There came to the city of Nazareth, also, in later years, a rich man known in other parts of the country. His son and wife came with him. All that the son did was troublesome. He soon gathered around his five companions from the city. They busied themselves with every bit of mischief that could be done. If trouble came of it the father's riches bought them out of it.
2 Now, one day Mary saw two young girls, neighbors and friends, pass by her door. A few moments later she saw these young men pass by behind them and knew that they planned nothing honorable. She went into the shop and told Jesus what she had seen.
3 Jesus put down His tools, picked up a long stick, and followed after. A few minutes later the girls rushed by Mary's door, their clothes in disarray.
4 By the time Mary came outside, Jesus was coming up the street, herding the young men before Him with the stick as if they were wayward sheep.
5 The richest young man screamed with anger and all of them showed signs that the stick had been well used!
6 The girls' fathers apeared and other men of their families. There was great anger. As the crowd took over, Jesus, without a word, went back into the shop and again went to helping His father.
7 That evening there came a loud rap on their door. When Joseph opened it the rich man stood without. "I have come to complain," the rich man announced, "at your son's actions this day. My son tells me two young women led himself and his companions astray. When they were in the midst your son fell upon them, beating them like beasts of the fields, when they had the girls' consent for what they were doing."
8 Jesus never looked up, but spoke loudly. "Your son is a liar. He would have committed grievous sin against those young women, had I not stopped him. His companions will testify that the girls in no way tempted them, but were merely about their own business."
9 "Why should these young men tell such a lie?" the rich man asked.
10 "Because they now fear God," Jesus answered, "more than you. They now regret their sin and prefer eternal peace to damnation."
11 "Do they fear God," the rich man snapped, "or do they fear your stick?"
12 "Perhaps," Jesus answered, "each is one in the same. I will give you warning, sir, warning you will not hear. But as it is God's practice to warn the sinner before he is destroyed, I will tell you.
13 Your riches will buy your son from this trouble again. You yet have time to make a man of him, but very little. Death stalks him like an angry beast, waiting to devour him. If it does it will destroy your wife. Eventually, it will destroy you
14 Heed my words. Do not buy your son out of this difficulty, make him do amends and maybe yet he may live a long and prosperous life. Heed my warning not, and you shall know him but a short time more."
15 The rich man was very angry. "Who are you," he snapped, "to give me such warning? What are you, a mere carpenter's son, a man of little importance? Who are you to judge me and my son....I, who am your better?"
16 Jesus said no more. The man left in far greater anger than when he had come.
17 Mary put her hand on Jesus' shoulder. "Can you do nothing?" she asked.
18 Jesus shook His head. "Other than to protect the innocent," he answered, "God cannot help those who deny Him, who will not help themselves."
19 Jesus' words proved true. The rich man bought his son's forgiveness. His five companions deserted him, but he quickly found three more as bad as them.
20 Now, in the city there was a common laborer, a great man by the name of Samson. He had a very beautiful daugher who was feeble of mind. One day the rich man's son and his companions followed her home, overpowered her in her own house, and did what they would with her.
21 Now, it so happened that day that Samson's employer announced his betrothal. In celebration he sent his laborers home with a full day's pay. So it was Samson came into his home while the young men were still upon his daughter.
22 In a great rage, as they begged for mercy, he seized up each one and with his great hands choked the life from them.
23 He went to flee with his daughter, for he feared at the rich man's hands he would not be judged honorably, but he met Jesus in the street.
24 "You cannot flee with your daughter," Jesus counseled, "They would overtake and capture you. You would surely be put to death. Leave her with me. When the time is right I will bring her to you."
25 Without hesitation the great man put his daughter's hand into that of Jesus, told her to abide with Him until they were again united, and fled for his life.
26 The rich man would have laid hands on the girl in vengeance for his son, but the pople rallied behind Jesus, and he was kept from her.
27 The rich man's wife, in sorrow and grief for her son, would not eat nor would she drink. In but a short time she joined him in death.
28 The rich man sold his property, journeyed away to die in poverty and misery in a foreign land.
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