By Prof. Linda Tue
Levi, the son of Alphaeus, to Rabbi Matthias. Blessed be the Name of our Lord who has shown mercy to us all. Thanks be to the God of our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and may he bless you richly.
Ever since I chose to work for the government, we have lost touch for several years, though I am still much indebted to your teachings. Recently I have experienced some strange events. After much pondering, I thought it good to seek advice from you who are known for wisdom, such that I may gain some understanding regarding these strange experiences.
You might have heard that I had started following a young rabbi named Jesus from Nazareth last year. You have probably heard of him, as some might have called him strange. Actually, ever since I met Rabbi Jesus and have stayed with him for the last year, I have not found him as strange as others might have considered him. If you ask my opinion, I can only say that he is true to his word. Since I used to work as a government official and have met a lot of people, I have to admit that I have never met anyone as truthful as he is. Rabbi Jesus is special in the sense that he walks his talk. If his truth-fulness could be deemed strange, then I suppose that he would be considered strange by some folks. However, this is not why I am writing you today.
Two days ago, something really strange happened. That day, Rabbi Jesus was teaching the crowds from Brother Simon’s boat. He was speaking on the Kingdom of Heaven and he used a parable about sowing seeds. Frankly, I was a bit puzzled by what he said. Later on, I found out that I was not alone in this confusion, there-fore, we all went to him and asked for clarification privately. Then he told us, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?” He even quoted the Prophet Isaiah. I am grateful that you have taught us Isaiah before, therefore I under-stood what was said: “…so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven.” Now, here is my question: I have seen and heard a lot, but I am not sure whether I perceive or understand correctly. Then, where am I, inside or outside the Kingdom of Heaven? However, Rabbi Jesus did explain his comments, therefore, this is not exactly why I am writing you.
Something really strange happened later on that day. That evening, Rabbi Jesus wanted us to sail across the Sea of Galilee, so we followed his direction. While we were in the middle of the lake, there came a terrible storm. I used to work as an office clerk and was used to some traveling, but I got very sick when the waves started striking against the boat. Among us, some used to work profession-ally on this lake, and they were trying really hard to control the boat, but I observed that even they were getting nervous. Needless to say, I was soaked and was throwing up and was in a wretched condition. Waves kept on rising and raging under the strong wind, and the boat was filled with water and was about to sink. All the shouting ceased at this point. The air was thick with fear. A lightning struck. I glanced across the boat and saw Rabbi Jesus was sleeping soundly in the boat! Though this was strange, something even much stranger happened later on. At that moment, someone in the boat could not take it any longer and started shouting to Jesus, “Rabbi, do you not care that we perish?” Jesus awoke and calmly sat up. It was strange that while we were scared for our life, he seemed to see nothing terrible in this storm, and he only spoke to the storm, “Quiet, be still.” Then, the wind disappeared and the waves calmed down. It was really quiet at this moment. The only thing I could hear was our fast and heavy breathing. We were scared. Forgetting the motion sickness, I stared at Rabbi Jesus in the dark. Then, he calmly looked at us and asked, “Why are you afraid? Do you have no faith yet?”
I do not know whether I am describing what happened clearly, or whether you could comprehend what I was feeling at that time. This took place two days ago. In the dark, we disciples looked at one another, and we could not help but kept asking one single question, “Who is this that the wind and the water obey him?” I cannot guess what others were thinking, but my heart was filled with fear. I remembered your teachings before that only our God, the Almighty, has created this universe, and he even sits enthroned above the storm, but this Rabbi Jesus, who is he? I dare not continue this line of thinking. Is it possible at all that our Creator sat in our little boat that evening? Rabbi Jesus has performed many mighty deeds such as healing and exorcism, just like Elijah, and like our great prophets of old. However, calming a storm is something of a different category. It is also strange that all prophets have performed miracles in the name of our Lord, but this Jesus commanded the storm as if he is the master commanding his pet. I am really bewildered now. Our dear honorable Rabbi Matthias, in your opinion, who is this strange Jesus?
I hope you would excuse my rambling and confusing words, but I trust that with your great wisdom you could help me answer my one question: Who is this Jesus?
May the Almighty Lord bless you and keep you. May his peace be with you always.
(Note: This is a fictional letter developed from Mark 4:35-41.)