Chapter 2: Jesus
On the day of the weekly Sabbath, Jesus went into the synagogue with his disciples. At the synagogue, there was a demon possessed man. When he saw Jesus, he fell to his knees and cried out, “Oh, Jesus of Nazareth! What do you want with us? Are you going to cast us out? We beg you to leave us alone. We know who you are! You are the Son of God!”
The people in the synagogue were astonished. They could not decide if they should stop the demon-possessed man from crying out that Jesus is the Holy One of God the Messiah.
As Jesus looked around, the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law whispered among themselves. Astonished, Simon the Pharisee asked aloud, “Who is he that even the demon possessed bow down before him?”
Laban the Pharisee looked at Jesus and the demon-possessed man and said, “The demons inside that man are begging Jesus not to cast them out. Can Jesus really cast out the demons?”
Shimei, an expert of law, shook his head and said, “If he is truly a prophet and has the power to cast out demons, He wouldn’t do so today. He would do it after the Sabbath.”
Jesus looked at the crowd and said, “Let me ask you a question. Is it right to heal the demon possessed on the Sabbath or not?”
Shimei replied, “According to the Law, casting out demons on days except the Sabbath is right.”
“If that is your answer, let me ask you again. Does the Law exist to save the people, or to harm them?”
Shimei looked around at the faces of the Jews. “If I answer that the Law exists to save the people, then that would mean it is okay to drive demons out on the Sabbath. And yet, how am I to answer that the Law exists instead to harm the people?”
Since no one could give an answer and were hesitant, with a stern look Jesus replied, “The Law was given to you by God to save the people. But instead, with it you are killing them. The Sabbath exists for the people, not the other way around.”
After Jesus said this, he rebuked the demon-possessed man who was bowing down.
“Be silent and leave this son at once! Never come back to him again!”
Immediately after Jesus spoke, the demon caused a series of seizures as it left the man. People who witnessed this were in shock and whispered to each other.
“How can this be? Jesus speaks and immediately the violent demon possessed man calms down. The demon-possessed man cried out that Jesus is the Son of God. What does this mean?”
Confused, Laban tilted his head and said, “How can the demons leave immediately after Jesus commands them? Such power! This has never been heard or seen before! His Words are filled with presence and authority.”
Shimei, with a look of displeasure and resentment asked, “But who does he think he is by disobeying the Sabbath? He even goes as far as calling the demon-possessed man a son, and treating the demons as if they must submit to his authority?”
Peter approached Jesus with pride. “Lord, the demon-possessed man knew who you were and proclaimed that you are the Son of God. Why did you cast it out instead of leaving it alone? Wouldn’t it be better to have demons proclaim who you are since the people can’t recognize you themselves?”
Jesus, looked at the people and said, “Listen very carefully. I do not need acknowledgment from people’s lips nor have I come to be acknowledged. I have come to free you from the chains of sin, death, and suffering. Whoever believes that God the Father sent me for you and follows me, will inherit freedom and peace that which the world cannot give.”
Looking at his disciples he continued, “My work here today is done. Let us leave.”
Then, turning to Peter who was beaming with admiration he said, “Peter, let us rest at your house.”
Leaving the synagogue with his disciples, Jesus headed for Peter’s house.
At Peter’s house lived Andrew, who was still single, as well as Peter’s wife, Zipporah, and his mother-in-law Jochebed.
At that time Jochebed was suffering from a severe fever. James approached Jesus and said, “Jesus, Peter’s mother-in-law is very ill. For some time, she has been lying in her bed due to a severe fever.”
“I’m aware of this. I am about to heal her from this illness.
You all had no choice but to neglect your families when you chose to follow me. The least I can do is take care of your families.”
As Jesus entered the house, Zipporah welcomed him. “Welcome Teacher. You must be tired of walking from place to place. Please have a seat. I will bring something to eat.”
“It is alright. Where is your mother? I heard she is ill.”
“Yes, she is lying in there.” Following Zipporah, Jesus entered the room where Jochebed lay.
Jochebed tried wearily to sit up. “Teacher, you didn’t have to come into a humble place like this......”
Jesus held Jochebed by the hand and lifted her up.
“You have a severe fever. I’m sorry I could not come sooner.”
Facing Jochebed, Jesus rebuked the fever. “Leave her!”
At Jesus’ word, the sickness immediately left her. Jochebed stood from her bed and thanked Jesus. “Lord, thank you for coming to our house and thank you for healing me as well.”
Zipporah knelt where she stood and said, “Lord, thank you for healing my mother.”
Jesus lifted Zipporah to her feet and said, “Of course, I am glad Jochebed is well again.
I have compassion because Peter and Andrew have been following me and did not have time to take care of you all.”
“No Teacher, ever since we met you, our lives and our hearts have never been better.”
Jochebed looked at Zipporah proudly and said, “After Peter and Andrew left, my daughter Zipporah hired a person to catch fish. Fortunately, more fish are being caught now than when Peter and Andrew were catching fish!”
With joy Jesus smiled and said, “That’s good. I am glad to hear that. It is such a blessing that God the Father looks after you all while Peter and Andrew are doing God’s work.”
With great earnest, Zipporah and Jochebed prepared a meal for Jesus and his disciples. Peter’s house was filled with laughter that went on throughout the night.