The Great Trial
It was cold and dark in the prison. The floor was wet and rats scurried in and out of the cracks of the stone walls. I shivered and tried to cover my freezing body with the gray ragged prison clothes I wore. I looked down at my hands and saw the dirt and grime that covered them. But such was my whole body. It was covered with grime and dirt. If you had seen me two years ago you would have never thought that I would be in a prison. I had lived a perfectly normal life. My life had seemed wonderful before. I did what I wanted to do and no one never told me what to do. I lived my life as if I was the only thing that mattered. I had been selfish and rather mean to those around me. But all the time I had thought that I was something important.
I had been proud and conceded. I began doing things that were wrong and soon I was engulfed in everything that was bad. In doing so I ended up being put in chains and entering prison. Glancing down at the shackles that covered my wrists and ankles, I wanted to cry but for some unknown reason I couldn't. Perhaps it was because I had cried so many tears already that there wasn't any left. Wrapping my arms around myself I curled up in the corner of the prison cell on the cold and wet floor. My heart was pounding and I longed for someone to come and rescue me. Although I knew I didn't deserve to be rescued. It was my own fault that I was in the frightening prison cell. If I had listened to my parents and to others, to God, then I wouldn't have been in that prison cell. Oh yes, I had been warned but I had refused to listen. Now I was completely alone and in pain and suffering.
My life had been a disaster and now all hope seemed lost. My trial was tomorrow and I had no one, no one to defend me or to try and stop my execution. But I knew I deserved what I was getting but at the same time I prayed for a rescuer to come. It seemed so impossible that someone would care about me enough to pardon me of the terrible crimes I had committed. I knew there was no such person but still I clung to that hope.
Outside I could hear rain falling and I wondered if it would be raining on the day of my trail. It would be perfect if it was. A gray sky and falling rain would certainly be the right mood for such a day.
Soon I heard footsteps echoing throughout the prison walls and they grew closer. As I watched a man appeared with a tray of food in his hands. It had been a very long time since I had eaten. I was expecting it to be crusty bread and some water but it wasn't. On the tray was a roll and a piece of ham along with a cup of fresh water. I looked up at the man and he only smiled as he opened the cell door and place the tray of food on the floor in front of me. I grew afraid and covered my head with my hands.
I then felt the man's hand upon my arm and I slowly look up into his eyes.
"Fear not," was the only words he said and then he turned and left the cell.
I watched him go and then looked down at the tray of food. Upon the tray was a single red rose and I picked it up. Lifting it to my nose I smelled of its sweet fragrance and for the first time I smiled. But then I began to wonder who that mysterious man was. It had been a very long time since someone had shown me kindness. To be honest I didn't expect to be shown kindness for I had never shown kindness really to anyone. Oh I had been nice to people and offered a 'helping hand' but only so people would look at me and say "Now that is a good boy. I wish more teenagers would be like him."
Thinking about how I had acted before I had come to prison saddened my heart and I grew ashamed. Ashamed of all the terrible things I had done and of my very own being. I deserved to be executed and to die for I had done enough damage on the earth and I didn't want to do anymore.
I fell asleep that night laying on the cold wet floor holding the red rose in my hands lightly. My dreams were filled with fear and terror of my trial that was the next day. I saw myself being drug away to a terrible and darker place than the prison. In fear I cried out and tears trailed down my dirt stained face in the prison cell that night. I longed for a comforting hand to reach out and touch me but no one came. I raised up off the floor when I finally woke. Beads of sweat clung to my dirty forehead and I looked up at the mildewed ceiling of the prison cell and I cried.
"Oh God please help me! I'm unworthy of Your help but Lord I need You! I'm wicked and I've let myself be put here in this terrible place," I cried out.
The next morning I woke up and glanced around the dirty prison cell. Today was the day that my trail would take place. I took the red rose and held it in my hands as I heard footsteps coming down the stone stairs to my cell. Two men appeared dressed in black and one opened the cell door and came over to me. He grabbed my arm and pulled me up roughly. Both men stood by my side as they took my up the stairs and outside into the cold rain. Having been in prison for so long the light of the outside world almost blinded me. I squinted my eyes as we walked along to the great courtroom. It looked frightening as its shadow towered over me. I wanted to run and to escape but I knew that wasn't possible.
The two guards led me inside and we walked up the aisle of the courtroom. People were sitting in the seats and they all turned to stare at me. I felt utterly wretched for I knew how filthy I was and I felt embarrassed. The guards placed me in a stand that was next to the most high judge. I glanced over and was surprised to see that the high judge was the kind man that had brought me the tray of food! I glanced down at the red rose in my hands and then back up at the judge. He looked at me with compassion and smiled.
Soon the court was in session. Everyone grew silence as a man dressed in a white robe spoke.
"We here find the defendant guilty of pride, lying, cheating, stealing, hating, disobeying his loving parents, but most of all we find him guilty of sinning against the most high One," the man in the white robe said.
I cringed at the man's words for I knew everything I had been accused of I had done.
"Do you, Matthew, plead guilty or not guilty of the crimes of which you have accused?" the high judge asked me.
I looked up at him and then I looked back at the group of people watching me and awaiting my response. I knew that I was guilty and it broke my heart to finally realize what a terrible person I was.
"Yes, I am guilty of all the accusations and much more. I am worthy of death," I said as tears streamed down my face.
The most high judge looked at me and there was such compassion and kindness in his eyes. And for a moment I thought I saw a shimmer of tears in his eyes.
"Most high judge we believe that this young man should be executed for his wicked deeds," the man in the white robe said.
With his eyes straight forward the most high judge spoke.
"I, the judge, pardon this young man for everything he has done and been accused of," the most high judge said.
I looked up at him surprised and confused.
"But judge, I have been a terrible person and I am worthy of death. I don't deserve a pardon," I said with tears falling down my cheeks.
"I know. You have been a terrible person but. . .I forgive you of everything you have ever done. It will forever be erased from my memory. Because of your honesty and your realization of what you have been, which was a sinner, I forgive you," the most high judge said.
"But. . .I don't understand. Why. . .would you pardon and forgive me?" I asked.
"Because I love you. Not the person that who have been but the person you are on the inside now. I love you, Matthew," the most high judge said smiling.
"I died for you so that you could have eternal life. But first you must repent and realize that you have sinned against me. And the only way you can do that is if I show you that you have been a sinner and I did. Now you are forgiven," the most high judge said.
When the most high judge spoke those words suddenly the shackles and chains that bound me were broken. The filthy prison clothes that were on me disappeared and I was covered with a white robe. My entire body was rid of the dirt and grime of sin that had once covered me and held me captive. I felt such a peace sweep into my heart and I felt like a completely different person. I was set free and all of the terrible things that I had done were erased from the memory of the most high judge and all he saw when he saw me was his adopted son that was now cleansed and pure. When he sees me he sees the one he saved and loves. He loves me for he tells me so.
He saved me that day of the great trial and I have never forgotten him for he is in my heart and he walks with me. And he will continue to walk with me always and he will never leave me, that is his promise to me and I will forever love and praise him for as long as I shall live.