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Jed Hatton returns in “Specter from the Past” in the new Stranger in the Glade: And More Tales from Memory Creek Ranch. This peek behind the curtain gives you a look at why I wrote what I did when Jed is about to die. He has endured much abuse at the hands of Mateo Vega in order to save Andi and baby Jared. He makes his final speech as he’s dying.
“I’m tired of runnin’ from the law.” Jed sucked in another agonizing breath. “Tired of runnin’ from God.” He patted her arm. “I told Him so too.”
Andi sat still, daring to hope. What was Jed saying?
“Can I ask you somethin’ . . . little lady?” Talking was becoming more difficult. For sure, Jed’s ribs were broken. His voice fell to a labored whisper.
“Ask me anything.” Andi leaned her ear close to his lips to catch his next words.
“Will that Christ you’re always prayin’ to remember me if I ask Him? I got a hankerin’ to see them . . . golden streets.”
Andi held Jed’s hand. “The thief on the cross asked the same thing, ‘Remember me,’ and Jesus said, ‘Today you will be with me in Paradise.’”
Jed let out a slow breath. “That’s what I want. Will you help me ask Him?”
I wanted Jed to figure out his wrong ways and find Christ, and I also wanted to make use of a favorite hymn of mine, “Are Ye Able?” I was able to use both ideas in Jed’s “death” scene. But I was not able to use the song itself in the book, like I’ve used other songs. Why not? Because the song wasn’t written until 1926. Too bad!
The first verse of this old hymn goes like this: “Are ye able,” said the Master, “to be crucified with me?” “Yea,” the sturdy dreamers answered, “To the death we follow Thee!” (but they ran away). The second verse always touches me, so I created a video to go with verse two and the chorus. Now, you know a little “peek” at how this small but important plot event came to be. Below the video, if you are interested, is a mini Bible study.
Mini Bible Study: The Thief on the Cross
On page 64, Jed Hatton asks Andi the most important question any person will ever ask. “Will that Christ you’re always prayin’ to remember me if I ask Him?” Andi answers, “The thief on the cross asked the same thing, ‘Remember me,’ and Jesus said, ‘Today you will be with me in Paradise.’”
Read Luke 23:38-43 and answer the questions.
- How many criminals were crucified with Jesus?
- One of the criminals made fun of Jesus, showing his disbelief. Which little word in verse 39 shows the criminal’s disbelief in the Son of God?
- What did he try to get Jesus to do?
- The other criminal showed the signs of true repentance and belief in the Son of God, which is what Jesus Himself said in Mark 1:15. “Repent and believe the gospel.”
- A person cannot repent if they don’t admit they have sinned. What does this criminal say that shows he knows he has sinned and deserves death (verses 40-41)?
- What does this criminal say that shows he believes that Jesus is the Son of God (vs. 42)?