All eyes were fix upon him as he taught. Who in the room remembered the text—it would soon become insignificant and unmemorable anyways. Not because it wasn’t good mind you, it was delivered with the same incredible foresight and knowledge everyone had become accustom to from this carpenter’s son. It was the circumstance surrounding the message that blocked memories.
As he was teaching in customary fashion, glancing around the room, connecting with every eye fixated upon him, the incident started. Divided between ranks of self-important valuable people and humble folk of every background imaginable, he gazed compassionately. The more “noble” occupied the prestigious places closest to the front. And between their shoulders, necks straining to catch a glimpse of his eyes, were the commoners. These sat on the edge of their modest seats clinging to hope from his every word. During another perusal through the room, making eye contact and reaching deep into each soul that allowed him entrance, he noticed in the back a hunched figure. The poor peasant made every attempt to gaze at level ground upon him, but her physical frame would not allow it.
He saw her—barely, and asked the dignified, gracious, bent over woman to come up front with him. You would think hushed whispers would invade the small room, but that never transpired. Silence, silence was all that could be heard—holy, healthy, undistinguishable silence. She, the dear lady, standing not much taller than when seated, inched her way to the center where he stood. All eyes in the suspense charged environment were fix upon the teacher, no one recalled the previous lessons, and everyone sat in soundless anticipation of what he would do. There is not one important word from God, that he had just concluded, recorded anywhere. Everything—children, sniffling, coughing, whispers, shuffling, creaking, everything had come to a standstill. All eyes watched his eyes watching her fragile frame advance its way closer to the front. With every step she took, every breath in the synagogue exhaled louder. That was the only sound—people breathing louder.
His voice, like a crack of thunder in the night, broke the silence. Its not that he was loud or overbearing, it was just the quietness of the room made volume was so obvious. He really didn’t even shout when he announced with confidence, “Woman, you are freed from your sickness.” It was more of a soft command, as a father would speak gently guiding his child to action. He took those averaged-sized carpenter hands, and reaching out gingerly, placed them palms down upon the woman’s back and the miraculous happened. This dear woman, this gracious angel, this exhausted human soul slowly rose in height to view in full frame, the face of her savior. “Glory to God” rang out of this maiden’s voice. Loudly, clearly, assuredly, victoriously, triumphantly, as if released from years of collapse, her lungs could once again fully fill up and she sang out—Glory to God!
J. Robert Hanson