Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Pros and Cons (08/14/14)
TITLE: Now or Never
By John Esposito
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Earlier in the day the men were arrested for trying to throw the city into an uproar. The magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. It’s been a while since I’ve seen anyone flogged so severely as these two men. They had huge welts across their backs and legs. After everyone had left I saved the bread from my dinner and shared it with them and then gave them some water to drink.
I knew they were innocent and I didn’t feel right making them sit down on the cold damp cement floor with their feet in the stocks. I don’t know much about this man they called Jesus. I do know that whoever was with him had these special powers. I have heard that he healed many people and even brought some back from the dead. Times are changing and people should listen to them and others like them.
Physically they were beaten, but spiritually they couldn’t be broken. They began to pray and some of the other prisoners were listening and chanting themselves. Then about midnight they began praying again and singing hymns to God. Now all of the prisoners were listening to them. The lights were now out and the jail became filled with a joyous noise. I’ll just sit and listen for a while and maybe I’ll be able to rest my eyes a bit.
I must have dozed off for a minute or two and was awaked by a violent earthquake that shook the whole prison. The sound was thunderous and things were shaking and falling over. Then all at once the jail cell doors flew open. And I don’t mean just opened up, I mean they swung back and slammed against the bars and even bent some of them.
As I walked over to the cells it was hard to see with the moon shining through one the higher windows. I assumed everyone had escaped and now faced being arrested myself and possibly being put to death for allowing this to happen. I panicked, and so not to shame my family I drew my sword and was about to kill myself when I heard someone yell out, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
Shaking and confused I lit one of the nearby lanterns, and then rushed into the cell. Paul and Silas were still there along with the rest of the prisoners. Both men were smiling. Still trembling I fell to my knees before them both and asked, “Sirs what must I to do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
In that split second I lost all authority. I had to choose between life or death. I had to decide between my faith or the law. In that split second I had to weigh the pros and cons and try and balance out the scale. It was now or never and had to decide, and I had to decide now! It was really good to see Paul standing there grinning when I opened my eyes.
Looking around, one by one the prisoners began to close their cell doors. Yelling, “Go with these men and free yourself. We will stay till morning and tell them what happened here.” Walking home I though to myself that this had to be an act of God. The rest of the town was fine. The ground only shook under the jail.
When we got to my home they spoke the word of the Lord to me again, and to all the others that were in the house that night. After they were done speaking we cared for and washed their wounds. Everyone there was immediately baptized.
My family and my home became engulfed by the Spirit. We all sat down and shared a meal together. I was so filled with joy because I had come to believe in the Lord and my family also. I have never felt so alive then I did that night. Amen!
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