This series is a grouping of fictional sketches of various characters Jesus might have met during His time on earth. Though these characters aren’t all real, they could have been.
The story of Jesus’ ministry and time on earth is rich in events of every day living. Some stories are in the Bible, some are made up, but I’m trying to imagine what it would be like to live in that time and actually meet the Son of God – face to face.
ABNER – A RICH, YOUNG MAN
I am a man of wealth. I’m also Jewish and a Roman citizen. Some would say I was born with a silver chalice in my mouth. I was an only child, so I guess you could say I was spoiled or pampered. My family followed all the traditions of the Jewish religion. We kept the law of Moses to perfection. The commandments of God were drilled into us each Sabbath at the temple. I had it all. I was wealthy beyond that of my friends. I wanted for nothing. I owned several horses, a chariot and a home of my own on my father’s property. All the furnishings were purchased in Rome and shipped to me. Being in the breadbasket of the world, it was a perfect place to access all the things necessary for survival and beyond.
I would often sit at my window and watch as each new religious fanatic passed by. There were many of them. I suppose the people were in need of something to hang onto. Many lived in squalor, some just got by and then there were the rich. I wasn’t under the thumb of the Roman government as long as I paid the taxes due and donated to various projects. It seemed that corruption was everywhere and even though I could pay my way through life, something was missing. Crime was at an all time high and even the Roman soldiers had difficulty controlling some of the mobs. It seemed that the law had no bearing anymore. I was doing fine, but those around me were experiencing life on a different level and there was nothing anyone could do to change that. The government, the city officials and leaders, even the higher ups in the church appeared to be the bad guys, while the average person was the recipient of this upside down lifestyle. It seemed if you had money, you could buy your way out of any situation. There was prejudice, hatred, fear, loneliness, theft, murder and an assortment of petty crimes everywhere.
One day a man named Jesus came to town. He brought with Him a group of His close friends. A massive crowd followed Him as He preached to both rich and poor. His voice reached my window and I had to hear more. Maybe this would be the answer to all my questions about the injustices occurring around me. I quickly joined the crowd, pushing my way closer until I was right next to Him. His face beamed with kindness and compassion. I’d never seen such honesty and purity in any other before. He spoke with the church leaders who were trying to trick Him into saying something that would lead to His imprisonment. They didn’t like the doubt He was creating against the church of the day. Jesus had an answer for all their questions and silenced most of them. Eventually they would rise up again and accuse the man of blasphemy. They would torture Him brutally and pin Him to a criminal’s cross.
I had a question of my own. Many wondered why I would ask such a thing, since I already had all that I needed. “What good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus asked if I had followed all the commandments and I assured Him that I was schooled in the laws of Moses and kept all of them. It was then that those eyes pierced my soul. He looked right inside of me and I immediately felt convicted.
He spoke these words, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
I was stunned by his comment. How could I give up all that I had? I was rich. I had servants and treasures that needed to be watched over and managed. He was asking the impossible. This was far too great a cost. I went back to my home completely discouraged. Did I do the right thing? Was I too quick to answer? I could’ve have been given eternal life, but I walked away from it. Was it because I refused to give up my treasure or was it because I didn’t have enough faith that He would take care of all my needs. I will ponder this for the rest of my days.