4/19/15: Pilgrim’s Progress (12) — Faithful Tells Of His Adventures
After his harrowing journey through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, Christian caught up with a fellow pilgrim named Faithful. Having traveled so far alone, Christian was delighted with the companionship and asked Faithful to recount his travels.
Though he had traveled the same road, Faithful’s experiences were very different than Christian’s. He had not fallen in the Swamp of Despondence, but had been tempted by a woman named Wanton. He did not even see the two lions that had terrified Christian or the monster Apollyon, but he had been harassed in the Valley of Humiliation by Shame. As we discussed in class, every Christian’s journey is different — we experience different temptations, different trials, different joys.
Faithful refused Wanton’s flattering words and false promises, but he was almost snared by a job offer from an old man (symbolizing our fallen nature that remains so vulnerable to worldly temptation). The old man promised him many delights and “all the fine things of the world.” Though Faithful eventually heeded the biblical command to “put off the old man with his deeds,” he felt the old man’s claws in his flesh. He was nearly hooked.
Continuing up the Hill of Difficulty, Faithful was pursued by a man who knocked him to the ground with a powerful blow. When he came to his senses and asked for an explanation, Faithful was told that he was being punished for his secret inclination to follow the old man (the “First Adam”). Faithful got up and was immediately knocked down again. “Have mercy!” he pleaded, but the man responded, “I don’t know how to show mercy!” A third time he was knocked to the ground and would surely have perished if he had not been rescued by a passing stranger…a man with holes in his hands and a hole in his side.
As Christian then explained, the assailant was Moses — “he doesn’t know how to show mercy to those who transgress his law.” This portion of the story provided a wonderful opportunity to remind the students of the gospel — of the Savior who does not treat us as our sins deserve, but paid the full penalty of the law so that we could be forgiven. Hallelujah!