(This is a poetic-didactic story similar to and inspired by John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and The Life and Death of Mr. Badman. I’m writing it primarily for my family, but would you like me to complete this and publish it? Please comment if you wish. Thank you. The Lord bless it to your hearing.).
There was a man once who came to our town
who destroyed, to us, what seemed safe and sound.
With loud cries and tears he roamed all around,
and with his preaching turned the world upside down.
“I am one sent as the Lord’s town crier,
to urge you to turn or be burned in the fire!
I speak on the authority of my Sire,
if you heed not His word you’ll die on the pyre!”
Men marveled, men gasped,
one even collapsed.
One peered, since he heard it, through a dark glass
to see all the ruckus now coming to pass.
This man was a Stooge in the house of spears,
a Stooge, as you know, is low, without peers.
What he heard from the man confirmed his worst fears,
and he felt as if his heart was just pierced.
The man still standing, the Gospeller, by name,
roared as a lion that cannot be tamed,
“This word that I bring you in the King’s name
is really good news, though you’re to blame!
‘The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,’
we’re made in the image of God above.
Our first father sinned, transgressing His law,
and death came to us all through his fall.
Out of God’s presence, out of His favorable sight,
now we’ve by Him been counted as rebels, not right.
Unrighteous on record and hating His light,
we’re all good for nothing, we’re unfit for life.
And though we’ve all stolen and killed at heart,
and God would be just to tear us apart,
He’s made a way that His justice still smart
One in our place, and yet give all the love of His heart!”
At this the Stooge trembled, speechless, aghast.
His secret sins were open at last.
He was an angry man guilty of heart-murder.
Coming outside now he listened further.
“The King has a fine Son with His own Nature,
eternal, immortal, incapable of failure.
He sent Him down to do what only He could,
never sinning, only doing what we should.
He lived all His days doing His duty,
impartial, He taught the way of God truly.
You and I are not worthy to carry His shoes,
yet for our sake that God-Man was bruised.
He was sent, not just to live, but die in our stead,
to wash away our sins, on the cross Jesus bled.
The infinite wrath of God fell on His head,
He offered Himself up until He was dead.
But, just as He said, three days later He rose!
He was resurrected and thus conquered His foes:
sin, Satan, death, and the Law’s dreadful woes.
Repentant, believing sinners, He atoned for just those!
Now He offers, as the risen King of all kings,
forgiveness of sins and freedom from all things
from which you could not be freed by the Law.
You must only believe it, trust Him, and that’s all.”
The Stooge, as soon as he heard it,
was, that hour, soundly converted.
Not for any eloquent way it was worded,
nor for his spirit, though he was earnest;
For though the good man, the Gospeller, plead,
before now the Stooge was but dead.
Outside he lived, he had a good head,
but inside, not flesh, but a stone-heart instead.
But right then, just there, at this blessed hour
the Lord attended his preaching with power.
He issued a call to his soul from His throne
that was destined to bless him, address him, hit home.
Oh, you should have seen the smile on his face,
when that moment he tasted God’s grace!
Christ came to His heart, not to judge, but instead
to cleanse and pardon, freeing conscience from dread.
With that peace, he shouted, “I believe!”
The good man said, “What! Do you really believe?”
“With all my heart I do!” And they fell to their knees.
Weeping and hugging, he cried, “I’m finally free!”
The Gospeller stood him up and held firm,
“Do you mean to live for Him?” he sounded concerned.
“Will you go that hard way? Are you willing to learn?”
“I’ll give Him all I got,” he replied, “still more He deserves.”
“Well, come now,” the man said, “follow me a little way,
down to the river, if the good news you obey.”
“What for?”, he asked, “Should I do so today?”
“For baptism. Indeed! If you believe, then why wait?”
So, as they started down the way now like brothers,
they began to talk and discourse with each other.
“I am the Gospeller, sir. What may I call you?”
“I am the Stooge, good sir.” He said true.
St.: “Sir, though I am zealous to bathe in the water,
I feel I could sing and rejoice in God as my Father;
I feel there is a spring welling up in me.
I was caught in my transgressions, but now I am free!”
Gosp.: “Let’s sing then!”
Both: “Oh, of free grace, I sing to Jehovah,
Not of freewill, no, no, not that;
He cut my shackles and saved me, moreover,
Pours love in me by His mighty hand.
Marred, in the dark, was His image near lost,
I had no eye to see His decree;
My ransom paid and drawn to the cross,
I found out His mercies by Him finding me!
The evil man is snared within his transgression,
Bound to sin are his thoughts, feelings, choices;
But by free grace, not freewill, I’s chosen,
So the righteous man sings and rejoices!”
As they thus sung of God’s ways and dealings,
all around them seemed to echo their feelings.
The trees clapped in approval and leafs rejoiced.
A new radiance was seen which once went unnoticed.
St.: “Ah, brother, do you see this beauty?
I never saw the world like this before!
The lily’s more lovely, the roses are ruby,
the earth seems to me, now, to yield much more!
Gosp.: “True, dear friend, with new eyes you see this.
But how much more fair a Rose is Jesus!
‘O black flowers, and black lilies and roses,
but O fair, fair, even fair Lord Jesus!’ (John Flavel)
St.: “Still true – and of kind, not degree!
But, sir, please tell me, how do we see
the loveliness of Jesus, of Galilee or Calvary,
in the Old Testament’s gallery?
Gosp.: “Be sure, as a babe, you drink from both breasts
of the milk of God’s word in both testaments.
The early church only had the first (with apostles’ doctrine).
But let me answer you with a picture of walking…
Down an unfamiliar road you tread,
watching the signposts, but filled with dread,
for in the way there is darkness and gloom;
only keeping to the signs avoids doom.
But suddenly the sun rises and illumines the ground,
you hear a voice call you, so you turn back around.
It’s Jesus! – you’re heart leaps and burns within you
as He guides you down the same road with light in you.
‘Moses wrote of Me’, as He takes you one turn,
showing you promises and sacrifices to burn.
Jesus stands next to Adam to contrast and compare,
this pattern is repeated ’till the way is prepared.
After the law was given and repeatedly shattered,
sin, death, and Satan were evidently man’s masters.
Who but the faithful Creator, King Jesus,
from these powers could ultimately free us?
Joshua cast out Canaanites, Jesus cast out demons;
the law brought death, the law of the Spirit of life, freedom;
Job and Joseph and the prophets were patient,
but Jesus, the Prophet-Priest-King, is greater!
So, Galilee and Calvary are there in foreshadows.
We don’t have to make Jesus force out of it.
You’re eyes are unveiled since you turned to the Lord,
so go see His glory fully displayed in the word!”
St.: “My, my; dear me, I must say!
Mr. Minister in town never taught that way!
He taught the Bible was of man, a mere story,
to make us say and do well on our own way to ”glory.”
Gosp.: And how many poor souls does he turn from heaven,
who might have had ears to hear, if not for his leaven!
For lack of the gospel good preaching is gone,
but God’s bow is taught and His sword is drawn.
This Balaam speaks like a donkey indeed!
I pray no one hears him and no one pays heed.
While I have life and breath and being,
be sure, the gospel of Christ, I’ll keep preaching.”
Just off the path, just off to the side,
stood a proud man who inhaled and then lied.
Liar: “What fine talk you have as you go.
But tell me, dear friends – surely you know –
why believe all you do, when nothing is true?
Why not call true, then, what just fits for you?”
Gosp.: “Stand back, Stooge. I’ll answer this fool
according to his folly.” He turned, “In your view,
you presuppose truth exists when you use
definite statements with words that construe
exactly what you intend to communicate;
you expect us to understand – but just wait –
this truth is objective, outside yourself,
but you’d rather let that book stay on the shelf –“
Liar: “Oh, the Bible! A contradiction indeed!”
Gosp.: “I was actually referring to a book we all read,
God’s book of creation, with three giant leaves:
the heavens, the earth, and even the seas.
But the fact that you say, ‘contradiction,’
is you yourself making a contradiction:
you borrow logic completely inconsistent
with your worldview…but not with mine it isn’t.”
There was silence while each blinked and looked upon him,
then a bear robbed of her cubs suddenly mauled him!
The two brothers ran from the Liar lying dead,
delivered from trouble that came to the wicked instead.
St.: “What do you think became of that man?
Is there a slim chance he was saved and not damned?
Maybe he cried to the Lord in his heart,
his soul now spared though his body’s torn apart.”
Gosp.: “There is no doubt in my mind that he fell
and sank down to the dark pit of hell.
David says that his enemies in Psalm 18:4,
found no mercy though they cried to the Lord.”
To be continued?