The Jesus I Know


by John C. Westervelt


        When I became a widow twenty-eight years ago, I began reading in bed at bedtime. Our master bedroom had lights hanging on either side of the headboard.

With regular Bible study during the day, at night I read two pages of the Gospels. I wanted to sleep with Jesus on my mind. At the end of John’s gospel, I returned to the beginning of Matthew. In twenty-five years, I read through the Gospels about fifty times.

        I wrote historical stories like an author would write a historical novel. When I moved to Oklahoma Methodist Manor retirement home, I no longer had lights over my bed. I began reading my Jesus stories at bedtime. My son Paul put the stories on Kindle and gave me a Kindle reader. Living with 88-year-old eyes, the larger font size makes reading easier.

        If you would like to know Jesus better, read my stories. You can print them at or download “Jesus’ Friends” from Kindle for ninety-nine cents.

        You are familiar with Martha’s story:

        In my frustration, I walked into the living room and said, "Jesus, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me!"

        "Martha, my dear Martha, you are so upset over all these details. There is really only one thing worth being concerned about, and Mary has discovered it. I won't take it away from her."

        The gospel writer would not have heard the rest of Martha’s story as it might have been:

        I was a little taken aback by Jesus' response, and I could feel my face flush as I returned to the kitchen. As we began the meal, I didn't break into the conversation because I was busy getting more bread and wine, or maybe I was pouting with a smile.

        I was finished with the dishes and was wiping down the water basin when I sensed someone approach me from behind.

        "Martha. Martha."

        I continued looking out the window while slowly wiping my hands. My eyes welled up with tears until they were so full that they began to roll down my cheeks and drip silently into the basin. Because I am the strong one in the family, I didn't say a word. Then Jesus touched me on the shoulders and gently turned me around. I felt so ashamed that I covered my face with both hands, but Jesus' long arms reached around me and pulled me close. It was then that I really began to cry. He continued to hold me with His left hand and stroked my hair with His right. I moved my wet hands from my face and laid my head and the palms of both my hands on His chest. Then with a comforting sigh, Jesus said, "I love no one more than you, Martha. I want Mary to be Mary, and Martha to be Martha."


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