Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is an 1880 novel by American author Lew Wallace. It’s a story about the life of a young Jewish prince named Judah Ben-Hur and how his quest for revenge eventually turns toward a life of sacrifice. Judah’s problems start when he’s falsely accused and convicted of an attempted assassination of the Roman governor of Judaea. To make matters worse, Messala, a childhood friend, is the one who betrays Judah and falsely accuses him. As a result, they enslave him for life. They also imprison his mother and sister and confiscate all their possessions and property — leaving him with nothing. Judah then vows vengeance against Messala and the Romans.
Through a series of events, he eventually finds himself aboard a Roman warship commanded by Quintus Arrius. Impressed by Judah’s resolve and passion, Quintus engages him in conversation. Upon learning of Judah’s former status as a son of Hur, Arrius then orders the slave-master to unlock his shackles. Not long after, a battle ensues, and the ship takes substantial damage resulting in the ship sinking. Throughout the chaos, Judah ends up saving the Roman commander from drowning. Grateful for saving his life, Arrius decides to adopt Judah as a son and, as his son, also awards him a pardon for his unfounded crimes.
In the movie adaptation, there is an adoption ceremony where Charleston Heston (Judah) gets the new name, “young Arrius,” and along with this new name, all inheritance rights. In the same scene, Arrius takes off his ancestral signet ring, gives it to him, and tells young Arrius that he has received “a new life, a new home, a new father.”
This novel is an excellent example of how Jesus did the same for us when he placed his life on the cross. Because of his sacrifice, we were adopted into God’s family and, with it, received an inheritance. However, unlike Ben-Hur, we never worked for no deserved it. Instead, it was a gift from God.
Answer and Journal the Following
he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
Pray and ask God to help you understand what it means to be adopted.
Meditate / Memorize:
What will you do with the inheritance given to you by God?
Share what you’ve learned with someone else.