Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Youth Page

Written by Peter Langbroek
Long ago, in a far away land lived two twin brothers.* They were identical, identical to the very hairs on their heads. But that's where it stopped. In character they were total opposites. The one was selfish and scheming. The other was kind and generous. The one brother was a brawling oaf, hated by all. The other was a hardworking farmer, loved by everyone in the countryside and nearby villages.

One fall day, the evil brother stormed into the village, grabbed a man and stabbed him in an alley,. When he saw him die, the evil brother, still in his farm clothes with the man's blood on his shirt, quickly fled to the countryside, and hid in his brother's barn.

The next morning, from the barn, he saw his brother come out of the house to harvest the field. He ran to his brother. ÒJoshua,Ó he cried, "l need your help! I have business to attend to at the village; and I need some clean clothes. Can we change clothing?Ó

Immediately, the kind brother began to undress, gave his clothing, and put on his brother's clothes. Within a minute the evil brother changed, said farewell, and ran away.

Two years later in the spring, the evil brother returned to the village. Sitting in the tavern, he asked his old drinking buddies if they'd heard any news from his brother. Somewhat surprised, one man asked, "Haven't you heard?"

ÒWhat?Ó asked the brother.

ÒYour brother was executed for murder. They found him in the field with blood-stained clothes, and he was identified by a witness as the one who stabbed a man in an alley, right next to this tavern.Ó

Hearing this, the evil brother's hardened face dropped sharply and he looked pale as a ghost. ÒAay!!!Ó he thought to himself, "I killed my brother! He died for me!Ó Suddenly, he stood up, and rushed out of the door.

He asked his brother's neighbours where his grave was. There, the evil man sobbed, crying out Òsorry!Ó a thousand times. Then, talking as if his brother could hear him, he said, "if you died in my stead, I will try to become like you.Ó

The evil brother left his brother's grave a changed man.

(*P.S. This is not a story I made up, but one which I heard from John Jamil, an Iraqi immigrant who is worshipping at the Free Reformed Church (Chilliwack).

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Boys and girls, this story speaks of love and sacrifice. The two belong together. The evil brother was inspired to love because of the sacrifice of his good brother who was innocently condemned and executed for his crime. This story also illustrates another good story, the greatest story ever told, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It reminds me of a man in the Bible who understood very deeply what the sacrifice of Jesus meant for him. His name was Paul.

Paul, a Benjamite, was like a ravenous wolf seeking to devour Christians from their homes. True to his Old Testament namesake, Saul, he was enraged against those who followed Jesus Christ whom he thought were the enemies of God.

But it all changed, when on his way to persecute Christians in Damascus, Paul was blinded by a light from heaven and heard a voice say, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?"

Saul said, ÒWho art thou, Lord?"

The Lord said," I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." (Read the story in Acts 9.)

Suddenly, Paul (Greek for Saul) realized he was persecuting Jesus. He learned that Jesus had died for his sins, and he prayed.

Paul immediately began to preach with zeal and love, sacrificing himself for the spread of the Gospel to the Gentile people. He desired to be like his Saviour and Lord in his conduct of life.

Boys and girls, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write letters to churches he helped plant. Many of them he wrote from prison, for Paul was cruelly persecuted all his life. Yet, through all this suffering he rejoiced, and he said, "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then all were dead: And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose againÓ (II Corinthians 5:14,15).

Truly the Gospel is Good News, a message for the whole world to know that Jesus Christ, without sin, offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin. Do you realize this? Flee to Him in faith, obeying what was spoken by Paul: ÒI beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable serviceÓ (Romans 12; 1).

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