Love, Faith & Stewardship
Sermon In Nazareth
On the last day before Yeshua and Miriam leave for Egypt with their children, at the request of his family and the people of Nazareth, Yeshua imparts some words of wisdom to help expand and uplift all those who hear him speak.
1 On Yeshua’s last day in Nazareth, before he and Miriam began their journey to Bethany, his family and kinsfolk and the people of Nazareth, realizing that Yeshua was leaving perhaps never to return, asked him to give them some words of wisdom before he departed.
2 Even those that had always looked down upon him as strange and peculiar asked him to speak, for they knew despite their disdain that he held knowledge few men had.
3 Thus, it was that nearly all the people of Nazareth came to the little hill outside of town where Yeshua had taught his family the Contemplative Meditation Movements. And they sat upon the gentle slope and gazed upward at Yeshua standing atop the rise that all might see and hear his voice.
4 And Yeshua said unto them, “Hear the thanks of my heart to you, my family and friends, and neighbors of Nazareth. It is here among you that I have been sheltered and nurtured and learned much of life and truth. Wherever I go in the days to come, you will always be with me in my heart, and God will always look with favor upon you for the kindnesses you have given unto me and my wife and my children.
5 “I know not where to begin, therefore let one of you stand and ask of me the questions of your mind and the troubles of your heart, and from that, I will give unto you a fullness of my knowledge as God has given me the substance for which was asked.”
6 Then to the surprise of many, before a man could stand, Shavna, the widow, stood and quickly said to him, “I have been a widow for three years. My only son was crucified by the Romans the year before last and my parents are dead. I still have three children in the tiny hovel of my home and barely exist upon baskets that I make for a merchant and the little that my brother, who is here with me and himself infirmed, can give me.
7 “According to the law, I must be double veiled and cloaked to be outside, so that even now I can scarcely see you or breathe. Why is life so hard and especially why does God allow women to be treated barely above the animals? Even to speak to you as I now am shall bring condemnation upon me.”
8 Yeshua was very moved by her words and said unto all the multitude. “Hear me, O Children of Israel. This woman’s words cause anguish to my soul.”
9 And he asked for Miriam, his wife, to come and stand with him on the hill. And she alone, among all the women of Nazareth, was not cloaked or veiled.
10 And Yeshua said unto the multitude, “This is Miriam, my beloved wife, and you see the fairness of her face as fully as I do. And it is I that have asked her not to hide the beauty of the face God has given. For what God has given is not for man to take away.
11 She is not a harlot, but a most virtuous and pleasing daughter of God, a delight to Elohim in her every word and deed.
12 Verily, the wicked lusts of men are not her sin but theirs, for she does not look to them or entice them, and any who lusts upon her shall be held accountable for every impure thought on the Judgment Day.
13 And more, she sits beside me at councils and in all things do I consider her opinion, and many have been the wise words she has given unto me.
14 I say unto you that it is man that is too often the abomination unto God and women in their virtue who God favors, for it is man that makes war and man that enslaves and man that rapes and man that despoils and man that murders and man that does all manner of evil in the world.
15 But of all the sins men do, the trampling of women underfoot, even their very wives and daughters, is among the most loathsome sins unto God.
16 “If Miriam was to stand here naked before you and innocent of all offense or outward temptation, whose sin would it be? Verily, it could not be her sin for she was merely being as God had made her, but it would be the sin of every man who lusted upon her and the sin of every man or woman who judged her in her nakedness.
17 Therefore, I say unto you, ask not women to cloak and veil themselves, if it is not their desire; for the crown of their temple is their eyes and their face and their hair, which is beautiful as God has made, and to see this wonder in purity and respect is to honor the maker.
18 Ask instead to have control over the evil inside of you to not imagine perverted thoughts of the temple God has built. For I say unto you that on the Day of Judgment, man shall be weighed in the balance by every impure thought as well as act.
19 And to the men, I say again, seek not to be masters over your women, especially not to the point of servitude and degradation, but seek rather to be master of the carnal man within you who lusts after the virtuous and sins against the righteous.
20 And to the women I say, fear not to show your face, for it is a glory of God, but be modest in your dress and look not at men to entice, nor to allure them by sensual speaking, for then the fault is yours for the evil you stir in the hearts of men; and then it is both you and the man that shall be accountable on the day of judgment.
21 Let all remember as Solomon has said, ‘He that conquers himself is greater than he that takes a city.’ Therefore, I say unto you, be masters of yourselves.
22 There once was a hermit who was so afraid to sin that he left his family and built a one-room house without windows outside of the city walls so that he would not see anything that would tempt him to sin. He never came out except once each week, clothed in a robe with a deep cowl, to go to a market on the outskirts of the city to sell the trinkets he made and buy a little food.
23 And so he passed his life until the day when he was an old man, and a great storm came from the desert and knocked down his little house and blew away his possessions and left him standing in the brightness of the Sun with only the clothes on his back.
24 The man was forced to go into the city to seek food and shelter, and he passed much devastation, for many had been afflicted by the storm.
25 Then came a well-dressed man through the streets with many people following him. And spying the hermit, he asked him to come with him and told him that he would give him shelter and food. So the hermit went with the man.
26 As they passed through the streets, the well-dressed man called others who had misfortune to him, promising shelter and food. And many people followed the man as he climbed a hill at the center of the city, until at last they came upon a large white house at the top where lived their benefactor, the richest merchant in all the city.
27 He brought the people into his home and gave of them everything he had: all of his food, all of his fine clothes, and the space anywhere in his house they desired to walk or to make a bed. And despite his fears, the hermit found he had no coveting thoughts, but only gratitude.
28 And the hermit found that though he was looking at the men and women, some with their garments in great disarray, that despite his fears, he was finding no wicked or lustful thoughts toward them, but only sympathy for sharing the same misfortune as he.
29 Then the hermit walked onto a balcony, overlooking the azure blue sea, a sight he had not looked upon since his youth, and despite his fears, he had no thoughts to irresponsibly sail away with the first ship, but instead was content to remain where he was and instead gave thought to how that which had been destroyed might be rebuilt.
30 As he viewed the city below him and all of the grand buildings of stone which he had never seen, he wondered what they could be. And despite his fears of the past, he did not feel compelled to do evil simply because he knew there would be evil somewhere in the city below.
31 The following day, with a belly full of good food and a fine new robe from his benefactor, the hermit walked down into the city to explore all he had never seen. Throughout the day, he was like unto a little child, overjoyed with each new surprise, but innocent in his wonder, and never once tempted to sin though there were temptations at every turn.
32 As the night began to fall, he returned to the house of the rich man where a great meal had been prepared for all of the guests. Even though everyone had just experienced devastation from the storm, all was forgotten in the comforts and good company of the rich man’s house.
33 The following day, the rich man came to all of his guests and asked them where they had lived and what type of house they had lived in. He told them he was going to rebuild their houses, every one, even if he needed to sell his grand house to afford his gift to those in need, for as God had blessed him, he had covenanted to bless others.
34 When he came to ask the hermit what type of house he had lived in so that he might plan for rebuilding it, the hermit was ashamed to tell him and therefore just told him it was a small house on the outside of the city, but did not tell him it had been built without windows.
35 That night as he lay in a comfortable place, he was not comfortable inside his skin and could not sleep, for he was tormented by the realization that he had seen so many men and so many women and so many wonders of the city and never once had he sinned or been tempted to sin.
36 He thought of the rich man who was giving all that he had to help those in need and realized that in his life, he had only thought to help himself, and even in that, he had only given himself to emptiness. And he wept in the memory of all the years of his life he had lost and the relationships he had spurned and, unlike the rich man, all the good he had never done for his family and fellow man.
37 All of his isolation would have been worth it, he reasoned, if it had been the only way to keep him from sin, as he had supposed. But in now seeing everything he had seen and not having been tempted to sin, he came to understand that his sins of youth were not because of other people or the simple life of the city, but because of his own weaknesses of the flesh and spirit.
38 Now he understood that his weaknesses could be overcome by changing his thought, for as his thoughts became pure and full of kindness and charity, so too did his actions. And what was weak had become strong.
39 Upon the morning, he went to the rich man and told him he had once been a builder and asked if he could now be a servant in his house that he might help him in helping others, as he was wont to do.
40 The rich man was overjoyed that he had a heart to give aid to his fellow man, but would not have him be a servant. Instead, he asked that the hermit would help his neighbors in their time of need and, in that service, would be serving him.
41 And so the hermit labored to help many people rebuild their homes. Then one day, his friends covered his eyes and brought him to the plot of ground where his house had stood before the storm. And opening his eyes, he discovered to his joy that in secret, they had rebuilt a new house for him with three rooms and windows for air and light upon every wall.
42 Thereafter, the hermit spent his days, tending the gardens of his neighbors and became known through all the city for his kindness of spirit and helpfulness to others.
43 He spent his last years building a grand fountain, stone by stone, and asked his rich friend to run water to it. When he died, many turned out to bid him good-bye, and for many years, the Hermit’s Fountain remained outside the city gates, next to the empty house with windows on every wall, kept clean and tidy by all of his friends to welcome and give relief to the weary travelers coming from the desert.
44 And I say unto the men among you that you have the choice in your life to be like the hermit who was conquered by the fear of sin and a slave to his fears, becoming a shell of a man to whom friends did not exist and neighbors were unknown.
45 Or like the hermit who conquered the temptations of sin to become the master of himself, flying free in his soul, a joy to his neighbors, a delight to his friends, and a light unto the world.
46 Remember, O people of Nazareth, as you sow, so shall you reap, both in Heaven and on Earth, for as you confine the righteous spirits of others or bind their worthy lives into emptiness, you also become a shell of what you could have been and exist in a world inside your soul as confining to your spirit as the hermit’s house with no windows.
47 Or you may draw the favor of God and man and choose to be like the rich man who judged not the lowly state of his brothers and sisters from the children of Elohim, but gave unto them all that he had in their hour of need and this without condition, but only with love. Unto such as this, God will say at the Judgment Day, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.’
48 If I must part from you my family and friends and neighbors of Nazareth, let me part with these words: That you remember you are all sons and daughters of God, and therefore, you are all brothers and sisters in the spirit of God.
49 And I tell you in all truth that men and women are equal before God in their creation. But in the judgment, it will always be found that there have been more virtuous women than righteous men.
50 Therefore, men, I say unto you, be faithful to your wives in thought and deed. Honor and respect your wives and your daughters for their virtue and abilities. Think not to place them below you, but hold them beside you that all may go forward together to a greater light. And do not demand that they be cloaked into invisibility because of the impure thoughts of a few sinful men.
51 And to the women I say, honor and respect your husbands. Do not hide your glory which Elohim has made in your beauty, but be modest in your manner and dress that your husband’s need not worry about the impure thoughts of upright men toward those they love, that your moments together may always be comforting and joyous.
52 Unto all I say, look to and care for one another. Be as the rich man. Even if you are poor, be rich in your spirit and in your desire to do good. Suffer there not to be any among you in agony of spirit because their cupboard is bare or their roof lets in the rain or with a spirit that is broken because of foul deeds done to them.
53 By this, you may know a true man of God: that he honors the temple of his body both inside and out; that he is humble and has humor and laughter and smiles, despite the adversities of life; that he honestly keeps the commandments of Sinai; that he plays with his children and provides for their needs; that he is of service to his community without reward or acclaim; and that he loves and respects his wife and ever encourages and supports her and helps her to expand her light and have joy.
54 And by this, you may know a true woman of God: that she honors the temple of her body inside and out; that she is not vain; that she smiles and laughs easily and greets her husband with warmth and care; that she keeps the commandments of Sinai; that she makes her home a piece of Heaven, no matter how humble it may be; that it is always a refuge of peace and comfort for her husband and her children; that she plays with her children and sees to their education and welfare; that she is of service to her sisters in need as she can be; and that she loves and respects her husband and ever encourages and supports him and helps him to expand his light and have joy.
55 You have been accustomed to think of yourselves as separate families living within the town of Nazareth. May you begin to consider yourselves as the family of Nazareth, living within the Celestine Light of Elohim.
56 As one undivided, the happiness and comfort of all is magnified. As one undivided, the trials and tribulations of life are eased. As one undivided, you will live long upon the land and prosper, despite the Romans and all else the world may do. My brothers and sisters of light, make it so.”
57 And Yeshua continued to hear the questions of the people of Nazareth and give answers unto them that lifted their spirits and filled their souls. And all of the other words that Yeshua spoke that day are written in the book of Yakov, given to the Children of Light in Jerusalem.