman officials used them. David noted that they most often remained empty.

The Greek scrolls were in one section of the library and were easy to find. David had access to all the scrolls in the library, and by the time he left Capri, he had devoured most of them. But there were also many scrolls that David could not understand because they were in a strange foreign writing.

David had one frequent visitor. Rufius enjoyed sitting at David’s table and the two could spend hours talking about history, wars, and the present world development. The men recognized and respected each other’s ability. David realized that Rufius had become a top general in the Roman army because he was a brilliant strategist. In all likelihood, it was his ability in warfare that enabled Rome to continue as the most powerful nation in the world.

David was completely enthralled by all the Greek literature and other material available to him. He read Aristotle, Homer, Plato, and Socrates. David was fascinated by the brilliance of Alexander the Great and by how quickly he had come to dominate a large portion of the known world. But David was astute enough to see how power could corrupt and destroy, as demonstrated by those who followed Alexander. There was no doubt in David’s mind that there was a connection between the destruction of the Greek Empire and the actions and thoughts of power hungry Greek lawmakers. In David’s mind, the Roman Empire was no different, and one day it, too, would see its demise. But David kept these thoughts to himself. He would not even share them with Rufius.

Suddenly, David was freed from his work. Rufius had become ill and died, but prior to his death, had made arrangements for David to return to Jerusalem. Rufius had also left David a sizable sum of money giving him a certain amount of independence. Upon his return to Palestine, David bought a donkey so that he could get around. He did not go directly back to Jerusalem but travelled throughout Palestine visiting Caesarea, Bethany, and Capernaum. David loved the mountainous countryside around Lake Galilee.

David knew that the Jewish population in the area around Lake Galilee had always been strong in their religious convictions, and many were not afraid to die for their convictions. He was not surprised to see Roman garrisons in the area. Several uprisings had already taken place, and many young Jewish men had been killed. David couldn’t see that any lessons had been learned from their deaths. Many more Jews would die trying to defend their religious beliefs that they were God’s chosen people and that the Torah was the only authority to be followed. David wanted no part of violence: that type of violence had killed his mother and father.

David learned from speaking to Pharisees and Scribes that fewer people were attending synagogues. Some were now part of a new cult that believed Jesus was alive. They worshiped elsewhere, because they were not allowed to preach that false dogma in the synagogues. David totally agreed with this. He, himself, avoided speaking to the Galileans as they were often vulgar, ignorant, and easily swayed.

Everywhere he went he was able to stay with fellow Jews. It was a Jewish custom to open their homes to travelling Jews. David stayed in the homes of Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes. He knew many of them, and felt welcomed and comfortable with them. Many had known David as the brilliant young man working in the Temple library. David had been away for four long years, and he wanted to know all that happened in Judea during his absence. David spent long hours listening to rabbis and scholars who spoke about a certain zealot named Jesus. Jesus had claimed to be the Messiah, and had caused a great deal of confusion and disharmony throughout Judea. Jesus would not follow God’s law or commandments, and showed great disrespect for Jewish authority, for the Pharisees, Sadducees, rabbis, and scribes.

What was most troubling was that Jesus maintained he was the Son of God sent to save the world. Justice had prevailed, and Jesus was put on trial and crucified in Jerusalem. Even so, Jesus continued to have followers, and this gave David even more reason to investigate. Few in all of Judea could match David in defending the Law set out by Moses. His findings would be trusted and believed. David had received assurance from very prominent members within the Jewish community that the elimination of Jesus was truly necessary for the very survival of all the Jews under Roman domination.

The spreading of Jesus’ false doctrines and beliefs had to be stopped. David had always felt that God had given him the gifts to do His will. David had always thought that transcribing and translating Scripture had been all that God ever wanted from him. Now, he felt that God wanted much more. Jesus’ followers had to be shown how they had been misled and deceived. God had given him the ability to stop them.

David remembered what his father had once told him: If you want to really know the truth, ask the common people.

David resolved to speak to the every day working people in the places where Jesus preached. It angered David that Jesus had such power over them. David’s thoughts again went back to Tobias. Only the hand of God could have given Tobias his sight. In the back of his mind was the troubling thought of a man they called Jesus, but David would find the truth. Just before going to sleep, David recited his favourite prayer, knowing that God would always answer it:

Lord God, lead me to the purpose of my being, so that Your glory will be manifested.

Chapter 1

The news spread that King Herod’s health was failing. It was tense in Herod’s palace, and this unease spread throughout Judea. Rome had given ruling authority to Herod, and while he was in good health he managed to govern effectively, but at a cost. Herod had built new cities, and named them after Romans to please the Emperor. He had sent expensive gifts to Rome. To pay for all this, Herod had raised taxes many times over. Many Jews resented having to pay so heavy a tax, and revolted against him. Herod quashed the poorly prepared insurgencies.

Judea thus remained peaceful and calm while Herod was in control. Once it became known that his health was failing, and that his subordinates were running the country, however, difficulties ensued. Many Jews felt great discontentment and anger towards Rome. Their anger spilled out onto the streets throughout Judea, and there were more revolts. Rome, however, was not completely oblivious to this, and sent more troops into the territory. Many more Jews were killed, and if it were not for the pleading of the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees to keep the peace, more would have died.

The presence of foot soldiers on the streets of Jerusalem affected people. Many children were not allowed to venture on the street for fear of being trampled by the soldier’s horses. Wives worried when their husbands were away from their homes. The Roman centurions were indiscriminate when they used force to put down the revolts. Many innocent Jews met their death only because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. This was the kind of atmosphere in which the two sisters, David’s mother Priscilla, and Tobias’ mother Rhoda, grew up. When it became known that David was crippled and Tobias was blind, all sorts of rumours surfaced. There was a belief that deformity or illness at birth was directly related to sin. The sinner could be anyone in the family, including the newly born child. Because Priscilla and Rhoda were sisters, it was concluded that it must have been their parents that sinned. Their father had been a wealthy olive oil merchant who spent many days away from home. It was not difficult for people to invent all kinds of stories about him.

The reality was that the boy’s grandfather, Achidan, was an honest and hardworking businessman whose only sin may have been his love for food and wine. Achidan was a huge man and well respected in the community. Achidan and his wife Casiphia had a tremendously deep faith in God that saw them through many difficulties.

Achidan had a good knowledge of Scripture. However, his own interpretation was often different from that of the Scribes and Pharisees, and he often would engage in heated discussions with them over the meaning of certain passages. Achidan felt that there were too many rules. He believed that it was never God’s intention to tie His people down with laws and regulations that prevented them from achieving happiness and wellbeing. He often commented to the Scribes and Pharisees that they took life too seriously and that they should relax, enjoy life, and not always look for the negative. He would tell them that the doorway to heaven was through honesty, fairness, and love, and that their petty rules often smothered people and prevented them from loving. As a businessman, Achidan was honest with everyone he dealt with, and the thought of taking advantage of another human being was repulsive.

Unfortunately, Achidan’s health deteriorated shortly before the marriage of his youngest daughter Rhoda. Like many in society he thought he would stay healthy and he would live forever. Achidan had made no plans regarding his affairs, and after his severe illness, he no longer had the energy to carry on the business.

Rome was exercising its power throughout Judea and the rest of the world. It was an unsettling and tumultuous time for most of the Jews. The Jews were well known for their skills in farming and crafts, but Rome tolerated and accepted them only because of their expertise in the world of business. Herod the Great, although merciless in his control, enhanced in many ways opportunities for Jewish merchants with business connections throughout the world.

Many Jews and non-Jews profited during this period. But where such opportunities lie, there also exist opportunities for corruption and unscrupulous undertakings. Merchants had to remain diligent in their affairs in order to survive. When Achidan’s health deteriorated, his olive oil business suffered. He was never able to recover fully, but he made every attempt to keep his business going.

His wife Casiphia, was a small, quiet person that loved to cook, and who was satisfied with taking care of her children and spending most of her time at home. She was the kind of person who stood in a group of people but about whom no one took notice or even knew she was there. She had disliked gossip and identified socializing with gossip. And so, she spent very little time with the other women. Many saw her as snobbish and anti-social, but she was not. She was merely shy and awkward when she was in a group of people. Casiphia found it very difficult to manage when her husband became ill. Her health began to fail, and she spent most of her time in bed.

With both Achidan and Casiphia in ill health, much of the responsibility for looking after them and the household fell to Rhoda, their youngest daughter. She struggled through this difficult time. She had some support from her sister Priscilla, but Priscilla was busy looking after her own daughters aged six and nine. Like most Jewish parents, Achidan and Casiphia had taken their responsibility of raising the two daughters very seriously. They were brought up and raised in the same manner as all other Jewish girls. When it came to finding husbands for them, every effort was made to ensure a good match.

Many found it hard to believe that Priscilla and Rhoda were sisters because they were so different. Their mannerisms, personalities, intelligence, and approach in life were completely different. Priscilla came into this world without difficulties, and her life continued without much hardship. As a child, she was domineering, inquisitive, and intelligent. As she grew, she easily learned her responsibilities and position in life as a Jewish woman. She was able to listen and carry out directions easily, and she quickly learned how to behave in the world so that she had control of her life. Her parents had found her a good husband, Seth, a Pharisee who was well known and respected in the community. Seth came from a long lineage of Pharisees. Being the wife of a Pharisee fitted Priscilla very well, and she had no difficulties in adjusting to the new lifestyle where rules, regulations and religion prevailed.

Rhoda was different, and had proven to be a challenge for her parents. It was not that Rhoda was a difficult, overly active, or mischievous child. It was quite the opposite. For Rhoda, everything was difficult. Her mother had been in labour for over 30 hours, and the birth was extremely difficult. It was feared that both mother and child would not survive. Thankfully, Rhoda’s mother was in the hands of Mahalia, a very skilled and experienced mid-wife.

Rhoda was difficult to breastfeed, and she was often sick. From the very beginning, Rhoda had difficulty comprehending and learning new things, even the simplest chores. She remained small and frail, and did not learn to walk or talk until she was almost four. Many times her parents would have to repeat themselves so that Rhoda would understand what it was they were saying. From the very beginning, however, Rhoda who was to become Tobias’ mother was seen as a very special child. She had a tremendous capacity to show love and caring. It seemed as if her only missions in life were to please and serve others. She always smiled, never complained, and had a way of making people around her feel good. Like her mother Casipha, she was extremely shy and seldom spoke. Like her father Achidan, she was also honest to the point of embarrassing her parents. Life was sometimes difficult for Rhoda, because she did not get along that easily with other children. However Priscilla loved her sister and protected her like a mother hen. Anyone teasing or treating Rhoda unkindly would very quickly have to deal with Priscilla, and that could be a very unpleasant experience.

As Rhoda became older and passed the age of marriage, her parents worried that it was going to be difficult to find a husband. Finding someone that would be patient, accepting, as well as being a good husband for her would prove to be easier said than done.

One day, an olive oil merchant that Achidan was visiting showed him around his vineyard. Achidan observed one of the workers pruning the olive trees. The man was working much slower than the others, and appeared somewhat awkward in doing the pruning. He was meticulous in his work, however, and took great pains in assuring that the right branches were pruned and that no damage was done to the trees. From the way the other workers related to him, it was obvious that he was well liked. The merchant excused himself, and had a short conversation with the worker.

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