— Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)
I sometimes daydream about living back when Jesus wore skin. In my imaginings, I’ve slipped into the personas of Gospel characters, disciples, and followers of Christ. I’ve lain in a field, a lowly shepherd guarding my sheep when the angel came down from Heaven. I’ve rested with the Twelve, listening to Jesus speak parables on cool, starry nights with gentle breezes rocking silver leaves on olive trees. When I faced uterine cancer in the present-day world, I became one with the woman who bled and sought healing. I imagined that, like she, I could push through the sea of neediness surrounding Our Lord and ever so dimly touch the hem of His robe. And somehow, I did. I transcended time. He knew my touch, and He healed me in the twenty-first century.
Last night, I asked myself, “If you could choose to be one, just one, who had personal contact with Jesus the Man, whom would you choose?” A question like that deserves pondering. But I didn’t turn it over and over in my head trying to decide which one. I knew. I have always known. If I had to choose, I would be Mary, sister to Martha and Lazarus.
This Mary was Jesus’ close friend. It was she who sat at His feet listening to His words while her sister cooked and swept. It was this Mary who gave Christ her undivided attention and enjoyed the one-on-one intimacy with Him that we Christians have in Spirit.
Mary. Mary of Bethany. What questions did you ask Him? What answers did you receive from this God made Man? While the everyday busyness, the preparation of the table, the sweeping of the hearth, went on without you, what did you learn from Christ’s words? Did He unravel mysteries that we wonder about today? Did He tell you things hidden from the scribes? Did the Rabbi allow you to travel deep into His heart and know Him beyond the Word of God? What secrets did you discover when your souls, those of dear friends, touched?
I want to know. I long to know this flesh and blood Jesus apart from what the Bible tells me. I want to sit at His feet and listen to His every word. On ancient nights, so still, in a small house lit faintly by oil-filled lamps, I ache to whisper questions that no one dares ask. What is in the heart of this living, breathing Jesus? What might we know today that remains hidden because there were not more like Mary who was not upset about many things, but instead chose what was better?
I can only imagine.
If you could be someone who had personal contact with Jesus the Man, whom would you be?