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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Garden (09/07/06)

TITLE: From Ear to Eternity in the Garden
By Lynda Lee Schab
09/10/06


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Something big was going down. All of my training had not prepared me for the anxiety I experienced as I marched toward the garden.

Okay, I’ll come clean: it was my first important assignment as servant of the high priest and I was terrified. Not so much of the job itself; I had no problem arresting somebody. It was WHO I was arresting that frightened me.

But I would never – EVER – say that out loud.

To the average person, the “who” was only a man named Jesus. However, since that night I am convinced he was not just a man, but the son of God Himself.

I had heard tales; who hadn’t? Stories of a simple Jewish carpenter recruiting a smattering of loyal disciples, going from town to town, creating controversy with his teachings. I’d also heard of miraculous healings that took place – even people raised from the dead!

Initially, I dismissed the reports as phooey but my wife was not so sure. And late at night, when we lay in bed, she would talk for hours about this man, Jesus, and how he was changing the world. My wife has a very convincing way about her and to my surprise – and dismay – I found myself beginning to believe too.

There was a slight problem, though. I am a Roman soldier. And if anyone so much as suspected I was less than one hundred percent loyal to the Roman government, I would be killed - no ifs, ands, or buts.

I was not an idiot; I did not want to die.

As we drew closer to the garden to seize Jesus and take him to be tried before Pontius Pilate, I attempted to put my conflicting emotions in check. I scolded myself for acting like such a woman by letting my feelings take control. I squared my shoulders and pushed my emotions aside.

Like a man.

“What’s wrong with you tonight, Claudius? You seem...anxious,” the guard beside me spoke without glancing in my direction.

“Nah...just thinking.” I focused my gaze straight ahead as I felt beads of perspiration materialize above my lip.

The guard Hmphed, “I'm thinking how I cannot wait to get my hands on that crazy man. We will see if he still proclaims to be the son of God after some sense is pounded into him.”

I remained silent. Sweat now trickled down my jaw line, even though the night was cool enough.

I had never actually seen Jesus in person but as we approached and I scoured the cluster of men, I knew instinctively which one he was, even before Judas Iscariott walked over and greeted him with the “kiss of death,” as we soldiers called it.

Then Jesus spoke, eyes and voice strangely calm. “Judas, how can you betray me, the Son of Man, with a kiss?”

Judas averted his eyes and retreated as we moved forward to seize him. I drew my sword but desperately hoped I would not have to use it.

Then, with a loud shout, some maniac burst forth with a sword of his own and before I knew what was happening, a pain like I have never felt pierced through my head. I brought my hand up and, in horror, felt only wet, sticky warmth where my ear should have been. Looking down at the ground, there it was, in the middle of a dark pool of blood.

Before I could faint, Jesus reprimanded his follower and quickly moved toward me. He reached down, recovered my ear, and brought it up to my head. As suddenly as it had been taken from me, it was given back.

Despite the fact that he was about to be arrested, that man-slash-Son of God, took the time to tend to me. Could there be any explanation other than he was exactly who he said he was?

Jesus is gone now, although many say he came back from the dead for a time. Recently, I visited the garden again – that olive grove where he healed me. While I was there, a determination rose up in me that I cannot explain. Although I am still working as servant to the high priest, I am concocting a plan to escape with my wife and children and follow after the men who walked and talked with Jesus.

I heard once that life began in a garden. And I can say that is exactly how mine began as well.


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This article has been read 1393 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 09/14/06
Loved the title and this last line: I heard once that life began in a garden. And I can say that is exactly how mine began as well." (the middle was good too!) One little "thingy" - Iscariot has only one "t". Good job.
Val Clark09/15/06
Great point of view! I really enjoyed this. Of course the one who lost his ear must have been left with a lot to think about. Delightful title. yeggy
Joanne Sher 09/16/06
I love to hear bible stories like this from different points of view. What a PERFECT title, too! This was so well-crafted, and definitely made me think about that guard - whom I doubt I had even given a passing thought before this! Very unique perspective. Loved it.
Marilyn Schnepp 09/18/06
Where to start? First, Great title! Then, a story about a man we don't think of often - but was healed that night in the garden. I laughed aloud at the "maniac" who came up and cut off his ear - (my favorite, Simon Peter!) Then I wept as I continued on. Just Awesome! So many emotions! Great job! Just fantastic, creative and I loved it! God Bless.
Jan Ross09/19/06
Very well done! I love this different POV of a familiar story. You captured the personal conflict of this soldier so well! Excellent from the title to the last word! God bless ...
Beth Muehlhausen09/19/06
Great re-telling of this story - very effective character study - and your ending is powerful! I love those last two sentences that stand alone to tell all. :-)
Donna Emery09/19/06
Very nice! Enjoyed the different viewpoint here. Well done.
Jan Ackerson 09/19/06
Good job with the updated, idiomatic voice here.
Amy Michelle Wiley 09/19/06
I love Biblical fiction, and this didn't disappoint. Good job!
Cheryl Harrison 09/20/06
I toyed with writing a story about this servant, but changed my mind. I'm glad I did. You did a wonderful job! Blessings!
Betty Castleberry09/20/06
This was moving. Loved the soldier's POV. Thank you.
Melanie Kerr 09/20/06
Excellent narrative! I liked the conversational style of your character.
Debbie Sickler09/20/06
I loved this. You took a very overdone story and made it fresh, keeping my attention all the way through. I especially liked the scolding himself for acting like a woman line. That cracked me up coming from a female author, but didn't distract from your great story, just enhanced it.
william price09/21/06
The title was almost too smart here. I was expecting a light piece, but was surprised by this wonderful story. Excellent writing. When I read it a second time, in the right mood, I enjoyed it even more. I guess I shouldn't judge a story by its title. It is a smart title, but maybe too cute for a piece of writing of this calibre. I'll be hoping this does well.
God bless.