Day 6 – Shackles: The Playlist
Laying down your life for a friend. Taking the place of someone who is condemned.
Those are actions from the heart of Christ, and the kind of love that Christians are called to display. In “Shackles,” I presented those concepts in the story of Faustus, the man that I imagined as the jailer who interacted with Paul and Silas from Acts 16. But earlier in the story, Faustus offered to take the place of his slave – his best friend – rather than allow a gross miscarriage of justice. I’m offering an excerpt from that scene below.
The redeeming story of “Shackles” is that Christ offered his life as payment to satisfy the debt of all who call on his name – confessing with our mouth, believing in our hearts.
This is amazing grace.
FROM “SHACKLES” – CHAPTER 22 – MIDNIGHT RUN
Faustus stepped again toward Lucianus. Two more slaves – Lucianus’s jail hands – stepped in front of Faustus.
“My slave did not take these gods,” Faustus insisted. “And you know it. You had them stolen, you had …”\
“Now, wait a moment,” Lucianus said. He stood. “I would not involve myself in such a thing, because just touching those things – those gods – can get a man’s hands chopped off.”
“You are an evil man,” Faustus replied. “Pure evil.”
“You are mistaken, Faustus,” Lucianus said. “I am trying to make things right, and what I see here is your best slave returning idols he had stolen, because he lives with you, and you certainly told him to just undo his deed and all would be forgotten.”
“I’m not listening to this. Let’s go Lutalo,” Faustus ordered.
“Well, not until there’s appropriate payment for this crime, Faustus,” Lucianus added. “I insist, and you being an upstanding man – and so well-respected by Emperor himself – have to appreciate that.”
“These aren’t your idols to protect and it’s not your justice to give,” Faustus replied. “We’re leaving.”
“Oh, but I’m afraid not, Faustus, because, you see …” He directed Pinkus to bring Lutalo to stand next to Faustus. “By about now, if you set others about the task of looking for more ill-gotten gods at your house, they will have found two statues that came from …”
Faustus began to take off his tunic. “I’m going to end you right here!” he shouted.
Lucianus motioned for another slave to bring him something, and the slave placed a scabbard in his hands. Lucianus stepped toward Faustus, carefully held the scabbard by the blade, and offered the handle to Faustus.
“You take this now. Go ahead, Faustus, you’ve wanted to do this for some time, and thrust it into my gut.”
Faustus refused to take the scabbard.
“So you will not end me here,” Lucianus said. “I knew you wouldn’t. You knew you wouldn’t. These gods know you wouldn’t.” He sliced at the air. “So here’s the price I exact. Bring me Lutalo.”
Faustus pushed his way around the other slaves and stepped in front of Lutalo.
“You will take my life, not his.”
“Take your life? Take HIS life?” Lucianus laughed. “I’m only going to lop of one of his hands. Now move aside.”
“You’ll do no such thing,” Faustus snarled. He grabbed the handle of the scabbard and wrested it away from Lucianus. Lucianus told the slaves holding Lutalo to let him go.
“You see, I was going to have them bring him over here, hold his arm on one of these stones, and ‘whack’” … Faustus threw up his arms. “But now you have the implement of justice.”
Faustus thrust the scabbard onto the marble surface. “There will be no retribution – no so-called justice – because my friend, my slave did nothing wrong.”
“No, Faustus, there will be justice, because I have six slaves who will tell the magistrates that they saw your slave take these idols.” Lucianus walked smugly back and forth between Faustus and Lutalo. “And there are others – not slaves, but the kind of witnesses that magistrates believe – who will testify the same thing. So, yes, there will be payment and retribution.”
Lucianus picked up the scabbard. He handed it to Faustus. “Here. Kill your slave.”
“If anyone dies it will be me,” Faustus argued. “My life. Not his.”
Lucianus forced himself to laugh.
“What a noble gesture – a man laying down his life for a slave … for,” Lucianus paused, then spun and turned toward Lutalo. “For his friend.”