“Gallant Friend”

Have we lost the Gallant Friend to priests and torture tree?
O yes, he loved us brawny men and ships and open sea.
When came a host to take Our Man, his smile was grand to see,
"First let these go and I’ll stay – or I'll see ya damned," says he.

Jackson Snyder, May 26, 2004
Dedicated to Pete Benning (b. 1980), USMC
He came from across the world to fulfill a dangerous and gallant mission.

Dedicated to Robert V. Hickey (1926 - May 26, 2005)

He won a heart for his service in the South Pacific; thereafter, he won hearts.


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John Eldredge, Wild At Heart
Isaiah 40:1-6. “Console my people, console them,” says your god. “Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and cry to her that her period of service is ended, that her guilt has been atoned for, that, from the hand of Yahweh, she has received double punishment for all her sins.” A voice cries, "Prepare in the desert a way for Yahweh. Make a straight highway for our God across the wastelands. Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be leveled, every cliff become a plateau, every escarpment a plain; then the glory of Yahweh will be revealed and all humanity will see it together, for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken.” A voice said, "Cry aloud!" and I said, "What shall I cry?”


PSALM 89  UMH 809, Resp. 1


Here is the NEW, literal Sneads Version of Sequence 1 of John’s Gospel. See footnotes for translation notes.  

John 1:19 And this is the witness of John when the Jews[1] from Jerusalem[2] sent out priests, even Levites[3], so that they might ask him, Who are you?  20 And he conceded and denied not, yea, he conceded: that, I am not the Anointed.  21 And they asked him, What then?  Are you Elijah?  And he says, I am not!  Are you The Prophet?  And he answered, No!  22 Then they said to him, So that we may give answer to those having sent us, who are you?

   23 He said, I – the voice of crying in the desert, Straighten Yahweh’s[4] road! just as Isaiah[5] the Prophet said.

   24 Those having been sent were from the Pharisees[6].  25 And they asked him and said to him, Why then do you dunk if you are not the Anointed nor Elijah nor The Prophet?  26 John answered them, saying, I dunk in water; one stands among you 27 who you all know not, coming after me, of whom I am not worthy that I should loose from him the sandal strap. 28 These things happened in Bethany Beyond the Jordan[7] where John was dunking.

   29 On the morrow, he sees Yahshua coming toward him, and says, Look! Yahweh’s lamb[8], the one taking away the sin[9] of the world!  30 This is he about whom I said, After me comes a man who has become before me, because he was my first.  31 And I knew him not, but that he might become visible to Israel[10].

   32 And John witnessed, saying that: I have observed the spirit coming down as a dove, and it stayed upon him.  33 And I knew him not, but the one having sent me to dunk in water, that one said to me, On whomever you see the spirit coming down and staying on him, this is the one dunking in a holy spirit.  34 And I have seen and have witnessed that this is Yahweh’s son[11].

   35 On the morrow, again stood John and, out of his students, two; 36 and looking at Yahshua walking, he says, Look! Yahweh’s Lamb!  37 And the two students of his heard him speaking and they followed Yahshua.  38 And turning, Yahshua observing them following, says to them, What do you seek?  And they said to him, Rabbi (which, being translated, is called Teacher), Where do you stay?  39 He says to them, Come and you will see.  Then they went and saw where he stays and they stayed with him the day, the hour was about the tenth. 

   40 Andrew[12], the brother of Simon Kefa [13], was one of the two hearing from John and following him.  41 This one first finds his own brother Simon and tells him, we have found the Messiah[14] (which, being translated, is Anointed[15]).  42 He led him toward Yahshua.  Looking at him, Yahshua said, You are Simon, John’s son[16]; you will be called Kefa (which is translated, a stone).

   43  On the morrow, he wanted to go out into the Galilee[17], and he finds Philip, and Yahshua says to him, Follow me!  44 And Philip was from Bethsaida[18], out of the city of Andrew and Kefa.  45 Philip finds Nathanael and tells him, We have found the one of whom Moses in the Torah, and the prophets, wrote: Yahshua, the son of Joseph, the one from Nazareth.  46 And Nathanael said to him, Can anything good be out of Nazareth [19]?  The Philip says to him, Come and look! 

   47  The Yahshua saw Nathanael coming toward him and says about him, Look!  Truly an Israelite, in whom is no deception[20].  48 Nathanael says to him, From where do you know me?  Yahshua answered and said to him, Before Philip began to call you, I saw you resting[21] under the fig.  49 Nathanael answered him, Rabbi, you are Yahweh’s son; you are king of the Israel.  50 Yahshua answered and said to him, Because I told you that I saw you underneath the fig you believe?  You will see greater than these.

   51 And he says to him, Amen, Amen.  I tell you, you will see the heavens having been opened and the messengers of the elohim[22] going up and coming down upon the son of the man.



We’re Sunk!

   I came across the mention of a magazine article about a lady and a man who attempted to cross the Pacific Ocean in a boat.  There arose a terrific tropical storm.  ¿We know about storms here in Florida, n’est-ce pas?  After several hours of being tossed and torn, the boat started down, and shortly after sunk.  Miraculously, the lady survived to testify.  Her partner drowned.

   Now this lady had a strong sense of doom when the storm blew up.  She even seemed to be given a supernatural plan of escape.  She warned her partner over and over again of the danger, and how it might be avoided.  But he wasn’t a bold man: he was stubborn; and he wouldn’t listen to women’s intuition, even as the deluge destroyed him.

   After her rescue, she felt an overcoming sense of guilt.  Why?  Because she hadn’t stepped out to do what she knew to do – she hadn’t acted boldly upon her revelation – she hadn’t been gallant in her action, but kept to her place as first mate of a crew of two.  She said, “My life was at stake too.  But because he was the captain [and I was only the mate], I felt it wasn’t my place to argue too much.  I should’ve been more adamant.  I should’ve been more bold.  Perhaps if I had been, the boat wouldn’t have sunk, and there would be two of us alive today.”[23]


Gallant Men

   We’ve experienced times when, had we only been bold enough to go with our gut, we’d have avoided trouble.  Most of the time, we can pretty safely yield our feelings to the “captain” without serious consequences.  But we’ve learned to yield to the point in which, if there be lives at stake, they’d be lost because we hadn’t acted or spoken boldly.

   As I was considering the gospel text, the book Wild At Heart came my way.  The author, John Eldredge, has the idea that family, school, job and church have strangled the boldness out of us.  He says these institutions teach that it’s wrong to be bold, assertive and gallant.  Institutional religion cautions us that individuality – especially the individuality of uniqueness – is a kind of sin; we would be better off to conform and become well-behaved boys and girls.

   Boy, did that make me think!  Most churches teach that our sanctification is far more dependant upon what we don’t do than what we do.  Are sanctified people holy because they’re submissive?  Are we judged on the basis of whether we’re well behaved?  whether we haven’t upset apple carts?  whether we’ve been in compliance to captains and captors?  Is there any room in the quiet heaven for Rambo or G. I. Jane?  Where are our young and fearless prophets today?


Wild and Bold

   Our passage – the latter half of John 1 – features characters who’re extremely bold, even wild – yet they’re some of the highest-placed saints in our Christian hagiographies.  John, for one, has to leave the country to dunk his disciples.  Many followed him boldly, risking their lives to be sloshed in the river. 

   When the corrupt cops of ancient Judaism, the Pharisees, cross the eastern border to interrogate John, he rails at them fearlessly, calling them extortionists and poisonous vipers, threatening Yahweh’s awesome wrath upon them.[24] John’s wild and bold; he doesn’t seem to know his place in civil religion; he’s not a well-behaved parishioner.  How does such a man fit our sensibilities of sanctity?  What kind of “Christian” would such a man as John be in our congregation?  How could the Almighty use such a crude, insulting, disrespectful, disheveled maniac as John the Dunker?



   How? You shall know the truth and the truth will hopefully free you. Here’s the truth:

   John knew who he was and where he’d come from.  John doubted not that he was a heavenly man.  If you’re a heavenly man or woman, you should also know it and celebrate it.  John had a mission, not to prepare the way of Yahweh, but to preach preparation.  You!  You prepare Yahweh’s road!” he came crying to the ewes of all future generations.  If you’re a child of the Father, you have exactly the same mission as he as we stand this day at the very event horizon of Yahweh’s wrath and Yahshua’s redemption.  He cries out, and we also cry, “Repent for the reign of Yahweh is at hand!”

   John’s mission was life or death – the whole world was at stake.  Had he not completed it, every solitary soul would die in their sins, for he was calling attention to the only entity who could take away the sin of the whole world.  You have exactly the same mission – to point out the Anointed to whoever ventures into your desert, your watering hole, your intersection, your haven of rest. 

   Do you know what they call someone who makes a grand attempt at accomplishing good?  They call that man, woman or cohort gallant.  If John the Dunker’s any example, one’s gallant not because one acquiesces, not because one’s a well-behaved little punk, but because one is wildly pressing forth upon Yah’s Way until he or she feels ownership in John’s mission and Yah’s Kingdom. 

   By recognizing your true origin and your right to speak out in holy boldness, you may quickly grow into the Bible kind of “sanctified,” the wild kind of “sanctified,” and gain gallant friends on the roadway.  Yes, your Father will secure for you a bold cohort for companionship.


If He Can’t Do It, Nobody Can

   After identifying himself to all others as the personification of well-known prophecy, John introduces Yahshua to his gallant friends as The Anointed ONE of Yahweh – the son of G-d – who not only had authority to assume then destroy sins, but power to transform timid tots into bold adventurers and advocates for the Savior of the world. Why was John’s mission so critical?  Because sin threatened to destroy all good on earth and the Anointed One is able to consume every sin. 

   Do you remember the definition of sin?  The New Testament tells us plainly, “sin is breaking the Torah(1 John 3:4).  The Torah, sometimes translated “Law,” includes the Ten Commandments.  Do you believe in the validity of the Ten Commandments?  I dare say most Christians give lip service to them, but have in fact no real intention of obeying them, including commandment advocates like Judge Moore and James Dobson.  Let me offer you a toe-trouncing example:

   ¿What did you do yesterday, on the seventh day?  Think.  Why do I ask?  Because of what Yahweh says in the Ten Commandments about yesterday: You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is set-apart for you; every one who profanes it shall be put to death (Exodus 31:14).  TO DEATH,” your g-d commands.

   Hear me out now!  It makes little difference what you think about it – or what The Right Rev. Dr. Silly-Sandwich tells you – or what’s convenient – or what’s tradition.  What matters is the decree of the Judge.  He GAVE US the Ten Commandments is deserved for impinging upon His rights or the rights of others.  And, in every single case, that sentence is death. 

   Therefore, I can say with authority that the Anointed One – Yahshua – came on a life-saving mission – to transform from the Son of Man to the Paschal Lamb – that final, all consuming holocaust that consumed sin in the fires of his burning and destroyed its penalty for the whole world.  That’s a great salvation you have, brother; that’s a powerful gift you have, sister.  That’s a priceless inheritance you have, young person.  I hope you value it enough to start keeping his commandments because you love Him and your fellows.  The Commandments were created to protect you, friend; not to put you to death!

   Second, the Anointed One will dunk folks in holy spirit.  Earlier on, the writer said this spirit-dunking was essential in order to live as heirs of a Heavenly Father.  Once spirit-dunked, super powers burst forth, like that lady on the boat’s sixth sense, who sadly lacked the gallantry to use her supernatural wisdom.  We, who claim to be the spirit dunked, are supposed to recognize our wonderful privileges and awesome responsibilities.  Realizing that we can’t die, no matter what torture stake awaits us, we’re to go forth, spending our inheritance in advance, boldly, generously, prodigally, on preparing Yahweh’s road, for what is expected of us goes far, far beyond this churchianity we’ve been playing at.


Good Little Boys and Girls?

   Consider the boldness of Andrew – he was only a country schoolboy, but he swallowed his fear to approach the Anointed One.  Andrew gallantly introduced his new teacher to family and friends.  Only his brother would believe him, maybe just because he loved him or wanted to calm him down.

   Consider the boldness and gallantry of Nathanael.  He proclaimed his wild vision no matter what anyone thought, and he was therefore promised even greater insights.  Also the boldness of Simon, who was assigned a heritage by the Anointed One – “you are the ‘son’ of the Dunker,” said Jesus.  Simon was even christened with a new name – Kefa or Peter, which means “stone.”  Wow!  That’s manly!  “Look out!  Ol’ Stony’s a comin’ down the way!” 

    Everyone responds to flattery.  But in Simon’s case, he gallantly became what was only a flattering nickname.  For later, after breaking the ninth commandment against his Master – you will not bear a false witness – a crime that carried the death sentence – he managed to pick himself back up and “retake the cross.”  To recover from mortal sin – that is, betrayal and renunciation – is an astounding achievement of courage – and shows us a vivid picture of the means by which the Anointed One saves the world.


A Braveheart

   Now these disciples we’ve met are loud but relatively harmless – they’re simply young men seeking an educator.  But consider the lot that later hooked up.  Some “disciples” were zealots and terrorists; some Essenes, trained to kill; some were extremely outspoken women, to whom the Egyptian gospels attest; and one was a professional murderer (iscariot is Latin for assassin[25]).  Yet, through the visionary direction of bold and gallant leaders, this extremely diverse group of a hundred or more baddies was transformed into a formidable fighting unit – aggressors against evil; zealots for good; gallant friends.

   Although Yahshua was like Mother Teresa at times, this species of men and women aren’t the sort to follow “Mother” into the Lion’s teeth.  He had to be a G. I. Jane Braveheart Rambo Riddick.  He had to be assertive, authoritative, terse and sometimes violently wild.  “Jesus” wasn’t always a well-behaved tiny babe gurgling happily in a manger, you know!  He’ll smash nations as though they were clay pots, says the Psalmist.

   Another singer wrote a song about him after his passion – certainly worth repeating here is for no other reason than to get to his secret at the end.


O, have we lost our Gallant Friend to priests and torture tree?
O yes, he loved us brawny men and ships and open sea.
When came a host to take Our Man, his smile was grand to see,
"First let these go and I’ll stay – or I'll see ye damned," says he.
He sent us out through high crossed spears his scornful laugh rang free.
"Why seized you not as I walked all alone in town?" says he.
We drank his health with good red wine in our last company,
No feeble, clutching priest, our Friend, but man of men was he.
I’ve seen him drive a hundred men with bundled ropes swung free,
And crash the temple courtyard for its bloodstained treasury.
They'll not get him to read a scroll, though written cunningly;
No bookworm was our Gallant Friend; he loved the open sea.
They think they’ve snared our Gallant Friend; they’re fools to great degree.
"I'll eat the feast," quoth Gallant Friend, "and see the gallows tree."
"You’ve seen me heal the lame and halt, wake dead men, open eyes –
You’ll see one thing to master all: that’s how a brave man dies."
The Son of Man, our Gallant Friend, he asked us brothers be.
I’ve seen him win a thousand men. I’ve seen him whip that tree.
He cried no cry when nails pierced flesh, when blood gushed hot and free,
The hounds of fiery hell gave wail, but ne’er a cry cried he.
I’ve seen him thwart a thousand men on hills in Galilee,
They winced as he walked calm between; His eyes - gray like the sea:
A sea that stands no voyaging, with winds unleashed and free.
That sea he quenched, that Kinneret, with two words, suddenly.
A chief o’er men was Gallant Friend, a mate of wind and sea,
If they think now they’ve slain our Friend, they’re fools, and so are ye.
Our Gallant Friend, he’ll ne’er be gone: hear now: believe you me!
I watched him eat the honeycomb since nailed upon that tree.[26]


Here’s Your Assignment

   Gallant Friend, you too watch him eat the honeycomb, too – you’ve witnessed that no tree could keep him nailed down and no grave could contain him.  Now, off your torture stake!  Come alive in his witness and boldness.  Repent and believe the good news!  Yahshua has set you free so you may enter into a new phase of your shared mission and ministry.   

   Make the newness of our friendship an opportunity.  Make the opportunity into an advantage.  Tell everyone you know – we’re doing a new thing here – be completely positive and unusually bold about it.  If you don’t like one of your mates, find something redeeming about him or her.  You don’t have to like anyone, only love everyone.  Put aside all bitterness, then, and like little Philip, boldly convict all ‘out there’ to ‘come and look’ for themselves.  Change always means risk, but also opportunity.  Don’t let this opportunity pass by – for it’s passing even now.  Keep in mind the verse, “The sea was quenched, that Kinneret, with two words, suddenly!”  Those two words were, of course, “Be still!” 

   “Loose lips sink ships.”  Say nothing negative about your fellowship.  Rather, if you can’t trumpet the New Thing, “Be still.”  For when Yahweh’s at work through you, a few strong, positive words, can start a chain reaction.  Prepare ye the way!  Straighten ye the path!  Do the work of an evangelist; make full proof of your ministry![27]

   We’ve learned from our elders in the denomination that witnessing is a process: Tell the Tale, Do the Deed, Name the Name, Invite the Inquisitive.  But John demonstrates a more radical style: Realize your Roots, Shout your Slogan, Prepare your Path – then Dunk, Dunk, Dunk. 

   John also pointed out the Anointed One to his truest disciples so that they might be reborn from above and dunked again in holy spirit.  Let me point him out to you!  Just open your heart-box and let Braveheart in; and he’ll anoint your scalp with oil and your face with peace-paint!

   As you set course on the restless, gray seas of your future – especially your future in relationship to our shared ministry and mission – keep in mind the answers to three very personal questions.  Let me play the Pharisee; first – Who are you?  Answer me!  Second - From whence have you come?  If you can answer those two, the third ought to be a simple matter – What great lands will you set out to conquer now, Gallant Friends?



Now your children can learn Hebrew

[1] Jews, Ioudaioi – throughout the book, this term refers to the religious potentates, their followers, henchmen and loyalists, i.e. those of the sects of Sadducees, Pharisees and Herodians, who were in power over the Temple cult in the time of John and Yahshua.  This term does not refer to followers of the Jewish faith, or members of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin or Levi, in Yahshua’s time or our time.

[2] Yerushalayim, IerosolumônJerusalem.

[3] Leviim, leuitas – Levites; “priests, even Leviim” might be understood as “priests of the Levites” or “Levitical priests.”

[4] Yahweh’s roadhodon kuriou – translated directly from the Hebrew of Isaiah 40:3.

[5] Yeshayahu – aka Isaiah.

[6] P’rushim, farisaiôn – aka Pharisees.

[7] Beitanyah beyond the Yarden – “Bethany Beyond Jordan,” east of Jericho and the Jordan River, in the province of Perea.

[8] Yahweh’s Lambho amnos tou theou – translated in accordance with Numbers 6:12 and many other passages.      

[9] Sin is defined by the author as “the transgression of the Torah,” meaning the ordinances of Yahweh; 1 YahChannah-John 3:4.

[10] YsraelIsrael.

[11] Son of Yahwehhuios tou theou – “son of the Deity”— in this context, we translate tou theou as Yahweh, as this passage is a direct reference to Psalm 2:7 I will proclaim the decree of Yahweh: He said to me, "You are my son, today have I fathered you” (New Jerusalem Bible).

[12] Adam – Andreas – Andrew – Andrew was not at this time a name, but has the same meaning as the Hebrew Adamah, which is “a man.”  This is the first “man” to discover Yahshua after YahChannah (thus a kind of Adam) ands, since his brother’s name is not Greek but Hebrew (Shimon), it makes sense to consider that Andreas is actually Adamah.

[13] Shimon Kefa aka Shimon Cephas, or, in Greek, Simôn Kêfas Petros, Simon Peter, the “stone.”

[14] MashiachMessiah.

[15] AnointedChristos in Greek, which means smeared or anointed.

[16] Yochanan’s son – the “son” of the dunker, John the Baptist, a traditional way of referencing a student.

[17] The Galil is Galilee.

[18] Beit Tzaidah is Bethsaida.

[19] Can anything .. Natzeret – in other words, “how could anything good from Moses and the Prophets come from Natzeret, since the town is not mentioned in the Scripture?”

[20] deceptiondolos – deceit, guile, cunning, craftiness.  Natanael was the transparent man beneath the signature tree of Israel, the fig.

[21] restingontabeing.

[22] messengers of the elohimaggelous tou theou – a reference to Genesis 28:12, where theou is Hebrew elohim, referring to either “the mighty one of Israel” or to his divine realm.  Therefore elohim is left untranslated.  If Nathanael was a Hellenist (a Greek-speaking and cultured son of Israel, which the text makes clear he was not), we might have used “angels of the Deity” instead – a much ‘Greeker’ way of phrasing.

[23] Laurie Beth Jones, Jesus, CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership, p. 112,


[24] Maurice Nicoll defines Pharisee psychologically as “the inner state of man who acts only from external laws and prohibitions for the sake of appearances and feels merit in keeping them, in contrast with a man who acts genuinely from what is good.”  The New Man, 44.

[25] Iscariot is considered to be a jumbling of ishman (Aramaic) and sicariusmurderer (Latin).  Some zealots reported by Josephus were sicarii.  They would murder Romans, Herodians and others who stood against Israeli independence by secreting themselves in their victim’s houses and slicing them in their sleep.  The word derives from the type of curved blade used.

[26] The original poem, “The Goodly Fere” is by Ezra Pound, which I discovered in Wild At Heart, pp. 28,29. http://glowsister.spreadtheword.com/store/STWViewItem/asp/ISBN/0785268839/I/I

[27] 2 Timothy 4:5.