"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

4/10/09

Friday Fiction: "Akiva's Assignment"

FIRST, my dear friend LauraLee at Selah is posting salvation testimonies this week, and I'm over there today. Check it, and the others there, out. I assure you that you'll be blessed!

And I am DOUBLY BLESSED today, as the lovely Patty of Patterings has asked me to host Friday Fiction. Be sure to read some of the other wonderful fiction at the bottom of my post. Are you a writer too? Just post your own story at your blog, then link up in the Mr. Linky gadget at the bottom of my post. All are welcome!

As soon as I realized this week's Friday Fiction would be on Good Friday, I knew exactly what story I needed to post. I wrote this one just over a year ago for the Writing Challenge, when I was in the middle of my own personal "write a Biblical fiction for every topic" challenge. I hope you are blessed by this, and that it lets you see a familiar Bible event from a different perspective. And don't forget to check out the other fiction linked up at the bottom of this post!

Akiva's Assignment

It is a dry, dreary spring day as I watch the scene from my perch above the crowd. My focus is not on the people who have congregated, however, but on a pair of men who are, for lack of a better phrase, part of the show.

I can see all three of them quite clearly from my vantage point. I am certain that I am invisible to the two of them; whether the third can see me, I am unsure. Besides, their ability to recognize me is not the issue.

While my heart and soul are with the One in the center, it is the men on either side of Him that are my reason for being here. They are my assignment, if you will. Enemies of the Master, and He has sent me as their one last chance to reconcile with Him before their destinies are forever sealed.

"Akiva," the Lord said to me just this morning, "I need you to attend at Golgotha's cross today."

"It is my pleasure, my Lord," I had said to the Most High. "I am honored to have been chosen to minister to Your Son in his most distressing hours."

"No, dear Akiva. It is to the others, my children Raphael and Peder, that you are to minister. They must hear of My love once more before they are doomed to an eternity separated from Me."

So here I am, planning out a strategy, if you will, to turn the hearts of these two evil men toward the center--toward the heavens.

"Look at Him there," I whisper to Raphael. "He is your Messiah, giving up His sinless life so you can be with God, if you will just believe."

Suddenly I wonder if he can in fact see me. Raphael looks my way, pain in his eyes. His glance quickly shifts to the Christ. "If you are God's chosen, get down of your own accord. Why should we believe you if you cannot even help yourself?"

I lower my head. Not even a crack in his sinful armor. To make it worse, he defamed the Son in the process. I am ready to head back home to heaven.

You are not done yet, Akiva.

I sigh. "Yes, Lord."

This time, I glide over to Peder. "He is the Christ, the Son of God, Peder. If you believe, He can save you," I whisper.

Peder' eyes gleam with a look of anger I recognize too well.

"Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"* Peder practically spit out the words.

Tears stream down my face. Why, Lord? Why did I have to come on this thankless assignment, and in the presence of Your suffering Son? Must I watch His agony, while not bringing another to Your Kingdom as well?

The Lord speaks to my heart. My word that comes out of my mouth: it will not return empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.* Watch and listen, dear Akiva.

I lift my head to see Raphael glaring across the scene to Peder. "Don't you fear God, since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."*

I smile. Perhaps Raphael was listening after all. Some of them are a bit slower to grasp than others.

"Jesus, remember me when you come to your kingdom."* Raphael's words make me gasp. I look to the Man to whom he is speaking. The Lord briefly cracked a smile in my direction (It appears I am visible to Him), then looks into Raphael' eyes.

"I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."*

And, somehow, I know the Son of God is speaking to me as well. In His perfect timing--not a moment too early or a second too late--Raphael, Jesus, and I will all be together with the Father.

References, from NIV, in order:
Luke 23:39
Isaiah 55:11
Luke 23:41
Luke 23:42
Luke 23:43

**

Thanks for reading! Don't forget to link up and/or read the other great fiction below.



7 comments:

  1. wow...what a creative POV for a different perspective on the old familiar story.

    Thank you, JO

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  2. I felt for poor Akiva...such a difficult assignment! I love how you tied in the verse, "My word that comes out of my mouth: it will not return empty..." Great story to ponder for today!

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  3. JoDear, I absolutely love this one! I was hoping you'd post this one today! Such a great job with it! I love Akiva!

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  4. WOW! Such a small word to inadequately describe the awesomeness of this POV.

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  5. Timely message, and good reminder to not ever give up because we cannot see as the Lord can into a person's heart.

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  6. This is such a creative post! I love the visual I got while reading it:-)

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  7. A beautiful retelling, friend. Oh to be an eyewitness to the unfolding of that moment. I think we will all one day see it in replay.

    Fascinating.

    peace~elaine

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