Friday, 23 March 2018

C Columns

'Feed My sheep' A fictional story based on a Biblical truth

By Barbara Fulcher 


Editor's note: The following is a work of fiction based on the Bible. 


Hey, kids! It's story time! 

This story is about Jared. He was a young boy who lived with his family in a little village in Galilee. It was close to the larger city of Capernaum, right on the shores of the sea. Jared spent a lot of time fishing in the Sea of Galilee. You see, Jared was a crippled boy. His left leg was crooked, and his back was hunched over to the right. He walked with pain every day, holding on to a crutch made of wood. His father had carved it from a branch of a fig tree, making it smooth so there were no splinters to hurt his son's hands. 

Well, Jared could not run and play with the other boys. But he could fish. Some of the boys would come and sit with Jared and he taught them how to lure the fish to the bait. It was fun to make a catch. But when the boys got bored, they would run away to other interests and leave Jared all alone. 

One day as Jared was sitting quietly on the shores of the lake, he heard some men talking. They were talking about Jesus, saying that He crossed the sea and was in Capernaum. About that time the group of Jared's friends came up. They said, “Have you heard that Jesus is in Capernaum? Everybody is talkin' about Him. We are goin' to go see Him. Want to come along?” Jared hesitated. He looked at his crooked leg. He felt helpless. The boys urged him. “Come on. When you can't walk we'll carry you.” 

Jared was thrilled. He had just caught two fish. He said, “I must go home first, but I will meet you in one hour here at the dock.” An agreement was made — Jared was going with the gang of boys to see Jesus. He had not heard much about this Man, but he was excited about going with the boys. 

Jared hobbled home. Yes, that was the best he could do was hobble. When he got there he was so excited to tell his mother that the boys had invited him to go with them to see Jesus. His mother said, “Oh, Jared, I don't know. There will be such a large crowd. Do you think you can keep up with the boys?”  “Oh yes, Mother. They promised to carry me.” 

Well, Jared was so excited his mother said, “Okay, but let me cook your fish and I have five barley loaves. I will make you a lunch.” About that time his father came home. He questioned the decision, but when he saw the excitement in Jared's eyes, he said, “I will help you to the dock.” 

When they got there the boys were waiting. There was Simeon, Josh, Ashdad, Ezekiel, and Aaron. Simeon was tall and straight and strong. He was the leader. He assured Jared's father that they would take care of Jared. In fact Simeon had brought with him an old blanket. He had cut slits in either end. He had laced the ends of the slits with a strong cord so that the blanket would not tear. He told Josh to put his head through one of the slits. Then he had Zeek put his head through the other slit. The old blanket sat firmly on their shoulders. Simeon and Ashdod lifted Jared up and set him in the sling. They laughed. Simeon said, “Here, Aaron, carry Jared's lunch. Let's go!” Jared's father stood there amazed at the ingenuity of these boys. He bowed his head and praised Jehovah God. 

The boys chattered as they headed toward Capernaum. Sometimes they walked on dry ground. But other times they would slip off their sandals and walk in the cool waters of the lakeshore. They would take turns carrying Jared. They made jokes. They laughed. They told stories. They laughed. They did tricks. They laughed. Josh said, “Watch this!” He ran and did a perfect cartwheel. The only problem was his hands landed in the soft mud and he went KER-SPLAT right down in the water. The boys got so tickled and laughed so hard they almost dropped Jared. Josh got up, washed the mud from his hands and then danced around in the cool breeze to dry off. It was so much fun! 

Now they noticed many people were not traveling toward Capernaum. But they were avoiding the city, leaving the lake and traveling toward the hills. The boys stopped. “Are you going to see Jesus?” Simeon asked a man passing by. The man slowed down and answered, “Yes, do you know He walked on water? Do you know He does miracles? Do you know He heals people?” Then the man hurried away. The boys were stunned. They followed the crowd. 

Now the crowd of people was thickening. They could no longer swing Jared between them, so they put him down. Jared grabbed his crutch to stand up. The boys wanted to get closer to Jesus. But the crowd was shoulder to shoulder. However, boys can push their way through. And they did. They forgot Jared. They got right to the front of the crowd. They could see Jesus. They could hear Him. 

Jesus was talking. He said, “I am the good Shepherd. You are the sheep of my pasture.” The boys looked at each other puzzled. Zeek gave a little muffled 'Baa-aa'. The boys got so tickled that they had to stifle their giggles. But then they started to seriously listen. Jesus talked of love, of forgiveness. They watched Him as He healed a blind man. They listened as He forgave a man of evil deeds. They were mesmerized by His words. They could not keep their eyes off of Him. 

Then they noticed Jesus' close friends were talking quietly to Him. They could not hear what they were saying. Then Ashdod said, “I think they are talking about lunch. I know! Jesus is hungry!” Simeon spoke up, “Aaron, do you still have Jared's lunch?” “Yeah, I tied it to my belt. Let's give it to Jesus!” The boys got up. They were so excited that they could help Jesus. They ran forward. Simeon said, “Jesus, we have a lunch for you.” 

Jesus looked at them. Oh! His eyes! It was as though He was looking right through the boys. Suddenly they felt a guilt they had never felt before. Thoughts were whirling around in their minds. The lunch! It was Jared's lunch! It was not theirs. Jared? Where was Jared? Where did we leave him? What have we done? They fell on their knees before Jesus. They were all mumbling, “We are sorry. So sorry!” And then Simeon felt himself saying, “Please forgive us.” 

When they looked up, Jesus' eyes were full of understanding. Jesus' face was kind and full of love for the boys. He said, “Jared is safe.” How did He know? Then Jesus said, “You are forgiven.” They felt as if they could fly — the guilt was gone. Then Simeon said, “You know! I don't know how You know, but You know. Where is Jared?” 

As they stood there, not knowing which way to go or where to look, the crowd started to separate. They watched in amazement as a path was being formed with people on either side. Way back at the end of the path stood Jared on his crutch. He started hobbling forward. The boys were speechless. Their eyes wide with relief. They wanted to run to him, but they could not move. Jesus was watching Jared. Jared started to straighten his back. He was taller. He could feel strength flowing to his crooked leg. He was standing. He was walking. He was walking toward Jesus. He dropped his crutch. He was running. He was running toward Jesus! He fell on his knees in front of Jesus and was crying, “I am healed! I can walk! I can run! Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Jesus!” 

Jesus looked at Jared and said, “Serve Me.” Then he looked at the boys, saying, “I am not hungry. The people are hungry.” He reached down and picked up the lunch of two fish and five loaves. He sent His disciples forward to divide the crowd into groups of 50 each. 

Then He lifted His eyes to heaven and blessed Jared's lunch. Suddenly there was food everywhere. Jesus said, “Feed the people.” The boys grabbed baskets of food and scattered to distribute it among the crowd. There was enough for everybody. And some left over. Jesus told the boys to eat their fill. When they had finished eating, Jesus knelt down beside them and said, “Go. Feed My sheep.” 

Christian Living Magazine


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