Now, when Simon, who was called Peter, came before Demetrius he bowed down and kissed the hem of his cloak. "Unto you," he cried, "I owe my life! For you have done great service unto my brother when you lifted him from the viper's reach. For that gift that you have given me I will be forever grateful. Any service that I can do you, I will do. Anything that is in my power to give you, that I will give you. My house is your house. My food is your food, my drink is your drink."
2 When Jesus saw this done He was pleased, saying unto them, "Surely here is a man worthy of God."
3 Now, the following days Jesus went up unto Bethsaida preaching the word of God, crying "Come, you, oh Israel! Repent your sins, for The Kingdom Of God is at hand! The Way into Heaven has been prepared for you if you will but make straight the Way by loving God and doing His Will."
4 There began to follow Him many people to hear the things that He would say.
5 Now, in the city of Bethsaida lived a young man named Philip, who was the son of a priest. As Jesus neared the city he came to Him, leading a young woman of color who was heavy with child. When he came before Him he knelt down saying unto Him, "Rabbi, I am a sinner. I have done great evil and now, because of it, greater evil still will be done. You are of God and surely can make that wrong that I have done right."
6 Now Jesus knew full well what the young man had done, but He commanded him to speak of it, so all the crowd might hear.
7 "Lord," Philip began, "my mother, being old, needed a servant, but there was no free woman to hire. So we bought this woman of color to serve her.
8 Now, my affection for her became great, I was drawn to her as a man is drawn to a woman. And though she protested I put my seed into her. Now she is heavy with child.
9 Now, I know I have done wrong before God, and will make it right by taking her as my wife. But my father forbids, saying she is not of Israel and she is dark of skin."
10 When Jesus heard these things He commanded Philip saying, "Take me unto your father."
11 Philip did so, and Jesus said to his father, "Your son has done this woman dishonor, but would make things right. Why do you forbid?"
12 "The child was made by wizardry," the priest answered, "it is a thing of evil! We shall sell the woman and the child away from us, that that evil defile not Israel."
13 When Jesus heard these words He asked the priest, "Have you a good sharp knife?"
14 "Yes," the priest answered.
15 "Good," Jesus told him, "Go and fetch it."
16 As the priest obeyed Jesus drew the woman to Him. "What is your name, child?" He asked.
17 "I am called Sheba, sir," the woman answered.
18 "Sheba," Jesus told her, "do not be afraid. Whatever I do do not resist. Know that no harm will come to you."
19 The woman looked into Jesus' eyes and knew that she was safe. Her only reply was a nod.
20 The priest returned and Jesus led the company out into the fields. There was a great flat stone, and He stopped by it. Motioning Sheba over, He undid her robes, laid her on the stone, and revealed the fullness of her body. then He motioned the priest over.
21 "You have the knife," Jesus instructed. "If that which is within her is evil, then destroy it, but know you if you do you will commit the greatest sin that a man can commit. For you will be killing flesh of your flesh, blood of your blood, and of all things that God will not forgive, this, of all things, He will damn a man for the most. For the greatest sin that a man can commit, or, a woman, is to slay their own child. Only in the most dire of circumstances would God permit that. What sin has this woman committed other than that she has loved your son and he has loved her?"
22 Go ahead. If your cause is just, and God is with you, destroy that which is evil."
23 The priest went around the stone and raised the knife as if he would strike. But Sara, Philip's mother, dashed forward, and threw herself over Sheba. "Before you will slay her," she cried, "you must slay me. For that which is within her is of my flesh. My life will cease before it is harmed."
24 The priest looked to Jesus, to his wife, then to Sheba. Then he began to weep. He threw down the knife, lifted his wife, drew Sheba from the stone, drawing together her garments. "Cover yourself, daughter," he whispered, "forgive a sinful old man that God must humiliate to make him see wisdom."
25 "As God has forgiven you," Sheba answered, "should I not do so?"
26 The priest hugged her.
27 "Oh, Israel!" Jesus cried, "Hear me! When your sons put their seed into strangers and those strangers are filled with their life, that life is Israel. And because that woman bears it, SHE is Israel.
28 With a woman of Israel it is the same. If a stranger should put his seed into her, that seed within her IS Israel, and by it that man has become Israel.
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