The Measure of a Child’s Devotion
(Painting of David entering Jerusalem Photo from Wikipedia Commons, source: hermitagemuseum.org)
I was named by my mother as she ‘called’ out to God for me to be her own precious little girl, since she already had a little boy. First born sons are a blessing to the Father, but she felt a second born daughter was just as much a blessing to her. So she called me Leshiyah. (From ‘church’ assembly, or called-out which in the Greek is ekklesia, ek-out, kaleo-to call) This seemed especially meaningful because I was born on the day before Pesach (Passover) on the Jubilee year 29 C.E. (the day Yeshua our Messiah was executed).
My father, Yosef (Joseph), was the first born son of the Yosef Kayafa (Caiafas) who was a noted member of the Sanhedrin Council. And I, Leshiyah, was the youngest member of his house.
Following my Bat Mitzvah, at twelve, I received a serious assignment from my father to keep my ears open. He wanted to know anything and everything about the man called Yeshua from Natzeret (Nazareth), and of his followers, called Natzeratim. I was old enough, and I was the least one to be considered a spy for my father, a lawyer in the Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) community. Most girls my age were not so blessed.
I had learned my lessons from Torah School well enough that I had no problem standing up before my parents and relatives to read a portion to the most holy words of the Torah. My Bat Mitzvah was an experience I should never forget. But the more meaningful part of that was the motivational preparation that my dad (abba) provided, even to make such a sacrifice. It was around four years earlier, when I was eight, that he called me into his study and told me how proud he was of me and that he wanted me to follow him in his faith. I had no understanding of the word faith. It could have meant elbow grease.
That was a turning point for me. I had already been attending Torah School and according to the study schedule, I knew that I would be prepared for my ‘Daughter of the Commandment’ ceremony. My brother was also a proud ‘Son of the Commandment’. I also knew why he wanted to learn the discipline. It was our father. He was a leader in our small synagogue community here in Yerushalayim.
Two circumstances made dad and me very special in our community. That Dad was the person who happened to be with his son when Yeshua the Natzrati rabbi told his talmidim not to prevent children from coming to him. And so my brother got blessed personally by the holy man. He seemed so accessible, that Dad had to ask him how to receive eternal life. And when he was told, he had to walk away sad because he was committed to my mother, and could not trust the rabbi even to follow him with such a commitment. And the fact of my birth happened on the day of the rabbi’s execution.
That was an experience that he would not soon forget. Even my brother told me how really special it was to be blessed by the Teacher. Anyway, our dad was unable to sell all his possessions and give to the poor and follow him then, but it was made plain that he was certainly unable to follow him into execution. That was hard to face.
When I was twelve, Dad explained all the significance of my birth and the events of how the Teacher was arrested, tried by Roman authority and executed unjustly because he had said in all truth that he was the Son of God. This truth could not easily have been accepted as fact by our community leadership. Even my grandfather Kayafa, was a member of the Sanhedrin when he was tried by the high priest. The Teacher had only embarrassed and openly insulted everyone in Jewish authority. So the high priest took the counsel of my grandfather to seek the death of one person rather than risk destruction of our whole nation by God.
The details of Yeshua Natzrati’s life and teaching are explained by parent to child in an incredulous way so that it has to become mythical. There were no fairy tales to top this story. And every Jewish youth were given ears to hear about him.
But I was most interested in what my part to play was, and Dad pulled no punches with me. He told me how he felt the fate of all our community depended on what was to happen. The changes coming because of the growing Natzratim (followers of the Natzrati). So I listened to my father strictly tell me that he may be wrong about that man, but that if he was, he wanted me to help show him some of the facts developing.
And so I had learned my mission. To learn Hebrew and the Torah gaining personal knowledge of our Creator God, and to learn Greek in order to follow the written records of the Natzratim. I thought I could follow the Meshiyakh or Christos and secretly report what I learn to dad, even if I couldn’t confirm them, I would be gaining practice for giving credence to personal testimonies. After all, faith works by hearing God’s stories.
My classmates were more interested in learning of this Natzratimism that had begun to exist. While they were my sources for rumors, I wanted to research the sermons given by Kefa (Peter) and Ya’akov (James) that they may have heard at local gatherings.
I borrowed father’s Greek Septuagint, an authoritative text — based upon the whole Tanakh (Old Testament) record — and began to make a list of things mentioned where references were made to the prophets. I started with the fate of the talmid (disciple) Y’hudah (Judas)who betrayed the Teacher. How it was prophesied that he was paid a ransom and used it to buy land, on which he hanged himself, was buried in, and that such land would never be used by anyone else ever again.
I confirmed that by finding Psalm 69:26:
“Let his estate become desolate, let there be no one to live in it.”
Kefa (Peter), had reportedly said this when requesting the assembly replace Y’hudah as an apostle (he, Kefa, was supervisor of the emissaries).
Next the message of Kefa proclaimed about Yeshua the Natzrati, that,
“Despite generously helping your less fortunate one’s to receive healings and deliverance through miraculous events, we agreed to let him die at the hands of our anointed leaders.“
With this, I searched and located what Kefa said about this of Dav’id (David),
“I saw always Adonai before me, for He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken. For this reason, my heart was glad; and my tongue rejoiced, And now my body too will live on in certain hope that you will not abandon me in Hell or let your Holy One see decay, You have made known to me the way of life; You will fill me with joy by your presence.” (Psalms 16:8-11)
The festival of Shavu’ot (Pentecost) had come in the year of 29 C.E. (common era) and the fulfillment of was made a reality.
“In the last days, I will pour out from My Spirit upon everyone. Your sons and daughters will prophecy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. Even on the slaves both men and women will I pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophecy . . . and then whosoever calls upon the name of the Adonai will be delivered” (Joel 2:25-32)
A classmate said she heard her parent say a part of Kefa’s message,
“But God raised him up and delivered him from his death, which you nailed him up and killed him.”
Then I thought how totally radical this was. My study of the Torah was all law. There were no records I knew of that might explain or help me fit the event of my very birthday into some concrete structure for the purpose of getting some sense of bearing — some confirmed set of directions that might reveal meaning to such powerful circumstances.
I could see myself figuratively holding something of a large door from closing. I wasn’t willing to sacrifice myself to keep it open. Even for love of God, my parents, my brother, and relatives. I needed something more personal.
Then it hit me. The time and timing of a deliverer to be sent by God to accomplish the one time sacrifice to perfectly do what the law failed to do, only God in his infinite Self could do. So, who am I to question him? He gave me to my father and my parents to me. How can I not accept that? Oh certainly, I was delivered by my mother, given my mother’s milk, was fed and changed by Mom, but when I was trained, she gave me to her husband to raise beyond what she was equipped to give me.
Mom was obedient to her husband, even when she disagreed with him. She told him her opinion. Dad listened to Mom, but when he made the decision final, our family will do what he says do. I have respected them here.
Now, in my study of the great record of the law and it’s written and oral teachings, I am able to recognize the weaknesses and stark terror of our human dilemma. Truly to have been born an Israelite, into the Jewish community — an offspring of an anointed leader, is without a doubt, a very great responsibility. ‘Together we can do this.’ I thought.
My heart is just now grasping that to exist in our world today, one must require a personal connection and continual contact with the Sovereign Governor of the universe. Anything less would be utter failure.
My heart is also given a confident assurance that tells my mind to stay awake. For truly my desire is so dependant on that. My will has no power to choose anything unless my mind is fully informed circumstantially. I will see an alarm go off to make up my mind!
Think! Get yourself ‘girded-up girl!’ ‘Move!’
But my heart has its own mind. How can I think beyond the death of a man who was brutally executed for my own sin having died on my day of birth? His death, my birth. He died because he was rejected as my father’s leader. And my father’s father actually counseled our community high priest to execute him, and do it as a scape goat — especially to save our nation!
What a mess! How can human laws be made to execute God’s laws? Or, how can finite beings administer infinite statutes? With only hapless and hopeless trials are the Peoples of the world destined to be raped and murdered and traumatized until the heart shuts down — no mental activity can function preventing death.
“Dad, can I speak to you please?” I asked.
“Yes Dear, come in and sit down. What’s on your mind?” Dad asked putting his pen down and leaning back in his chair.
“I have something to report to you about my ‘sleep-over’.”
“I am all ears, Sweetheart.” Dad said, leaning forward.
“I heard the emissary Kefa and the Natzrati’s brother, Ya’akov (James) publically receive Sha’ul (Paul) into the Natzratim fellowship.”
“Wasn’t Sha’ul the lawyer in our community who began the persecution even six years ago, when the talmid Stephen was stoned?”
“Yes, the very person. He told us how he was shaken off his donkey by a loud voice and a very bright light.”
“That is remarkable!”
“He said he looked up from the ground to see the glorified vision of a man glaring down at him, who said, ‘Why are you persecuting me Sha’ul?’ And he asked, ‘Who are you Sir?’ And he replied, ‘I am Yeshua whom you are persecuting.’
“Sha’ul said all he could do was change his plans then and there. ‘What do you want me to do, Adonai?’ He said. ‘Get up and go into the city and you will be told what to do.’ That was all the vision said, and the noise and light went away.” I said.
“What brought him back here?” Asked Dad.
“He had been in a desert place for three years with Adonai Yeshua who taught him principles of faith, and community — New Covenant leadership.”
“So he has become an emissary like Kefa and Ya’akov?”
“That’s what it looks like Dad.”
“Anyway, they accepted him as an emissary because he was the most educated of all the Twelve, but most of all, Dad, the Ruach HaKodesh was there, and He was most confirming to me.”
“And how did the Ruach HaKodesh make you feel?”
“It is hard to explain, Dad, but it was something like what I felt when I was close to you.”
“Close to me?”
“Yes, when we hug each other Dad. My heart has a burning sensation, like I couldn’t breathe. What can we call that?” I said.
“Well Dear, I can’t ever remember a time I felt like that.”
“Really, even when you hugged Mom?
“It must be a girl-thing then. But do you think our hearts are wired differently?” I asked.
“No. According to the Torah, male and female are both made in the eternal uncreated image and likeness of the creator. The word Elohiym is for the Creator God.”
“But that is plural, Dad.”
“Yes. ‘Gods’, or ‘Judges’, and ‘Magistrates’, are all referred to.”
“Then, it is spiritually supernatural.” I said.
“Tell me more of what you heard has happened to Sha’ul (Paul), the emissary you have described hearing at your sleep-over.” Asked Dad.
“He had come with Bar-Nabba (Barnabas) who was a talmid that met him in Tarsus. He was a large, burley-sort of man and seemed close enough to Sha’ul, to know they had accomplished their mission consulting with our assembly of about 50 souls. They departed for Tarsus that very night, since they were being cautious with respect to the feelings of some local members of the Natzratim, who have not heard his report.” I said.
“What else do you have to tell me?”
“I spent the rest of the night in the home of my classmate and was warmly included in their family as one of their own. So I offered to do the dishes.”
“You did what?”
“I offered to do the supper dishes because I was grateful to have been with them, and I do them all the time around here. It was no big deal, already.” I said.
“Alright dear, go on.”
“While I was doing the dishes after hearing such men of God tell of miraculous events, and I thought about the things I over-heard you telling Mom about other resurrections; how can such impossible testimonies not be true? And how can simple folk keep from believing?”
“These are all good thoughts dear. But we need facts of reality that can confirm the truth.” Dad said.
“Yes Sir. Anyway, I fell asleep in the same building that was filled with Ruach-HaKodesh and it was my own heart that witnessed Him. That was comforting. But to learn first-hand that the persecutions of the Natzratim was over, ending three years ago, and not confirmed personally by the one responsible . . . this was a very comforting thought to fall asleep on.”
“That is what I am interested in hearing, Dear.” Dad said.
“Have you had your evening prayer yet Dad?”
“May I join you in prayer then?”
“Certainly.” He said pleasantly. “Fine. Let me begin and you finish, alright?
I nodded. Dad began his ritual prayer while in my heart I consciously reached up to God for worshipping him for being so good to us, and beginning to show us confirmation of the truth.
As I heard my father’s voice crying out to God, my heart burned within me as if it were loving him back for the calling of love he had given us both. Dad finished praying and I said ‘Amen’ to his Amen. Then I began my prayer to the best of my ability.
“Dear Adonai, I am very thankful and pleased to be a member of my father’s family here in our blessed community. You are our blessing who brings father and daughter closer.”