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The Trespasser, by Haruna Daniels
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The Trespasser, by Haruna Daniels 

“God’s Kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field for years and then accidentally found by a trespasser. The finder is ecstatic-what a find!- and proceeds to sell everything he owns to raise money and buy that field.” Matthew 13:44 MSG.

The game was up. Big Joe knew when he was defeated. As tough as he was, he didn’t want to die. He dropped his weapon and raised up his hands in surrender. And the police moved in…

It so funny how a silly mistake could destroy the best laid plans. If only he hadn’t taken that shot of coke. If only the ice cream didn’t catch his eye. If only he hadn’t shot that security man…

Scene 1:

Big Joe was the toughest robber in the country. He was known but never seen. His daring raids were stories on which myths were built. He had a reputation and he loved it. His gang was made up of the toughest crooks. When you get recruited by Big Joe, you are in the big league of criminals.

Their last heist ended badly. It was well planned to detail. The cash was in the house, confirmed by their informant. The plan was simple: make a break in, disarm the security men, take the money and escape before the police arrive. Or so he thought…

Before they went out, they usually took some drugs to get high. Big Joe is actually soft at heart. He could not stand the sight of blood. But the coke always brings out the tough man in him. Without it, he would be a timid, docile man. When they got to the house, they were surprised to meet only one security man. They expected at least 30, considering the amount of money involved. Were they trying to distract attention? Apparently, they thought if they move the money with 30 armed security men, he could be tipped off. He was angry at them for thinking he would not find out. Cocaine has a way of making you angry unnecessarily. He shot the security man to death, even as he pleaded for mercy.

“That was not necessary, Boss”, Jake said. Jake was his right hand man. In reality, Jake was THE Boss. He was raised on the streets and needed no coke to be tough.

“Are you getting soft, Jake? What is one man’s life to you, knowing how many you have taken?”

“Sorry, boss- but he didn’t resist and he seemed a Godly man. I noticed he was studying the scriptures…”

Big Joe laughed. “He was in the wrong profession then! Those who study scriptures are in the temple, not working as security men!”

Big Joe stepped over the corpse to see. Indeed, the dead man was reading the Torah. On his table was a cup of ice cream. Big Joe opened it and took some. Tastes good, but they were not here for an ice cream party: they quickly hauled the money into their getaway truck and drove off into the dark night…

Two days later, the police came calling. There was gunfire and Big Joe was outnumbered and over powered.  Many of his boys were killed. He surrendered. Jake did too. He wondered how he was found out? He never leaves evidences on his crime scenes. How did these cops trace he heist to him? Do they now have an informant among his boys, just as he has in their ranks?

Scene 2:

At the trial, he was shocked to know his DNA was on the spoon he used to take some ice cream. His saliva gave him away. He was charged with first degree murder and armed robbery. He knew it was the end of the road. He was doomed. In the court to witness his trial were the wife and children of the man he had murdered. The look in their eyes said it all: Rot. In. Hell.

As he was led out of the court house in handcuffs, he saw another man being flogged in the courtyard. He remembered he had seen that face before! The joker who called himself the Son of God. The man who folks gathered in their thousands to listen to. Big Joe remembered some of his boys usually go to these gatherings to pick a few pockets…

The policemen leading Big Joe and Jake to the security van stopped to watch the flogging. As big Joe watched too, one of the cops told him, “yeah, enjoy the scene! You would all probably be executed same day. You’re lucky your death does not include torture like his…”

They were to be executed by crucifixion.

On the Day of Crucifixion, Big Joe was a bit apprehensive. If indeed that Joker is who he claims he is, chances are that he would save us! He confided in Jake and they held on to that small hope. As tough as he appeared, Big Joe did not want to die. He dreaded the pain and anguish of a crucifixion. A shot in the head would have been easier, he thought. But crucifixion! He had witnessed a few and he knew how agonizingly painful it was. He could hang up there for hours on end.

When the soldiers drove the nails through their hands and feet, Big Joe screamed. Jake simply cringed in defiance. He did not want to give the Roman soldiers the satisfaction of seeing him cry in pain. If I must die, let me die with dignity, he reasoned. The crosses were lifted up and the so called “Son of God” was in the middle with Big Joe and Jake on either side. As the pain sets in, Jake called out to the man in the middle; “Hey dude! You say you’re the Son of God, yeah? Prove it! Save yourself and us!” the man kept quiet. “Jake shouted at him again. He never responded. Jake lost his cool and started raining curses on him…

The man raised up his head and said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do…” Big Joe heard that and wondered, “this guy must be nuts! Even while dying, he still calls God his father, the very crime he is being crucified for!

If things were different, he would have laughed…

But then Big Joe wondered, what if this man IS right? What if he is indeed who he claims to be? In that moment, it dawned on Big Joe the man WAS right. He called out to Jake, “let him be- you don’t have to insult him, Jake. We were sentenced to death for the crimes we committed. This man did nothing worth being crucified for…”

The man turned and looked at Big Joe. Did he just smile at me or am I losing my mind? Big Joe wasn’t sure.

As he felt life ebbing out of him, he cried out, “Master, remember me in your Kingdom!”

The man responded, “today, you will be with me in Paradise…”

Jake scoffed. Big Joe felt peace. All three died…

Scene 3:

Big Joe opened his eyes. No, this can’t be real. I must be dreaming.  He saw streets paved with GOLD. Where am I, he thought. Then he saw Him, in all His glory and majesty. Jesus, the Son of God. So, indeed He is who He said He is! This IS Heaven! Big Joe was ecstatic. He could not believe his luck. What a coincidence we were crucified together! He imagined what would have happened if they were crucified on different days or at different locations? Golgotha was not the only place condemned men were crucified…

As he was ruminating over these thoughts in his mind, he heard a scream. He turned and froze: the security man.

“What are you doing here? You have no right or reason to be here!” He turned to Jesus. “My Lord, this man cut my life short. He made my wife a widow, my children fatherless. I begged him for mercy, I was no threat to him, but he still went ahead and killed me! He was the most dangerous man in the whole of Israel from Dan to Beersheba. The biggest crook ever known from Adam till date. He is a TRASPASSER!”

Jesus smiled. “You need to understand something, son: the Kingdom is for trespassers. This trespasser accidentally found the Kingdom and it will not be taken away from him…”

“This man is the vanguard of many outsiders who will soon be coming from all directions- streaming in from the east, pouring in from the west, sitting down at God’s Kingdom banquet alongside Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Then those who grew up in the faith but had no faith will find themselves out in the cold, outsiders to grace and wondering what happened.” Matthew 8; 11-12 MSG

© 2015 Haruna Daniels. All rights reserved.

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