Paraphrased by Jon Kauffman
Clement of Alexandria tells the story of how the Apostle John rescues a Criminal who had fallen from the faith. This may be a true story or it may be a story which reveals the character of John. I have paraphrased the story.
The tyrant who sentenced the Apostle John to Patmos died. When John was released he traveled to nearby cities to appoint Bishops. John became acquainted with a strong young man. John entrusted the young man to the Bishop of the city. The Bishop raised him, taught him and finally baptized him. After the baptism, the Bishop relaxed his care and discipline with the belief that the seal of the Lord was a complete protection of him.
The young man made friends with some idle young men leading a life of indulgence in drink and promiscuity. First they tempted the young man with many costly entertainments and prostitutes and finally convinced him to accompany them into a life of highway robbery.
The young man having entirely despaired of Salvation in God, formed a band of robbers, and as the fiercest, bloodiest and cruelest became their captain.
Time passed and the church needed John again. They sent for John and he came. John helped resolve the churches need. John asked to see the young man he had left in the bishop’s care. The Bishop explained that the young man had turned wicked, abandoned his faith and became a robber leading a band of robbers in the mountains. Rending his clothes and striking his head with great sorrow, the apostle said, “It was a fine guard of a brother’s soul I left! Bring me a horse and a guide and I will be on my way.
Immediately the apostle rode away towards the mountains. He came to the robber’s outpost and said, “Lead me to your captain.” When the captain recognized the Apostle John he turned, ashamed and ran away. The elderly John followed with all his might. John cried, “Why? my son, do you flee from me, your father, unarmed, old? Son pity me. Fear not; you still have hope of life. I will give account to Christ for you. If need be, I will willingly endure your death, as the Lord did suffer death for us. For you I will surrender my life. Stand, believe, Christ has sent me.”
The Captain threw down his weapons and wept bitterly. And when John approached, the Captain embraced him, confessing and crying. John assured him of God’s pardon. John falling on his knees kissed the young man’s right hand which the youth had hidden to indicate his shame. John baptized him a second time.
The Apostle led the young man back to the church, spent time with him in intercessory prayer, prolonged fasting and much counseling. John did not leave until he had restored him to the church, presenting him a great example of true repentance and a great token to regeneration, a trophy of visible resurrection for which we hope.
Paraphrased from”Who is the Rich Man That Shall Be Saved?” Chapter 42 by Clement of Alexandria (150 AD – 214 AD).
Copyright © 2019 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given. Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.
Picture: Copyright © 2019 by Leon Kauffman