Greater Love

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#224: “Greater Love”
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John 15:12-13

12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

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Greater Love

“Greater Love” is episode #224 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by Phil Lollar, and originally aired on March 20, 1993.


Whit hears the story of how Tom Riley's son died … from the man who claims to be responsible.


Tom and Whit are visiting the grave of Tom’s son, Timmy, who died tragically 20 years ago. But when they arrive, they are surprised to see someone already there, a young man named P.D. Barnes. He was a friend of Timmy’s who has also come to pay his respects. Tom visibly stiffens at the sight of P. D., makes a hasty excuse, and leaves. Whit apologizes for Tom’s behavior, but P. D. says he understands Tom’s reaction.

“It’s the reason I’m here,” he says. “You see...I killed Timmy.” Whit is stunned, and in a flashback, P. D. tells the story of his relationship with Timmy and with the Rileys. P. D. explains that he was a rotten little kid. Timmy befriended him and showed him love, trust and tells him about Jesus and what he did for us. But P. D. feels he betrayed Timmy’s trust, P. D. was responsible for Timmy’s drowning accident. The boys were out on the lake when P. D. started fooling around in the boat. He fell in the water. P. D. couldn’t swim, so Timmy dove in after his friend, and got entangled in some vines.

After all these years, P. D. wanted to tell Tom how sorry he is and also how Timmy didn't die in vain he saved P. D.'s life by sharing Jesus with him. Whit takes P. D. to Tom’s farm, and P. D. gets his wish. Tom extends true forgiveness.

This plot section is too short and should be expanded. »

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did P. D. think he killed Timmy?
  2. Why did young P. D. steal from the Rileys?
    • Did Timmy handle the situation in the right way?
    • How would you have handled it?
  3. Why did Tom blame himself for Timmy’s death?
    • Was he right to do so?


Role Voice Actor
John Whittaker Hal Smith
Leonard Shawn Svoboda
P.D. Barnes (young) Andrew Gillespie
P.D. Barnes Jim Gallent
Timothy Riley Gabe Tigerman
Tom Riley Walker Edmiston


  • In this episode we find out more about Timmy Riley, including how he died.
  • Timmy explains briefly to P.D. in this episode that he merely refurbished his cabin after finding it in the woods. This was explained in greater detail earlier in #202: “Timmy's Cabin” the previous season, where it was revealed that Jimmy Appleseed had built the cabin.
  • The chemistry between Andrew Gillespie and Gabe Tigerman in this episode would soon be re-utilized for the respective roles of Henry Thomas and Pete Flanagan in #240: “And the Glory”.
  • The splashing in the drowning scene was done in a small tub of water in one of the studio rooms.
  • Kathy Buchanan stated in an interview that when she was listening to this episode in her car, she had to pull over because she was crying so hard.
  • This episode's cast and characters are all male.


Timothy Riley: P.D., I do know of one friend who will never hurt you or let you down.
P.D. Barnes: You do?
Timothy Riley: Uh huh. I can introduce you to him if you want me to.
P.D. Barnes: Where does this friend of yours live?
Timothy Riley: Right here, in my heart. His name is Jesus.

P.D. Barnes: What Timmy told me that night in the cabin about Jesus never left me. Detention gave me time to think about it. And I gave my life to the Lord while I was in jail.

John Whittaker: You aren't getting out of it that easily. And neither is Tom.