My book, due to come out in June, consists of stories told about Jesus by his disciples in the context of a memorial service after his death.* When I first decided to write the book, I had intended to include people he met along his journey such as those he healed. I eventually decided to forgo these extra encounters and stick with the disciples. Had I not done that, I would still be writing. I still have those stories in a Word folder, ready to work on if I decide to write another book.
I am reading Jesus and Logotherapy, by Robert C. Leslie. The author uses the psychology of Victor Frankl as he reflects upon events in the life of Jesus. Frankl was a Jewish psychotherapist who experienced living in the concentration camps under Hitler. He later wrote about what he witnessed there, particularly the resiliency of some of the prisoners. According to Leslie, Frankl’s insights and methods were much like how Jesus ministered to those he encountered during his mission years. The chapter I read today was about Zaccheaus, the short little guy who climbed a tree so that he could see Jesus passing through the crowds. It is a favorite among children.
As I read Leslie’s insights concerning Zaccheaus, it dawned on me that Zecchaeus was not just short but he was a dwarf. I had never envisioned a dwarf in the world of Jesus. Zacchaeus was also a tax collector and any commentaries I have read focused on this as the reason that he was considered an outcast by the Jewish community.
Here is the freaky, led by the Spirit, event that occurred this morning. After, reading the chapter in Leslie’s book, I turned to the Bible, which I began reading again at the start of the year, one chapter per day in each the Old and the New Testaments. Today, I read Leviticus 21. This book was written as an instruction for the Levites, the tribe of Israel that were chosen to serve in the Temple as priests offering sacrifices for the people. This is what I read: “No man with any physical defects may make the offering: no one who is blind, lame, disfigured, or deformed; no one with a crippled hand or foot; no one who is hunchback or a dwarf; no one with any eye or skin disease; and no eunich.” (v. 19-20) Did you catch what caught me? Dwarfism was considered profane, an abomination to God.
My imagination began to whirl. Perhaps Zacchaeus was the son of a priest. Perhaps he chose to become a tax collector because there was no other occupation open to him. Perhaps he cheated people of their money out of revenge for their rejection of him. Did he live alone or, perhaps, with his mother? Was she rejected after giving birth to a dwarf? Who would Jesus bring with him to Zacchaeus home? Matthew, the tax collector, for sure, but maybe Peter or his wife who had a child born with palsy. They would understand Zacchaeus in a way the other disciples might not. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness! Here I go.
If you want to know what a writer’s inspiration is about…this is it. I would call it the leading of the Holy Spirit. Oh my goodness!
- If you are visiting my blog, there is a link above to my book page. It is still under construction but will have information on how to get the book once the book is published.