Student Story:
A Face in the Crowd

By Madison Queen

A chance encounter in a stifling marketplace turns suddenly into something else ...

Something made me want to go to the market that hot day. I didn’t need any food, but I had heard a great rabbi would be there. When I arrived, I listened to Rabbi Jesus teach us about fasting. I felt as if I were in a trance. I forgot about the stench of donkey manure, the bustle of the market, the coat of dust on my face, and even the fear in my heart. Of course, I didn’t realize I felt that way until after it was over. I also didn’t realize that Jairus, with deep, dark circles under his eyes, was running toward Jesus. I thought the temple leaders were staying away from Jesus …

Panting, he said, “My daughter is near death, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” Suddenly the stenches, noises, dirt, and fear came rushing into me again. My trance was broken. I had felt as if a heavy weight had been lifted off my shoulders when I listened to Jesus, but it dropped itself back on me. Nevertheless, whether Jesus would heal Jairus’ daughter interested me. Jairus’ belief in Jesus surprised all of us, since the Pharisees had told us not even to go near him. Just as Jesus opened his mouth to reply to Jairus, he suddenly closed it. His attention moved from Jairus to something else. 

“Who touched my clothes?” he asked. He was wearing a cheap robe—not something anyone would want to steal. Nothing seemed particularly special about it. His disciples told him that the crowd was pressing upon him from all sides. I was rather insulted to be referred to as “the crowd”; the disciples didn’t sound as if they particularly liked that “the crowd” was there. True, we might not smell like Herod’s gardens—in fact we smelled rather like sweaty donkeys—but the disciples didn’t smell much better.

The people were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

The Gospel According to St. Matthew, 6.28-29

While I was trying to decide whether we looked as bad as we smelled, a woman spoke to Jesus. She certainly looked as bad as we smelled. Nothing was wrong with her clothes or features, but she was shaking and pale. She told the rabbi that she had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, but when she had touched the tassel of his robe, the bleeding had ended. “Daughter,” he said, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be free from your affliction.” I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t been there.

Jesus and some of the crowd left to go to Jairus’ house. Collecting my thoughts, I stayed under the fig tree that had been offering me shade. No one I’d ever heard—not the Pharisees, not the Sadducees, not even the priests—had authority like this rabbi. Then the thought came to me as a fig dropped on my head. He wasn’t just a rabbi. He was the Messiah—the one the prophets foretold, the Son of God. I was willing to give up everything just to be near him. After thinking for a long while, I saw him coming up the street. Before I could think about what I was doing, I ran to him and wept at His feet. 

“It’s you!” I said. He looked at me and smiled. Then he took my hand and lifted me from his feet. I could feel the heavy weight drop, and I felt light as a feather. Since that day, the weight hasn’t returned. I, along with some other women, have been following him and his disciples all over Judea. I’m learning more every day. Even though I’ve been going to the synagogue all my life, I have never heard someone like the Master teach. Even when he warns us of trouble and persecution, he tells us of his peace. I know that as long as Jesus lives, all is at peace in my heart. Mary Magdalene and I were talking; she has the peace, too. The deep fear that we had is gone. Before we met Jesus, our worry and fear felt deep as the ocean, but any fears we have now feel as if they are floating on the surface. No room in our hearts remains for fear and trembling because our hearts stand filled with hope. All these changes have happened quite quickly. Jesus healed the bleeding woman only three months ago. On that day, Jesus healed more than the bleeding woman. Jesus healed my heart. Every day I am filled with Truth. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Madison Queen is a rising homeschool junior and a prolific musician, playing the clarinet for two bands and singing for a third. She plans to major in Music Education, so that she can spread her contagious love of music to others.

Every time we administer the CLT, our forty top-scoring students are invited to contribute an essay or other piece of writing to the Journal. Congratulations to Miss Queen for being in in the top forty on June 19, 2021! If you enjoyed her short story, take a look at some of our other content, like these author profiles of Desiderius Erasmus and Franz Kafka, or these past student essays on the role of hardship in maturation and the message of Orwell’s Animal Farm. And don’t forget to check out our weekly podcast on education and culture, Anchored.

Page image of James Tissot’s Jesus Wept, 1894.

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