It happened that John Mark’s home was on the way from the synagogue to the house where Benjamin had lived. Barabbas and Deborah brought the children early for the next meeting, so they could play with some of the other disciples’ children outside before the meeting. There were chairs outside so that the parents could sit and watch the children at play. This particular evening, as the children were playing, Benjamin’s children happened to be on their way home from their lessons at the synagogue with their child-leader, when they spotted the group of children playing. Recognizing some of the children, they asked if they could go and say hello.
“Just be careful,” the child-leader told them. “You have your good clothes on.”
The children whom they knew were busy playing ball with Caleb, Jason and Ruth and neither noticed the others approaching until they called out to them. “Hey! Lucas! Michael!”
“Oh, hello! Joseph and Jake, this is Caleb, Jason, and Ruth”
“Hi! Good to meet you. But what are you all doing here? Why are there so many kids here? Is this a community park or something?”
“No, it’s a house, but it’s actually a church too—I mean we’re going to have a meetin' in a little while.”
“What kind of a meeting? What do you do?”
“We read th’ Scriptures---“
“But that’s what the synagogues are for.”
“I know. But we do more than that. We also talk about Jesus. And sometimes he even comes.”
“Jesus? What do mean? Isn’t he the one they crucified instead of the bum who killed our dad?”
“Yes, he is.”
“Well, how could he come to your meeting if he’s dead?”
Now Jason spoke up. “But, he isn’t dead. He’s as much alive as you are. He arose from the dead.”
“Yes!” added Ruth, “We seen him with our own eyes!”
Joseph scorned, “Aw, come on! Are you sure it was actually him you saw?”
“Oh, it was him alright,” assured Caleb. “And he didn’t open th’ door to come in. He just appeared as if he’d gone right through th’ wall.”
“Must be some sort of trick ‘r somethin’. Anyway, how do you know it was really him?”
Now Jason spoke up again. He didn’t want to but felt he had to. “My Daddy recognized him and he should know—he watched him die.”
“Who is your Daddy?” asked Joseph, nonchalantly.
“He’s Barabbas the blacksmith.”
“Barabbas? He’s th’ one who killed our Daddy!”
"Liar!" exclaimed Caleb. "He did no such thing!”
“Did too!" insisted Jake "That’s why they caught him. But then they let him go.”
“You’re a liar!" exclaimed Ruth. "My Daddy would never kill anybody!”
Thus a fight broke out between the children of Benjamin and the children of Barabbas. Hearing the commotion, Barabbas and Deborah walked over to the children and asked what the trouble was. The child-leader, watching at a distance had started to come over but upon seeing other adults enter the situation, decided it would be better to stay where he was.
“They said you killed their father,” shouted Jason to Barabbas.
“Who is your father, lad?” asked Barabbas to the other children.
“He was Benjamin, the cloth shop owner.”
Now Barabbas’ countenance was sorrowful as he turned to his own children and put his arms around them. “I’m afraid it’s true, Ruth, Caleb, and Jason. I did kill their father when I attempted to rob his store. That’s what I kept from you the night I was released from prison. Maybe I should have told you but I was ashamed and didn’t want you to worry." He then turned to Benjamin’s children. “I’m really sorry about it all now. Now I’ve given my life to the one who took my place and I’m a changed man. If I could bring your father back I would. I repented of that and all my sins and am starting a new life of service to God.”
“Well, our mother hates you. And so do we.”
“I can’t say as I blame her—or you.”
Just then the child-leader, who had been standing at a distance and not able to hear the conversation, called to Joseph, Jake, and Josh. “Come on, Children, We really must go, now.”
“Aww, just when it was getting interesting.”
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