Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: HONEST (05/31/18)
TITLE: A Case of Lies
By Nola Lorraine Passmore
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A short man in a flowing robe stood. ‘I do, your Honour. Melcanah of Bethsaida.’
‘You’re a long way from home, young man. What business do you have with the court?’
Melcanah cleared his throat. ‘I’ve come to seek justice for my aunt and uncle, whose lives were cut short in a most diabolical manner.’
‘And how did they die?’ the judge asked. ‘The sword? One of those good old-fashioned stonings you people seem to enjoy?’
‘By a word.’
The judge raised his bushy eyebrows.
‘It will soon become clear, your Honour. I call Peter to the stand.’
A hush fell over the spectators as the apostle took his place in the dock.
Melcanah glanced at the notes on his parchment. ‘My uncle Ananias was a generous man, was he not?’
Peter nodded. ‘He made a donation to our cause.’
‘A mere donation?’ Melcanah scoffed. ‘He sold property to top up your coffers.’
‘For distribution to the poor, yes.’
‘And yet you chastised him publicly for not giving more.’
‘It was not the size of the gift that was in question,’ Peter said. ‘He led us to believe he was offering the complete amount for the sale, yet he held a portion back for himself.’
Melcanah bounced on the balls of his feet. ‘It was his money. Didn’t he have a right to keep what he deemed fit?’
‘Indeed, he did,’ Peter said, ‘but he lied about it. He pretended he’d given all of the proceeds.’
‘And for this so-called crime, you spoke sorcery over him to strike him dead.’
‘It was no sorcery. Your uncle lied to the Holy Spirit. I merely proclaimed what the Spirit of God revealed to me.’
The judge leaned forward. ‘Mumbo-jumbo. How can a person deceive something as ephemeral as a spirit?’
‘But that’s the point, your Honour,’ Peter replied. ‘The Spirit of God cannot be deceived. He knows what we are thinking before it passes our lips.’
‘Does he know what I’m thinking now?’ the judge asked.
‘Yes, but I’m sure the thought of a bribe was just a passing one.’
The judge squirmed in his seat. ‘I don’t think we need go any further.’
Melcanah rushed forward. ‘But I haven’t finished, your Honour.’
‘Then proceed, but stick to the point.’
Melcanah paced up and down in front of Peter. ‘I suppose you had nothing to do with Aunt Sapphira’s demise either? Is it a coincidence that the gravediggers were already at your door when she fell down dead?’
‘I gave her a chance to tell the truth, but she rejected it.’
‘So you admit you murdered her?’
‘I merely pronounced God’s word over her. She put the Spirit of God to the test.’
‘And have you ever put this Spirit to the test? I suppose you’d have us believe you’ve never told a lie.’
Peter’s eyes brimmed with unshed tears. ‘On the contrary. After my Lord was arrested, I was asked three times if I knew him. Each time I denied it.’
‘Yet you went unpunished,’ Melcanah spat.
‘I assure you my conscience chastened me more than any sentence humankind might devise.’
‘Yet you live while my aunt and uncle died.’
‘Only because of God’s mercy.’
‘Mercy that was denied my kin. How is that fair?’
‘They were offered it just the same,’ Peter said. ‘They could have chosen the Word of Life over the father of lies. It’s a choice we all have to make.’
‘I’ve heard enough of this religious babble,’ the judge said. ‘The court finds that Peter has no case to answer.’ The sound of the gavel resounded through the courtroom.
Malcanah threw his hands in the air. ‘But what of my inheritance? No one will buy my aunt and uncle’s house or land from me. Their property has been tainted by their unfortunate deaths and no one will chance an association with it. Someone must pay.’
‘Someone already has,’ Peter said as he stepped from the dock. ‘Let me tell you about an inheritance that never fades.’
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