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What more do I need to know before I can accept Paul's testimony?

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Onesimus: Decision Made,
part six

Why doesn’t he report me to the police? Paul knows I am an escaped slave. One of his co-workers knows my owner. Should I run again? Not today! Rome has more sights for me to see.

Onesimus began to whistle and walk. He watched men working on one of Emperor Nero’s building projects. For my master I was lazy. When I’m with Paul and listen to him, I work hard. I want to hear Paul talk about Jesus and what He taught. My ears are opening, and I am changing.

All my life I have gone to temples for the Roman gods and goddesses. I have worshipped them and offered sacrifices through their priests. I honor the chief priest, the Emperor Nero. He has Christians thrown to beasts. People say that sometimes he lights his gardens at night by burning Christians alive.

Onesimus found himself walking on Capitoline Hill up the steps of the temple of Jupiter. This is Rome – gigantic, spectacular, and merciless! He looked at the steps littered with the bodies of unwanted children, sick and dying slaves, all disposable people.

What more do I need to know before I can believe Paul’s testimony? Jesus was crucified for the sins of man, was buried in a tomb, arose, and 40 days later ascended into Heaven. No man can do what He did. I will love and obey Him.

Hours later he walked into Paul’s home as he sat chained to his Roman guard. Onesimus stood before Paul and declared, “I accept God’s forgiveness. I believe in Jesus and I wish to follow Him.”

Paul said, “You are my brother. Tonight, would you share your testimony with my guests?”

That evening Paul’s co-workers and guests listened as Onesimus spoke. “I am a fugitive slave from Colosse, Turkey. Christian believers meet in my master’s home.

“I saw and heard them, but my mind and heart were closed to them. Since I fled to Rome, I have become a believer in Jesus. Paul has been God’s messenger to me. Though I am a slave by Roman law, I am no longer trapped in my rebellion. Please forgive me for deceiving you.”

Joy gleamed on the faces of all in the room.

The next day Onesimus came to work and was greeted warmly by Paul. “I am writing to Philemon about you. Though I know him well, I wrote nothing to him about you when I learned you were his escaped slave.

“I am sending you back to him. I wish from my heart that I could keep you here. You have been a great help to me and become my brother in Christ, but I do not want to keep you without Philemon’s consent.

“I am asking him to show you kindness. He will learn that you have become a believer through my ministry. You are his slave and brother in Christ. He is to welcome you as he would welcome me if I were coming.

“Onesimus, I hope to be released from my chains. If so, I will visit Philemon and surely you.”

“Paul, God will guide me. I love you and owe you greatly.”

This is Barbara Steiner with a man about whom I know no more.

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