Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Lock and Key (08/21/14)
TITLE: The Captive's Redeemer
By Diane M. Bowman
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With head hung low and arms even lower, the pathetic creature couldn't have been an inch over four feet. The chains the old man struggled to drag undoubtedly weighed half as much as he did himself. I gazed at him expecting to feel pity but instead found myself recoiling. Every fiber of my being wanted to flee from this person. What need did I have to fear him? He would hardly be able to walk if it wasn't for the soldiers prodding him along.
The crowd around me stood in absolute silence while the man stumbled down the street. As he grew closer, he looked me in the eye and I heard him mutter a few words. Suddenly, I knew. I knew that voice. I knew those eyes. That voice had called me away from God and held me captive all too long.
Is this the man who shook the earth, the one who made kingdoms tremble? Is this the one who made the world like a desert, who ruined its cities, and refused to free his prisoners so they could return home? How could he have deceived so many into thinking he was strong? At last, he has fallen to the depths of destruction.As the soldiers led the pitiful man away, I could hear cries coming from the pit where they were taking him. The voice of every evil ruler who had ever lived called out. "Are you now as weak as we are? Your splendor has descended to the world of the dead. You will sleep on maggots and be covered with worms."
As he shuffled away towards his self-inflicted doom, the crowd along the street began to celebrate. "Our tyrant has been judged. His aggression is over. Our God has divested the evil one of his power."
All creation relaxed, grew still, and then burst into songs of praise. I'm confident I even heard the trees exclaiming how marvelous it felt to be free.
I heard the tone of the crowd change from the joyful sounds of celebration to the quieter tones of awe and love. Another man was approaching. He could not have been more different from the first pitiful wretch. Seated on a white horse, dressed in gold, he wore a victor's crown.
I turned and stared. This was not a just a man. I didn't need to hear the words of the crowd. I didn't need to see them fall at his feet. I didn't need to hear his voice, or even look in his eyes. Just as before, I knew. This man was the one who set me free, the one who redeemed me.
Every fragment of his countenance radiated with righteousness, justice, mercy, and love. When he spoke - and somehow, he had time to speak to each person he passed - the memory of the day I first heard his voice flooded my mind. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has commissioned me to preach the good news, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim deliverance to the captives."
As he drew nearer, my heart began to pound with excitement and anticipation. What would he say to me? I'd heard his voice through his word and in my heart many, many times but now, I would hear it audibly.
The white stallion carried him closer as he spoke to each person, and then the moment I yearned for all my life finally came.
His eyes met mine and I could feel his love penetrate my soul. "I have the key of David. When I shut a door, no man can open it. When I open a door, it is beyond the power of any to close it. I know your efforts. You have a little strength and you have not denied my name. You have kept my word. Now, look, I have set before you an open door, which no man can shut."
I wanted to respond but could not. I fell to my knees before him.
Before he continued on his way, he looked down at me and added one more blessing, "I will protect you in the hour of temptation. Cling to my promises and refuse to surrender your crown of victory."
Scriptural basis for this story is located in Isaiah 14:3-17 NET, Luke 4:18 KJV, and Revelation 3:7-10 KJV. You will find a few direct quotes and paraphrases in the account.
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