MYSTERY WOMAN CCF – CONCLUSION – FRINGE BENEFITS

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Okay, Mack, now that you have your coffee, I think we’re ready to begin.

As we discussed yesterday, it seems almost certain that our Mystery Woman would  have heard whispered stories about “Yosef and Miriam’s son” for most of her life. But it is likely that it wasn’t until he began his ministry, and rumors of miracle healings and even the dead being raised started circulating, that she began to take true interest. At first, it was all about her. After all, she had a dire need, and dire needs often make us more apt to be interested in a Savior. In fact, Mack, during my investigation, I noted that  many of those who experienced miracles had one particular thing in common.  They were all desperate and out of options.

 Presumably , Rabbi Yeshua could have healed them at any time, whether or not the person needing healing was in his presence.  In fact, two of Yeshua’s  disciples, Matthew and Luke, record just such an instance. A centurion came to Rabbi Yeshua asking Him to heal his servant who was not present.  He indicated that he believed Yeshua could simply say the word and the servant would be  healed. Yeshua commented on the great faith of this centurion.  It is interesting to note that it was the centurion’s faith which resulted in the healing of his servant. I guess that could be comparable to intercessory prayer. In any case, it does appear that an important component of the miracle was that the person needing the miracle was no longer seeking rescue from any other source.

Mack, I think it is important that we document our recent discussion regarding this.  I told you that I was struggling with the notion that our mystery woman could have been spared her twelve years of pain and grief, and yet He allowed her to suffer. During our discussion, you asked me a question which  kept me awake but did eventually lead me to a better understanding. Do you remember what you asked?

“I believe I asked if faith could possibly be genuine faith (conviction of truth) as long as a back-up plan remains active.”  “That was it” I replied.  “And your question harassed me for a couple of nights. I turned it over and over in my mind until the light finally flickered on.  The answer is no.  No, faith is not genuine faith if you are still holding onto a backup plan.  Either you truly believe or you don’t believe at all. Faith doesn’t allow for a plan B.  Now, that’s not to say that we always know the will of God.  However, once we have come to  the point of conviction of truth, all other plans are deleted. A backup plan actually is evidence that no authentic faith exists. Abraham, Noah, Moses, Daniel, and the others in the Hall of Faith, did not have back-up plans.  Their faith was so complete that there was no question to be entertained. No wavering back and forth or trying to figure out what to do. Their faith had made their decisions and they waited  for as long as it took. even if that was for HUNDREDS of years – and sometimes it was!

This investigation has given me a lot to think about personally. It certainly would have been to the advantage of our mystery woman (and in fact for ALL of those we encountered during our investigation) to give up their  own solutions sooner rather than later.  And now, shall we get started?

“Okay, M.J., we’re finally here!   We are ready to conclude this investigation.  When Minus assigned this cold case to us a few months ago, we would never have dreamt that there would still be this much information to be discovered after so many years.  I think we both believed the case would be open and shut in a matter of days. But that has not been the case.  With the help of those who have gone before us, I believe we have indeed been able to add value to the file. I know I personally will never look at the mystery woman in the same way. Nor will I understand my personal relationship with the Messiah in quite the same way. All that is left is to conclude and file our last report. Are you ready?  Minus has already been in here this morning asking when he can expect it on his desk. I told him it was our intention to finish well and finish today. So, let’s begin our final day. Tell me what you’ve got.”

“Okay, Mack. First of all, before I present what I believe would be a plausible scenario, let’s again set the scene. Some of this will be a review for the file “

“As we have discussed It seems probable to us that our Mystery Woman would have heard rumors about “Yosef and Miriam’s son” for most of her life.  After all, claims of a virgin birth, angels visiting shepherds to announce this birth, wise men arriving from the East approximately two years later being led by a star, all would have been such outlandish tales that they surely would have garnered attention. It is not difficult to imagine that some saw these things as miraculous while others most likely dismissed or even mocked these claims. Still, our mystery woman probably was at least familiar with some of them.  Once the rabbi’s ministry began, when he was approximately 30 years old, we see a huge uptick in new rumors regarding him. This would certainly have led to the resurrection of the old stories. As miracles followed him throughout the region, his notoriety grew, and speculation must have run rampant. In fact, this point at least can be proven.  The file contains multiple witness reports documenting that his fame was rapidly spreading and large crowds (greater than 5000 people strong at times) were known to be congregating to hear and see him.

It is interesting and important to our investigation to note two things – 1) Even though the mystery woman had most likely been hearing about the miracles that followed him for at least weeks, if not months or years, until this particular day, she continued to seek rescue elsewhere.   2)  Presumably, if he indeed was omniscient and omnipotent, he could have spared her twelve years of suffering and healed her before she sought him out, and yet He did not.  Why would these two things be so? We will discuss this later as we summarize our report.

It appears that it wasn’t until widespread rumors of miracles of healing, raising the dead, and feeding the hungry began circulating, that she began to take true interest. At first, it was most likely all about her. After all, she had a dire need, and dire needs often make us more apt to be interested in a Savior. She had done everything she could do and was out of options. Therefore, it is not difficult to imagine that her initial interest was completely self-serving. She would have flocked to ANYONE who might offer hope of healing. But somewhere along the line, she had experienced a change of heart. She was ready to receive what had been waiting there all along. Perhaps she ceased grasping for physical healing, and instead became focused on accepting spiritual healing –  His grace, the divine influence upon her heart. Responding to this divine influence, as she heard and evaluated the rumors, she left the Grace station and began traveling along spiritual train tracks headed towards the station of Faith.

And now, the foundation has been reviewed and we are ready to set the scene that I envision.”

To get the most out of this exercise, we will need to return to the scene. As you will recall, we previously concluded that she very likely would have been at the well daily and at the marketplace every couple of days, where she would have been exposed to whatever chatter was taking place.  In the days or weeks leading up to the incident, surely excitement was building in the region as more and more reports surfaced. As this rabbi and his entourage drew closer to their village, the population of the region would have ballooned.  People came from every direction, traveling through the desert heat from one well and one community to the next, hoping to see this miracle-performing rabbi from Nazareth.  It is probable that as she made her way to the market every few days, she heard ever-increasing snippets of conversations.

Look with me out over the marketplace, now swollen with groups of men all along the dusty road. Do you see her lingering just past that group of men, pretending to search through her money pouch, giving her the opportunity to “overhear” their animated conversation?  Do you see her sitting under the lone tree, pretending to rest, her ears turned towards another group deep in discussion?  Do you note that she lingers at the vendor tables far longer than usual? 

Surely, she must have encountered both those who were excited to see the rabbi and those who scoffed.  Let’s listen in. “Isn’t this just Yosef and Miriam’s son?”  “Don’t you remember the wild stories circulated at his birth?”  “Certainly, someone has an agenda!”  “Messiah, shemiah”  “Swinewash!”  “But he did raise that dead man, and the ruler’s daughter!”  “And there are many here who claim to have been part of that crowd 5000 strong who ate the bread he produced out of nothing!” “It does seem as though almost all who encounter him experience a miracle!”  “But the NERVE of him!  The things he is saying in synagogues!”  “A messiah – from Nazareth?  Never!”

As we observe her “listening in” on countless conversations, we notice that she is becoming more and more agitated. Or is it excitement? She seems to be experiencing a struggle of mind and spirit. While she desperately wants to believe that he could and would heal her, this inexplicably is not the question foremost in her mind!  Instead of “Can He heal me, the question has become – ‘Might he actually be the long-awaited, anxiously-anticipated Messiah of Israel?’

Her heart beats wildly in her chest as she considers the possibility as well as the ramifications. Do you see her remove herself from the fray and go to the well?  She is pacing there, mumbling under her breath.

What had she learned by listening to her father over the years about the Messiah?  What had she heard the righteous men discussing as she purposely passed slowly through the city gates on many occasions?

Bethlehem (Beit Lechem – House of Bread) rang a bell. Oh, yes, the Messiah was prophesied to be born in Bethlehem.  And, as a matter of fact, although he might have been RAISED in Nazareth, Rabbi Yeshua was BORN in Beit Lechem!

And it was said he would be born of a virgin.  Ahhh, that was ANOTHER of the rumors that had circulated after Rabbi Yeshua’s birth. It was claimed that Miriam had never known a man and found herself pregnant.  Everyone had thought it ridiculous at the time. But now, with the recent developments, might it be true?

The Messiah would cause the blind to see, the lame to walk, the dead would be raised. That was straight from the prophets!  Hadn’t she just heard a group of men talking about rabbi Yeshua, as they addressed that very prophesy?

Luk 7:18  The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, 19  calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 20  And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” 21  In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. 22  And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23  And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” 

He was surely referring to the prophet Isaiah! He was answering John’s question. He was identifying Himself as the Messiah prophesied of by Isaiah!

Isa 29:18  In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. 19  The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. 

And reports were widely circulated and confirmed by many that Rabbi Yeshua was doing these things!

What else did she know about the prophesied messiah?  She paced under a tree next to the square as she tried to digest all she had heard as well as that which was vying for space in her heart and soul!  Was He?  Was it possible? As she paced, she recited under her breath all the things she had heard.   Born in Beit Lechem.  Of the House of David. Born of a virgin.  Miraculous healings followed Him.  He had even been reported to on more than one occasion raise the dead! The blind DID see. The lame DID walk.  

And then, as she wavered between possibility and truth, I believe it happened.  She had acknowledged His divine influence upon her heart and had reached the next station on her journey – the station of Faith. She was convinced and convicted of Truth. She believed! All the evidence agreed!  He WAS THE MESSIAH!

And now that she had come to the conclusion that Rabbi Yeshua was the Messiah, something else nagged at her. There was another prophesy she had heard talked about over the years and it had something to do with the Messiah and healing.  Was it from the old prophet Malachi?  She was so excited to have identified Messiah in her heart that it was difficult to remain focused. Just to think, soon she would see the Messiah in person! 

Malachi. Malachi. Malachi whose name means “my messenger.”   What did Malachi have to say about the Messiah? Oh, yes. Now she remembered!

Mal 4:2  But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and you shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.  (calves that have their every need provided).

“And right there, Mack. Right then and there is when it clicked, and she decided what she must do!” I believe that, based upon her actions, there was no doubt that she had been thinking about the words of Malachi!

“Alrighty then, M.J. You have officially stumped me.  What on earth are you talking about?  Yes, I do see that by the time directly preceding his arrival in her area, she would have heard the reports of the miracles following him. And, because of this alone, she would have been drawn to him. After all, she needed a miracle.  And I would even concede that there could be the slightest POSSIBILITY that she had recognized that He was the Messiah. But I don’t think you have come near to proving that. It is obvious that she would have heard the reports, and yes, she most likely heard some discussion of this Messiah theory. And I can also concede that it is reasonable to conclude that she may have known enough about prophecies in the Tanakh (Old Testament) to see a connection, if indeed there was one. But what brings you to the assumption that this prophecy by Malachi influenced her at all? I think you still have some convincing to do! And, I definitely do NOT recall seeing any reports (during this investigation or otherwise) of this rabbi or any other rabbi having wings! This, to me, is ridiculous! You have taken it too far! I am totally confounded that you see in this verse something that would cause her to do what she did! So, WHAT are you talking about and what does Malachi’s prophecy about the Messiah having wings have to do with this case! In fact, if anything, you would think that this prophecy would DISqualify him as Messiah. Again, I have thus far seen ZERO descriptions of Yeshua with wings!”

“Oh, no, Mack.  You are wrong!  The evidence on this one is abundant! He certainly DID have wings and she without doubt knew it! It is actually what demonstrates that she DID believe him to be the Messiah! And I believe I can prove it! Take a look at this. Be patient for a few minutes more.  You won’t be sorry.

First, we can agree that this passage from Malachi is a Messianic passage, right?  I mean, if you read the entire passage in context, it becomes obvious.  So, let’s start with that as a foundation.

Now I can’t wait to show you the passage with the Strong’s numbers.”

Mal 4:2  But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings;H3671 and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

“You’ll notice that I have highlighted the Strong’s number associated with the word translated into English as “wings.”  We’ll come back to that. First let’s find the same word in another verse. Remember, to locate the same original language word, we will need to search for the Strong’s number associated with it, as it might have been translated into English as a different English word.  In this case, we will search for H3671.  And when we do, the following verse is located.”

Num 15:38  Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders H3671 of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders H3671 a ribband of blue: 

“Do you see that? This time, instead of being translated as “wings”, the same Hebrew word has been translated as “borders.”  Let’s see what the definition of H3671 actually is!”

H3671        כָּנָף       kânâph       kaw-nawf’

From H3670; an edge or extremity; specifically (of a bird or army) a wing, (of a garment or bed clothing) a flap, (of the earth) a quarter, (of a building) a pinnacle: –  + bird, border, corner, end, feather [-ed], X flying, + (one an-) other, overspreading, X quarters, skirt, X sort, uttermost part, wing ([-ed]).  Total KJV occurrences: 109

“Now, do you see Mack?   Do you see?   He DID have wings!  And if, as in the scenario I am proposing, she now identified Him as the Messiah (the Sun of Righteousness spoken of by Malachi), she KNEW that He would have healing in his “wings!” She had already experienced His grace (divine influence upon her heart) and that divine influence was reflected in her life as she wrestled with the notion of Who He was. This divine influence then leads her to the station of Faith (conviction of truth), and her Faith was completed by action as a natural response. Her natural response action – grabbing hold of the fringe attached to his wings. Grasping His wings was proof that she knew Malachi’s prophecy and recognized Him as Messiah. There would have been no other reason to do so.  Since He was Messiah, healing would be in His wings!

And THAT’S what started the miracle, Mack!  Grabbing hold of the fringe attached to His wings amounted to her confession of her belief! It completed some kind of a spiritual circuit and released power that immediately stopped the flow of blood and saved her life!”

“Wow, M.J… I have to say I am impressed!  Amazing work!  And I am quite sure you didn’t stop there because, now that we know the significance of the wings, there is another obvious question in my mind.”

“Why the fringe? Is that it?”  Without waiting for a response, I continued.  “When you see pictures of orthodox men, what do you notice?” I pulled a photo from my briefcase and pushed it across the desk to Mack.

 

“Orthodox men, even today, always wear four-cornered garments with fringes (or I think I have heard them called tzit tzit or something like that) attached to each corner or, I guess, “wing” of their garment.” Most of the time this garment is worn under their shirts.  Their prayer shawls also have fringes on the four corners. 

“But do we know why?”

“Yes, indeed!”  As noted, and as documented in the Scripture cited above, the people were to place “fringes” on the wings of their garments. One of these fringes is what the documentation shows our mystery woman grabbed hold of. 

Let’s look at that Scripture again but we will now include the previous verse as well as a couple of subsequent verses to get the whole context.”

Num 15:37  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 38  Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: 39  And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that you may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that you seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you use to go a whoring: 40  That you may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.

This is only one of several verses that connect these fringes with remembering and, in fact, doing the commandments. So, it appears to me, that first of all, grabbing hold of the wing of his garment was testimony to the fact that she believed He was the Messiah. Otherwise, she would have had no reason to expect that doing so would have any effect. Secondly, symbolically, she was presenting a picture of grabbing hold of the commandments of the Messiah! She was demonstrating both! She reached for the corner of His garment demonstrating her understanding that He was the Messiah. She took hold of the tzit tzit demonstrating that she understood that it is through His commandments that the circuit is completed and healing, life-restoring, power is released! One without the other would not have been effective.  No miracle would have ensued if she merely saw Him as Messiah but disregarded His commandments.  After all, if she REALLY believed Him to be the Messiah, would there be any question about following His instructions? Wouldn’t this be the natural outcome – the reflection in the life, of having conviction of the truth of His identity?  And yet, following His commandments without recognizing Him as Messiah, ALSO would have had no result.”

Luk 6:46  “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 

Joh 5:46  For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47  But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

And, lastly, this next verse is a prophecy yet to be fulfilled and talks about the Bride of the Messiah.

Rev 12:17  Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea. 

Whoa, M.J.!  I’m stunned! This is quite impressive!  I would have to say that, although your suggested scenario of how it may have happened, cannot be proven, the “bones” of your theory resonate as truth and perhaps COULD be proven!  At least, I believe you have proven the connection between the wings and healing of the Messiah.  And I believe you have also presented proof for the connection between the fringe (which would have been on the wings) and following the commandments!  You have also provided at least circumstantial evidence that she likely would have known much of what He had been doing in the region. And you have demonstrated that He often said things that amounted to a claim of Messiahship!

“And just one more thing to top it off, Mack. Are you aware that others were subsequently healed by taking hold of the fringes of His garment?  Take a look at these witness statements from witnesses Matthew and Mark!”

Mat 14:36  and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. 

Mar 6:56  And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. 

“Wow!  I don’t remember ever having seen that!  I must say, M.J., that was EXCELLENT investigative work!  The only other question I believe we promised Minus to include in our report had to do with the number twelve. Did you discover anything about the number twelve?”

“Yes, I did.  The number twelve has historically been associated in Scripture with governmentTwelve tribes of Israel, twelve apostles, twelve disciples, twelve entrances into the New Jerusalem, etc.  So, looking at it that way, perhaps the information given in this case study regarding the twelve years she had been having this issue, might hint at the fact that she had up until this point been under the wrong “rule.” And I believe this has been proven as well.  After all, Holy Writ insists that we should –

Mat 6:33  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 

“I don’t know about you, Mack, but this is another verse that I believe I had grossly misunderstood for years.  I always thought seeking the Kingdom of God was about winning souls for the Lord. But is it?  A kingdom is a place where He is King, and we are not!  It is the place where He owns everything, and we do not. It is the place that we are subjects and He is Master. After doing my own extensive investigation of this verse (in another case called The Bondservant), I have come to the conclusion that we are each to first be about turning all that we “own,” “do,” and indeed “are” to His control.  Once we do that, HE is responsible to care for His subjects and we have but to obey.

Up until now, we know that she had NOT made this transition from self-appointed master of her own destiny to bondservant of the Messiah, because witness statements document that she was attempting to accomplish her own healing through many physicians.  As long as she had not come under His kingship and turned over ownership of even her health and resources, He had to allow her the free will to do so.   It was only when she saw these other “saviors” (doctors) for what they were, powerless to help her, that she was able to seek the True Physician. She was no longer “Master of her own fate” but had become His subject, His bondservant, willing to accept whatever fate He determined for her. It was only after she had given up all control, and truly accepted Him as Master, that He was able to do that which He had always wanted to do – restore life.  It was only then that she could kneel before Him in repentance, reach through the crowd to grab hold of the corner of her Messiah’s garment and be made whole!

Made whole. Oh, that reminds me. The last thing He said to her.

Luk 8:48  And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: your faith has made you whole; go in peace. 

As we conclude this last report, let’s break that down.

Daughter, your conviction of truth completed by action has delivered, protected, saved you. Go in shalom.

Shalom is a common Hebrew word even today.  It is used for both hello and goodbye and is often translated into English as the word “peace.”  And yet, it means more than that.  Shalom does not merely mean lack of chaos or friction. Shalom, in its purest form, means completeness. Rabbi Yeshua’s parting words with our mystery woman encouraged her that she had not only been saved, delivered, and protected, and healed, but that when His grace connected to her faith, she had also been made whole through her connection with Him.

Mack, I believe that completes this file.  I believe we have moved this cold case file forward in several ways. We have determined that:

The mystery woman remains unnamed in order for each of us to see our own reflection within her struggles and triumphs.

Blood is central to this account in order to highlight its importance not only physically but spiritually. And we ALL have a blood issue that can only be healed by His touch.

Faith is not a feeling or emotion but a deep conviction of truth which naturally includes actions that are the natural outcome of that conviction.

Grace is not ONLY unmerited favor but is the “divine influence on the heart and its reflection in the life.” Stated another way, it is God’s wooing of the human heart, calling all people to repent and turn to Him.

God sets us on a track that will lead from His grace, through conviction of truth and on to salvation, protection, healing. However, we are the switch operators and can choose to switch directions. If we choose to move from His default track, we will not reach our desired destination of salvation/protection/completeness.

Connecting to Him by reaching for his “wings” evidences our bowing to Him as Messiah.

Grabbing hold of the fringes indicates our understanding of the importance of connecting to Him through remembering and doing His commandments and its ability to release power and miracles.

And lastly, He desires us to be shalomcomplete.

Claiming he had something in his eyes, Mack cleared his throat and wiped his eyes with his shirt sleeve as Minus walked through the door applauding.  “I’ve been in the hallway for a bit.  I just didn’t want to disturb your train of thought.  You two have done an excellent job.  If you never hear it from another investigator, I want you to hear it from me. Well done! I think one of the most important aspects you have uncovered is the parallels between the mystery woman’s journey and our own!  I believe this is a cold case that will not eventually go away.  It will continue to be investigated by other cold case teams and I believe they will benefit from your work. Well done!  Now, let’s get that report filed!”

 

 

Final report filed this 12thth day of May   by Mack and M.J. — Cold Case Investigators

 

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