This is my first ever short story. I wrote it for a creative Christian writing class that I took in January of 2013. It is more of an Easter story but Christ’s death and resurrection was the reason for His birth and it has been put on my heart to share it in this Christmas season. Thanks for reading it.
“I can’t believe we just did that!” Shouted Jordan.
“That was the coolest thing that I have done, EVER. What in the world got in to you?” chirped an excited Pete.
“I don’t know,“ said Jordan, “We were just sitting down listening to him speak and I had this really strong feeling that we were supposed to go to him. It was SO COOL, especially when those guys tried to stop us.”
“No kidding.” interrupted Pete, “What was it that he said when those guys tried to stop us?”
“Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Grumped in Matt “That is what he said, it’s like he thinks that he is God or something. What a nutcase.”
“Matt,” exclaimed Pete, “you totally should have come with us! It was epic! I have never felt such an incredible hug in my life. It was the greatest love that I have ever felt, the way he held us in his arms… it was just…oh man, …you should have come with us Matt.”
“No way, you saw my dad standing over there with his friends. He would have killed me if I went up there. Besides, my dad knows the law and he teaches me the law, and that guy up there is crazy-he’s a lunatic.”
“I don’t know, Matt. He sure speaks like he has authority. We have all been around the synagogues but I have never heard anybody speak like that before!,” exclaimed Jordan.
The three of them were inseparable. They had been best friends since they were three years old. It was not at all uncommon for them to hang out, play and talk until late into the evening. After spending several hours reliving the day they decided to go home and sleep. Pete and Jordan were still glowing with enthusiasm after getting to meet Jesus.
Matt, on the other hand was half playfully making fun of them. “Come on“, he would say, “you can’t really believe all of that nonsense that he was saying. And what did he mean about being delivered to the chief priests? I hope he gets delivered to them, my dad will lock him up for good.”
Exhausted from the long day and feeling compassionate, Jordan sighed “Oh Matt, you should have come with us. I don’t care who your dad is and neither would you if you could have felt the intense power that was in the hug. I am forever changed!”
“See you guys later…I am going to bed” yawned a drowsy Pete.
“Good night” replied Matt and Jordan as they too headed to their homes to get some much needed shut-eye.
The three friends never forgot that day. Jordan and Pete glowed with excitement whenever they talked about it. Matt however, didn’t really care other than it was the day that his best friends’ lives changed. He still thought Jesus was crazy. The truth is, Matt’s father hated Jesus and wanted him dead. Matt couldn’t understand how his dad, who loved him so much, could hate Jesus so much. Nor could he understand how his friends never stopped talking about that hug. How could they worship this outrageous man and call him the Messiah?
Matt walked down the trail to the lake and saw Pete and Jordan crying intensely and hugging.
“What’s wrong guys?” He queried.
Using all the strength he could muster, Jordan yelled “Your dad and his friends had Jesus killed.”
Matt’s heart instantly turned hard. “So?” he scoffed at them “He was just a bum. What’s the big deal? You met him once, three years ago, and now you are crying as if your dad died.”
Jordan pummeled Matt with rage.
“How dare you say that about Jesus!” he shouted “He is the Messiah and YOUR dad crucified him!”
Pete restrained Jordan from throwing more punches while Matt got up and brushed the dust off of his clothes.
“I am sorry he hit you” Pete cried “but I don’t think you know what you are saying.”
“Whatever” said Matt as he glared at Jordan, “I can’t believe you would hit me. I hope that lunatic is worth losing our friendship over.“
“I’m out of here” Matt shouted over his shoulder and ran back up the trail.
For the next several weeks Matt stayed away from Pete and Jordan. He would often go to the lake by himself to blow off steam. He found skipping rocks helped him calm down and relax. He was furious that Pete and Jordan believed Jesus was the messiah and always called him God.
“God wouldn‘t have died“ he would yell out when he was alone at the lake. “How can anybody believe in that nonsense?”
Despite his anger, Matt often thought about Pete and Jordan’s claim that Jesus rose from the dead. “What a bunch of garbage. Nobody comes back from the dead. I saw Jesus”, he snarled “He was just like every other wing nut.”
Pete and Jordan often pursued Matt but it was a one way street. Matt made sure to keep his distance. Pete and Jordan missed their best friend and once stopped him long enough for Jordan to apologize for hitting him but Matt just mocked them and their faith.
With broken hearts, Pete and Jordan went up the hill to the spot where they felt Jesus’ arms wrapped around them. They basked in the memories of Jesus and knew Jesus was the Christ. They wholeheartedly believed Jesus was the promised Messiah. The two friends would also take time to pray for their friend who they dearly missed.
“Heavenly Father, we know that you sent Jesus to die for our sins and we are so thankful for your grace and for your son’s willingness to go to the cross for us, to be a perfect sacrifice for our sins. We love you and worship you. Today we come before you asking for you to soften Matt’s heart, please God, help Matt to see the light, help him to know that you love him and will forgive him if he asks. God we are begging, please return our friend to us. We know that through you all things are possible and we know that you hear the desires of our hearts. In Jesus’ holy name we pray, Amen.”
Another week went by and Matt’s attitude had not changed at all but the prayer for him continued. One day while he was headed down to the lake he saw Pete and Jordan.
“Hey Matt, we miss you. Come hang out with us up on the hill” called Jordan.
“I don’t go to the hill anymore. Why bother. You just want to relive that dumb fairy tale.“ snarled Matt “…no thanks. I’ll be just fine staying away from that place.”
Matt put his head down and continued on his way down the trail to the lake.
Once Matt got to the lake he began his routine of searching for perfect skipping stones and griping about Jesus. Matt yelled and blamed him for ruining his life and for brainwashing his friends. While he was yelling and spitting out insults he suddenly heard a voice come from off in the distance.
“Who are you yelling at?”
Startled, Matt flinched and jumped around. He saw a stranger a little ways down the shoreline. “Mind your own business” barked Matt.
Ignoring Matt’s rude tone the stranger walked toward him. The whole time he too was searching for perfect skipping stones to toss out into the lake.
“What are you doing? Can’t you tell I don’t want you here?” Matt was clearly not happy about this man walking towards him.
“Why are you so angry? Why are you yelling at Jesus? Is he here?”
“No, he’s dead.”
“Are you sure?” questioned the stranger. “Why are you so mad at him anyway?”
Full of angst Matt growled “He ruined my life. That lunatic hugged my two best friends and now that’s all they talk about. They say his hug was love-filled, they say that he rose from the dead. They even claim that people have seen him since he supposedly rose from the dead. They say that he took the sins of the world to the cross, whatever that means, but I know that NO MAN rises from the dead.”
Matt paused to pick up his first stone, a near perfect skipping stone, and gently lobbed it into the lake. As angry as he was he had to smile because he just set a personal record -17 skips.
The stranger also smiled at Matt’s beautiful throw. “Excellent Skip!” He exclaimed.
“Thanks.” Matt began to feel lighter; different than he had ever felt before. The Stranger was only a few feet away now. Matt eyed another nearly flawless skipping stone. He picked it up and again, effortlessly chucked it into the lake…19 skips this time.
“Wow! Did you see that? That was my best skip ever?”
“I know.” said the stranger. “That was a great throw.”
“What are you doing down here?” asked a puzzled Matt.
Skipping his stone the Stranger said, ”I am here to meet someone who I dearly love.”
Matt did not really hear the man’s answer, he was too in awe of the strangers skip. “40 skips!.. WOW! That was awesome!”
“Thank you.” smiled the stranger, “Do you come down to the lake often?”
“Yes I do. It’s how I try to relax. I have been so mad lately. You know what,” vented Matt, “I would like to experience what my friends did. I would like to feel God’s hug but I want to feel it from the real God not the guy they saw. Besides Jesus was crucified. And like I said already, NO MAN rises from the dead.” The whole time Matt said this he was looking for another stone to skip.
Suddenly Matt felt overwhelmed with love. It was the most perfect love that he had ever felt.
As Matt was having this thought he realized that the stranger was standing right beside him and he had his left arm around Matt then reaching over with his right hand he put the third stone, a perfect stone, in Matt’s hand. Just as Matt took the stone he noticed the scar on both sides of the stranger’s hand, he quickly glanced at the stranger’s feet and noticed scars there as well. He started to cry tears of embarrassment and remorse. Through the tears he managed to say “I’m sorry, please forgive me, I know that you are Jesus, the son of God”
Jesus hugged him even tighter and said “You are forgiven and I will see you again soon.” Then Jesus disappeared.
Matt stood quietly by himself staring at this perfect shaped rock. As he was looking at it, he noticed two marks, one on each side of the rock both exactly in the center. Right then he knew that this third stone was to be kept as a reminder of the grace that he received at the lake.