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Short Stories (Stories for the Youth), book by Father Tadros Yacoub Malaty

300- Ruth and the Thieves

 

An Easter Story

 

A Den of Thieves

Some thieves lived in a den beside the tombs outside Jerusalem. They were thinking of their chief Barabbas who left them to walk slowly on the mountains. One of them called Nabal said, Barabbas has changed since Pontius Pilate released him and the people saved him from crucifixion replacing him with Jesus. He isnt with us now to encourage us to steal and kill. Many a time he leaves us and walks alone on the mountains. Sometimes, he looks up to the sky; other times, he looks down to earth for hours and he does not talk to us. Did he get depressed because of being imprisoned? Many a time he was imprisoned and did not change that much. Is he afraid of being sentenced to crucifixion again? Hes known to be a brave man. What is he thinking of?

They decided to talk to him to make him get rid of depression.

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A Conversation among the Thieves

The thieves went to Barabbas asking him to talk with them. One of them called Saul said, Are you afraid of being sentenced to crucifixion again? What are you thinking of?

Barabbas shook his head and said, I neither fear death nor mind what people say about me. When I was sentenced to crucifixion, I didnt panic. What occupies my mind is Jesus who was crucified in spite of being innocent. Hes so tender. I loved Him when I saw Him judged as He was kind and generous even during His suffering. I heard that He healed the sick, the blind, the deaf and the paralyzed and even raised the dead. He changed adulteress and sinners into saints. It was I who should have been crucified.

Nabal said mockingly, What happened Barabbas. Do you want to be a saint?

Saul also said mockingly, Do you want to repent after committing all these crimes?

A third one said, Are you mad Barabbas? Didnt you kill children, women and old men paying no attention to their cries and tears?

A fourth one said, Do you want to be a disciple to Jesus the crucified?

St-Takla.org Image: Give us Barabbas. Charles Louis Muller. John 18:40 - from the Bible and Its Story book صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: أطلق لنا باراباس (بارباس)، رسم الفنان تشارلز لويس مولر - إنجيل يوحنا 18: 40 - من كتاب الكتاب المقدس وقصته

St-Takla.org Image: Give us Barabbas. Charles Louis Muller. John 18:40 - from the Bible and Its Story book

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: أطلق لنا باراباس (بارباس)، رسم الفنان تشارلز لويس مولر - إنجيل يوحنا 18: 40 - من كتاب الكتاب المقدس وقصته

Barabbas said calmly, I dont deserve to be a disciple to this Righteous Man. I knew that the veil of the temple was torn in two when He died. Nature itself was enraged for His crucifixion; the sun was darkened and the earth quaked. I heard the roman centurion crying, Truly this Man was the Son of God. Demas the thief heard Jesus words, Today you will be with Me in Paradise. I wont ever forget these wonderful events.

They all were silent in amazement.

→ English translation of the story here at St-Takla.org: الطفلة راعوث وعصابة اللصوص.

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Young Ruth and the Gang of the Thieves

One of the thieves cried, Leave Barabbas to these destructive thoughts and come on. There are some people coming towards the tombs, lets steal what they have.

Saul said, Wait they look strange, theyre neither riding nor having food. They arent coming to bury a dead person for, they are singing not mourning. Why do they accompany children to the tombs?

David said, Lets go and see what we steal from them. Lets go quietly for, they dont seem to have weapons.

The thieves went to them and Barabbas followed them admiring their songs and cheerfulness. As they approached them, a young girl called Ruth was walking in front of the group; she greeted Barabbas saying, Hello, Barabbas.

Do you know me?

Youre Barabbas for whose sake as well as mine my Savior Jesus was crucified.

Were you then among the people who cried release Barabbas and crucify Jesus?

No.

Who told you about me then?

Lord Jesus Christ himself.

Where have you met Him?

He came to us in hell, as I departed from this world about a thousand years ago. He came rejoicing carrying Demas the thief. He took us all from hell to Paradise. Not only had He let us go to Paradise but also He allowed our souls to go back to our bodies and be risen to preach his resurrection. Now were going back to the tombs. Jesus is risen, truly risen. This has been our hymn since we were risen. Be ready Barabbas to share with us seeing Jesus resurrected.

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Lord Jesus Christ would not have come and knocked the door if He hadnt wished to enter. If He does not always dwell in us, lets blame ourselves.

(St. Ambrose).


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