Jesus’ mother, well, Mariam, she quickly set me straight. She knew Mariam was my name too, and I explained I used that different phrase, Jesus’ mother, to refer to her, and honor her role in Messiah Jesus’ life. Well, she just had problems with those words, well with the meaning they conveyed. She explained that, especially from her vantage point now, it was clear that she had been given a very special role, to be able to bare, raise and nuture the Son of Yahweh God. But that task was largely done years ago, and… Mariam explained that her role in Jesus’ life and destiny was long since complete. Now that her husband was dead, she followed Jesus when she could, but she also explained that sometimes, Jesus didn’t mind leaving she and any other women who followed him behind. This just happened; she took any that wanted to Nazereth, or they left for wherever they were from, and they just waited usually. But Mariam just had a hard time with people thinking she was still Jesus’ mother. Jesus was clearly… Well, Jesus’ mission and calling, as Mariam understood it… Yahweh God was Jesus’ Father, she knew that much, and Jesus himself said that often. That was what really mattered. Mariam was weeping softly as she mentioned that, a few times already, Jesus got so busy, it was just hard for him to make time for his own family. She would stand outside and send for him. Jesus’ response each time made the same point. As the Son of Yahweh God, Jesus’ family was, well, everyone who followed and obeyed Yahweh, and what Yahweh told Jesus, His son to say, to teach. Mariam just had to let that, let her firstborn son go. He wasn’t hers any more. She mentioned she did have other sons and daughters, mostly married, and they were… Well some resented the implications of their older brother’s claims.

Mariam explained all this as we slowly walked from that well, up to, and into the Temple, to find Jesus and listen to him teach. At least I wasn’t turned back at the door this time. Jesus taught most of the day again. He just sat under the shade of one of the porches on the inside of the area around the actual Temple of Yahweh, and he calmly taught the people. We listened the rest of the afternoon. I almost laughed out loud; this happened a few times. A Temple leader would walk up to the back of the crowd, listen briefly, then walk away shaking his head. What on earth… Well, what Jesus said, how he said it, it was just a lot different than what I was used to hearing from the other religious leaders. What Jesus had to say aligned perfectly with as much of the Torah as I knew. Yet he easily explained why that was true. He also easily explained clearly how it should be applied to our daily lives. In addition, he wasn’t talking from some aloof pedestal, well with his attitude. He was caring, he was kind, even as he addressed some of the more weighty aspects of the Torah. Well, I had experienced that first-hand, yesterday. The best way I can sum up my first extended time listening to Jesus… He taught like he cared about each of us. He taught like his Father (Yahweh God) cared about each of us… And he still told us the truth, then told us why. That was so new to me. I was weeping softly by the end of the day. And I wasn’t the only one. I needed this. I needed him… I needed Yahweh God, I knew that even more after listening to Jesus teach… Well, the voices in my head hated every single word, and howled constantly about that. I just tried to listen over the din. They tried other things, to distract me. I just had to fight that too. I was just not sure how that part would end. I certainly couldn’t do anything…

Near dusk, Jesus prayed with everyone, and sent everyone to their homes. Then Jesus and his disciples, well the men, walked slowly out of the Temple, then out of Jerusalem, up the hill to the Mount of Olives. Mariam and I, we followed the men, just a little behind. It sounded like Jesus was still talking, still teaching, still explaining to his disciples. Mariam and I just slowly followed them. And I realized we were sleeping there tonight, well out in the field, and I was suddenly glad for my cloak. It was still bright red, and I couldn’t change that. But it cost a lot, because it was warm. I would need that.

Still, as we followed the road slowly up the hill, away from the city, away from Jerusalem… the demons in my head starting going crazy, I guess. They were all yelling, screaming so many horrible things… I didn’t say anything, but ended up weeping softly. This horrible fight, I mean with those voices, inside. I had no idea what… I was walking next to Mariam still. At one point, I guess I grabbed her arm, and just held on. Mariam stopped immediately, turned and looked lovingly into my eyes. I don’t think she was real sure what…

But I guess Jesus had stopped too, and so his disciples (the men) stopped as well. But by the time I had grabbed Mariam’s arm and we stopped, Jesus wasn’t far away. Jesus had turned around, and the disciples maybe instinctively back away. Firmly, Jesus looked at me and asked “What is your name?”

I was crying even more. “My name is Mariam, and I am so sorr–”

The next thing I heard, but thundering in my head, and coming loudly out of my mouth as well… “We are Hepta… We are Porne… Leave us alone…”

There was a brief delay, then, yelling, thundering quickly towards a crescendo… “We know who you are! You are the–”

“Silence” Jesus commanded quickly. Then “Come out of her, never to return.”

I screamed loudly. Seven demons screamed… I screamed again, and almost fell over. Mariam grabbed me right away, and just hugged me tightly. Maybe she had been through this before. I was ready to scream again… …They were gone… …They were all gone… I hugged Mariam tightly and cried softly on her shoulder. I was free… Jesus and the disciples resumed their walk up the hill. Still, this man, Messiah Jesus… By his mighty power… By Yahweh God’s mighty power working through him… Jesus had just driven 7 demons out of my soul… None ever came back… I would follow Jesus anywhere now. And, when the demons left, that pull, that desperate wanting for men left too. I was not ‘the porne’… any more… Of course, I hoped right away that there might still be a good man for me some day. I had always wanted that, but it could wait. My crying tapered off. I pulled away, and turned Mariam up the hill towards Jesus and the disciples walking on ahead, then I took Mariam’s arm in mine, and we started slowly after them. “Thank you Yahweh God… I’m free… Thank you…” Me saying that, that made Mariam cry. We cried together as we walked towards the disciples.

We did spend the night out in the field, in one of the sheltered corners of an olive grove up there. The olive trees did a good job of breaking the cool breeze. It wasn’t bad. And if we wanted a snack… Still, I stayed next to Mariam, and lay down where she did, away from, but still within sight of the disciples. I could just tell, Mariam was going to try and apologize; this was probably a lot less comfortable than my house. Somehow though, I just knew. “Mariam, it is ok, it is fine. I want to follow Messiah Jesus everywhere I can.” I really meant that, and I think Mariam understood. It was quiet briefly, then I said what I deeply felt. “Mariam, thank you. I know that your son Jesus is really Yahweh God’s son now, but you played a crucial role in that, and now I am free, he freed me. So, thank you.” This made Mariam cry again, so I got up and hugged her, then laid back down. We were soon asleep.

Mariam was awake when I woke up the next morning. The sun was up, the birds were chirping, the bugs were out, too. Still, this wasn’t bad. It was nice. Well, it wasn’t winter; If they could, Jesus and his disciples usually stayed somewhere warm when it was so freezing cold outside, Mariam mentioned on a different day. But that morning, as soon as I was awake, Mariam smiled and said quietly “Thank you for coming. You seem really committed to the Messiah, and I think…” Mariam paused there, but by then, I was standing next to her, holding my hand out to help her up and we hugged tightly. We ended up crying softly together. Well, Mariam was right; I would follow Messiah Jesus anywhere he went, anywhere he would let me follow him. I guess Mariam realized that. Nothing mattered more to me at this point. It was only a little later, on our way back down to the Temple, that Mariam finished that thought… She explained slowly, and had a hard time finishing. “When we brought Jesus to the Temple after my cleansing, to make our offering for our firstborn son, a man met us there, and… Well, it was clear to him that Jesus was the Messiah, the promised Anointed of Yahweh who was to come. Joseph and I had trouble taking all of this in, but I never forgot that day. But that same man specifically cautioned… me… His exact words were ‘A sword shall go through your own soul…’ But that word for sword, it was Rhomphia, a large two handed broad-sword… I just don’t know how… And I lost Joseph, maybe 8 years ago… So I don’t really have anyone…”

She was starting to cry, but Mariam didn’t really need to finish. I stopped her, we hugged tightly, and I cried. “Mariam, I have nowhere else to go, I love you and Messiah Jesus… I will help you both any way I can. Just let me know…” Mariam was crying by then, too. But, I meant what I said to her. And, if helping Jesus’ mother…

We cried there together for a while, and it seemed like Mariam was really clinging to me some of that time. I just hugged her tightly back. Then we both calmed down. The disciples were nowhere in sight, but Mariam was pretty sure she knew where they would be. As we walked, she pulled out the 30 pieces of silver I had given her yesterday. “Maybe you should give these to Judas. He takes care of our money anyway, and this is pretty heavy for me to have to carry.” I smiled right away, and put it back in my bag, a simple but colorful thing that had a strap over my shoulder.

When we arrived at the Temple, Mariam pointed Judas out to me, and so I took the silver out, and carried it to him. He smiled right away, then I said quietly “I am giving this towards Messiah Jesus’ ministry and needs.”

Looking at the silver, Judas said loudly “Bless you sister” and quickly put it in his bag. Well, then he turned away from me and walked off like it never happened… Still, that task done, I went back to Mariam, and stood next to her. She put her arm in mine, and we just waited. Jesus was soon teaching the crowds again. And I think, the longer he stayed in one place, the more people came. I mentioned that to Mariam, and she agreed. But she also warned that Jesus had to keep a pretty good eye on the Temple authorities, she called them. Jesus would lead us all away, from the Temple, from Jerusalem, sometimes even away from Judea, if they grew hostile, was the word she used. For them to fail to see who this Jesus was… That appalled me…

That day, Jesus was again teaching the people in the Temple. And, honestly, Jesus talked about a lot of things, and I listened attentively. Mariam and I soon found a quiet spot off to the side, but in the shade. We sat down together, and listened to Jesus teach. Mariam left briefly, brought us back a little bread and water, but otherwise she stayed right next to me. Jesus talked some about faith, I realized that much. I had never stopped believing in Yahweh God, and did even more, now. Through His son Messiah Jesus, Yahweh had heard my prayer and answered, rescued me. But I began to realize… Not everyone was so ready to believe in Jesus as Yahweh’s son. But that was so clear to me. Late in the afternoon, Jesus also talked about forgiveness. He explained that the Torah rightly required offerings that we needed to bring, in order to atone for our sins. But atonement wasn’t forgiveness. We needed Yahweh God’s forgiveness for those sins just as much. And only Yahweh God could give us that. And Yahweh God’s Messiah… Well, this part of Jesus’ teaching swirled deeply in my thoughts, even after he prayed with the crowd, then sent them home.

As the people left, one of the Temple leaders came up and, trying to smile, calmly asked Jesus something. Jesus bowed in reply, then followed the temple leader off, out of the Temple. Of course, Jesus’ disciples followed Jesus, and so Mariam led me after them, but some distance behind. She mentioned quietly on the way that the men were probably joining the Temple leader for a meal, and that we were probably not invited to that. I smiled and said quietly “Ok”, but my mind was absolutely elsewhere. As Mariam and I walked out of the Temple together, the pieces all slowly fell into place. Yesterday, as ‘the porne’ cast down before this teacher, Jesus said “Neither do I condemn you…” I… Jesus was… I was forgiven right then… Messiah Jesus was forgiving the porne… He forgave me! And, not only that, but since Jesus was God’s son, the Messiah, that had to mean… God forgave me too… I was a porne. I knew that what I was doing was so wrong, and wanted to change, but that was what I was… Then, Yahweh God… Through His son Jesus… Yahweh God forgave me for all… of… that… As we walked through the streets of the city to the Temple leaders big house, it was all I could do to keep from crying loudly, as these… The demons were gone… I was forgiven… I… that was all just so amazing to me…

The men filed slowly into the door of a big room to our left. Mariam led me to a spot near the door, and said we should wait here. There was a low bench, and that was where we sat. One of the Temple leader’s servant ladies brought us some food and water, and we thanked her. But, honestly… Every passing second, I wanted to cry more… I felt less and less able to control… I looked over at Mariam, and said quietly “please stay here…”

I got up, and walked slowly into that same door, into that same room… The arrangement was appalling… Jesus and his 12 disciples on one side, The Temple leader and eleven or so other Temple leaders along the other side. Well, it looked like a confrontation to me. And I also need to mention that large meals like this; the men laid on their sides facing the low table where the food was. It was just convenient that way, I don’t know… And, of course, I recogniced a few of the leaders (they blushed); well they all instantly recognized me, maybe the red cloak… Well, disgust quickly washed across their faces… All these impressions surfaced very quickly, then just as quickly fled… I was quickly crying buckets… I… Messiah had done so much for me… He… Yahweh God had given me so much… Crying hard was all I could do…

One of the things in my colorful bag… It was an alabastron, a stone jar full of perfume. As a porne, I used these frequently. I had only kept two unopened ones because I could quickly and easily sell each for quite a bit should I need that… But, as I cried… I realized… This was for my Messiah… The only gift I had left to give, it seemed… Pulling out that alabastron, I slowly knelt down behind Jesus, behind his feet, and opened that alabastron…

And, I need to explain this, too. I knew how to touch men, in order to get, and sometimes speed up the response I was after, so I could get paid. But still, there was one part of any man I would never touch… his feet… All my visitors knew they had to wash their own feet, by themselves, when the came in my visitor door. Their feet, well, I absolutely had no clue where they had been, where they had walked, where their feet had been. I never touched them there, and had no… My porne mom taught me that.

But I would never touch my Messiah anywhere like that, like a porne… I cried buckets… on his feet… My tears flowed… down my face onto his feet, onto the floor… I tried to use my hair to clean them up… But I absolutely could not stop crying loudly… The devotion, the adoration I felt for Yahweh God and His son Messiah Jesus… I was… The porne was… forgiven… The porne demons were gone… I was simply overwelmed… I cried for a while, sopped up what I could with my hair, then carefully anointed Jesus’ feet from that alabastron. I wanted to dump that stuff on, but a bunch ended up on the wood floor as it was. Then I kissed his feet… Like I said, I felt overwhelmed by a love from Yahweh God… that He would forgive a porne…

I only vaguely sensed what was happening around me, except that I saw Mariam through the doorway in the evening sun, standing some distance off, crying with me. I think she understood. But I also heard Jesus start to talk. I wondered at first if he would scold me for ruining his evening… But he was addressing the Temple leader who invited him… I guess Jesus read his mind; that Temple leader was right about what he thought about me — up until a few days ago… Well, Jesus told a parable, right there. Mariam told, explained it to me later, and that made me cry on her shoulder then. But I heard Jesus say this much to that Temple leader… “…her many sins have been forgiven…” That just made me cry more. That was exactly why I was crying… I knew I had already been forgiven, the porne knew she had already been forgiven… I couldn’t stop crying… But I also heard some clearly noticeable gasps from some of the other Temple leaders as Jesus said that… A little later, Jesus was clearly addressing me this time. “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Well, I guess that was my signal. Still crying hard, I worked on getting up off the floor, then I picked the half empty alabastron up. Trying to just sniffle, I walked slowly around behind the disciples, then out the door. Once outside, I found that same servant lady nearby, who had brought us some bread, and I gently held out the rest of that alabastron to her with both hands. She wouldn’t take it until our eyes met. I think she understood, took it, gave me a slight bow, then walked off to her duties. Then I walked over to Mariam, and we tried to cry just softly together for a while. I think Mariam knew what I was feeling…

Being forgiven… That was such a new feeling for me…

— ACR, c2017

 

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