One morning, John the Baptist and his disciples went out to the water. This day a variety of people had come out, many from the mixed race cities of the Decapolis. So the prophet said to his disciples, “Try to imagine the Day of Judgment. Will the God who fashions a unique face and home for each soul rebuke us for being different from each other? Will the king herd us like cattle, placing us either in the slaughter line or on the road for redemption according to our nationality? No! I think the king will ask each of us about our acts of compassion.”
“But that will take too long,” his disciples gasped.
“It will last, like, forever,” the youngest added.
“That’s the point.” The Baptizer laughed.
Later that day a giant stone mason named Thomas came to him to be baptized. The prophet asked, “Do you sin big or do you sin just a little?”
This giant said with tears, “My sins are worse than anyone I know. I may be the worst sinner in Galilee, with the possible exception of King Herod.”
“I doubt that,” the prophet roared with laughter. He liked this one. “In repentance there is forgiveness,” and he said and set Thomas gently into the stream.
Then turning to the crowd the prophet shouted, “On the Day of Judgment the Messiah will sort his flock as a shepherd segregates sheep from goats. Each will go as they are told to go, for no soul can refuse its true owner. Some will be ready, but many will not. Some of you believe that with many words you will be able to persuade the judge to let you off. Hah! You instead need to prepare for that Day by living each day with compassion. Nevertheless, may the Messiah come soon!”
[ This has been an excerpt from "Bethany's People" a biblical fiction book that I am working on. Feel free to use it -- Bill Kemp