Chapter Six

This entry is part 7 of 22 in the series Free Book

CHAPTER SIX
The Beginning of Knowledge


After taking a few minutes to explain why I was late getting home, I told Elizabeth the details of my conversations with John.

“I don’t know,” she said. “It sounds pretty hard to believe. I think sometimes you are a little too eager to believe some of the weird stuff you get into. I mean, look at it from my point of view. One moment this man is just a bell ringer for the Salvation Army and the next minute he has you believing he’s the Apostle John from the time of Christ. You told me not to tell anyone about this. You don’t have to worry about that. I’m afraid if I did that they would put you away. Then I’d have nobody to take care of me during my last few months on this earth.”

“I know it sounds crazy,” I said, shaking my head, “and there is no way he could have convinced me in so short of time, but when he put his hand next to mine and looked at me, it was like he and I were one person. For an instant, I saw his thoughts, his purity and his memories from the days of Jesus. There was something so real about it that it is impossible to describe. After the thought transfer, I am more positive that he is the Apostle John than I am sure of being here in this house at this moment. It sounds crazy, but you’ve got to trust me on this.”

“I trust you more than anyone I know, but you sometimes make mistakes, and your judgment is not always perfect. I trust your sincerity one hundred per cent, but you are not infallible.”

“But you know I’ve never lied to you. I’m telling you John put his thoughts and some of his memories in my mind as clear as day.”

“But I wasn’t there. Maybe he’s some master hypnotist of some kind, with perhaps an evil design.”

“I can’t blame you for doubting. I probably would, too, if you came home telling me a story like this.”

“I’m not saying that your story about John is not true. I’m just not convinced. I’ll tell you what would convince me, though.”

“What’s that?”

“Do you remember reading in the New Testament that Jesus gave his disciples the same power to do miracles that he did? If I remember right, they did some of the same amazing healings that Jesus did.”

“You’re right. I even have some of John’s memories planted in me of some great miracles not even in the Bible. I have the recollection of John walking on water, and another time of his putting out a great fire by his word and saving many lives… Then, again, he brought back a friend from the dead even as Jesus did with Lazarus.”

Elizabeth’s eyes brightened. “So, he should have no problem healing me, then, should he?”

“I know he could. He spoke about the correct use of power, though, as if I did not understand it. Maybe healing you is something he is not allowed to do for some reason. During World War II, he was strung up with piano wire and unable to save himself.”

“But on other occasions he was able to use the power of God to help.”

“Yes. That’s true. I just don’t want to get our hopes up here, but you’re right. We may just have the greatest miracle man walking the earth right here in our midst. He may not only hold the keys of knowledge, but he may hold the keys to you being whole again.”

“There’s only one way to find out. You’ve got to ask him. If he heals me, then I’ll know for sure that he is the apostle.”

“Well, I don’t think I’d be struck down for asking. It’s worth a try, but he told me to come back in a week to continue the lesson.”

“Did he tell you that you couldn’t talk to him for a week?”

“No.”

“Since the man drank coffee at Denny’s, he probably also eats. Why don’t you go see him tomorrow and invite him over for dinner? We could ask him then.”

“It’s worth a try,” I said.

That night I was lucky if I got two hours sleep. I had never felt such restless anticipation.

The next morning I took a little shopping trip. Sure enough, there he was, ringing his bell near the entrance of Albertsons. As I approached our eyes met. He smiled a brief, fatherly smile at me.

“I had to come to the store to get a couple of things,” I said. It wasn’t really a lie. There were a couple of things I needed.

John’s countenance became more serious. “I suppose you have to do all the shopping since your wife is unable to.”

“How did you know about my wife?”

“Not only did I give you some of my memories, but I caught a glimpse of some of yours. You love your wife very much, don’t you?”

“Yes. Very much.”

“I was in your situation almost two thousand years ago. My wife became deathly ill and I had to watch her waste away. There was nothing I could do. It still bothers me, even after all this time.”

“You mean you performed all those miracles and you couldn’t heal your own wife?” I felt a sinking feeling that he may not be able to help Elizabeth.

“Yes. Through me, God healed hundreds of people I didn’t even know, but the woman I loved was beyond my power.”

“It almost sounds like God is cruel,” I said bitterly.

“Not really,” John said with understanding and empathy. “There is always love if we see the big picture. All pain and all illness exists to either guide or teach us. If we do not learn the lesson from the disease, then the disease will either continue or change form until we die. Even though my wife was a great lady, she was also stubborn. She was unable to accept the change necessary to be healed. In some ways, I think I suffered more than she did.”

“I know the feeling,” I said softly.

“Many of the people that Jesus and the disciples healed got their illnesses back because they did not make the necessary corrections in their lives. Some of these people turned into our enemies and sought our lives. Others were permanently healed and were faithful to the end.”

John paused and looked at me with great earnestness: “You’ve come to ask me to heal your wife, haven’t you?”

I was amazed by his perception, but then replied, “Yes. Is it possible? She is supposed to be incurable.”

“Remember what the Master said. All things are possible.”

“Will you do it then?”

“I will let you know what I can do after I meet her. I sense she wants to meet me, to know if I am for real.”

“She asked me to invite you over for dinner. How about tonight?”

“Can you pick me up here about six?”

“I’ll be here.”

John was waiting for me at six. After getting in the car, I said, “You know I have a million questions for you.”

“That is a good sign,” he said. “The asking of questions is the beginning of knowledge. You’d be surprised how many people would have no questions even if God himself were to appear before them.”

“You’re kidding! If a source of knowledge like you is available, then you would think the average guy would be spilling over, asking all kinds of things.”

“Many people are afraid of the truth, even among those who claim to be seekers and teachers. When you come face-to-face with undeniable truth, you must either conform to it or live your life as a hypocrite. Because people resist change they resist truth. That is why few people have more than two or three questions they would ask, even if they knew for sure they could get correct answers.”

“I must not be average. I must have hundreds of questions!”

“That’s the way it is. You are either afraid of truth and do not want to know more than your comfort zone will allow, or you are open to truth and change and your range of inquiry is infinite.”

“Since it is good that I have questions, will you answer them?”

“You can ask anything you want. I will either answer your questions or I will not. It is that simple. Some things you are meant to discover on your own. Others are hidden from you for a purpose. Certain other mysteries you are meant to discover at a certain time and in a certain place.”

“Let’s start with this. You do eat, don’t you, since you’re coming to dinner?”

“Yes,” John laughed. “I live each rejuvenated life as an ordinary mortal. I am as dependent on food as you are.”

“Are you a vegetarian or do you live on a special diet?”

“In ideal circumstances I would be a vegetarian, but right now I try to eat a common sense diet. I do what is necessary to keep my vehicle strong and vital.”

“Your vehicle?”

“Yes. I was referring to my body.”

“Ahhh.  Well, since the Bible says you were a fisherman, I thought we would serve you salmon. Does that sound OK?”

“Salmon is good,” he smiled.

As we walked in the house Elizabeth was waiting in her wheelchair in the dining room. “So this must be the mystery man.” She had a friendly, yet skeptical look in her eye.

John met her hand with a shake and said: “And you are Elizabeth — a woman of grace, strength and beauty. Do I look familiar to you?”

Elizabeth looked puzzled: “I’m not sure. Why?”

“As we talk, it will seem to you that you know me.” He looked toward the kitchen. “Is there anything I can do to help with the meal?”

“Can you make a salad?” I asked.

“My specialty,” he said proudly.

“Good. I’ll put you to work while I sizzle the salmon steaks.”

Copyright 1997 by J J Dewey

Chapter Seven

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