You are standing in a courtroom handcuffed and heavy laden. You know what’s going to happen to you. You attempted murder on a significant figure and in the courtroom in front of the world you hear, “Sentenced to death.”
Just then, the victim stands up in the court before the judge and says, “Wait.” You look up to see him before you and he looks you straight in the eye and says, “I forgive you and I will accept your punishment instead.”
Do you know anyone in their right mind that would do that?
I’m stealing this analogy from Pastor Tony Nolan who made me realize how precious is the gift of Jesus. Through the lens of the world we see a crime against our fellow man a lower priority than a crime against say the President of the United States. God sees both as equal and each crime is ultimately against the Lord of all Creation. God is also clear about the punishment for that as well. “The wages of sin is death…” but don’t stop reading! “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Roman 6:23)
Jesus stood up in court and said I don’t care what they did to me, I will take their death penalty. Jesus did not just get a slap on the hand; he suffered an agonizing death. Try to fathom an agonizing death that never ends! That is the jail that we would have been heading for if it weren’t for Jesus.
The Bible talks about “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Can you imagine laying down your life for your friend much less someone who did you wrong? That being said, how would you respond?
Imagine having to watch an innocent person willingly die because he wanted you to be free.
First, I would feel tremendously guilty and I would probably ask why me? Then I would realize that I have been given a second chance at life. Anyone who has had a brush with death will confirm their new found appreciation of life. As a result, they live differently.
If my close friend took my death penalty, I don’t know about you, but I would make my friend known to the world to inspire, to encourage, and give hope. Then I would strive to be more like my friend.
That is what we are called to do. Who wouldn’t want to keep this story inside? Who wouldn’t want to love like never before? We are called to be like the one who loved us so much that he said “I got this one, you try again.”
Try again at life because without Jesus you are doing something wrong. Try to make better decisions, try to be more loving, try to forgive, and try to be positive. You will make mistakes. You might get stuck in the trials of life like quicksand. You might even fall into a deep black hole of life’s worst circumstances, but if you don’t try to get out, you never will.
With tears in my eyes, I realized how surreal my relationship with my Savior is and I don’t want you to miss out on his wonderful gift of love, companionship, and forgiveness.
We stumble everyday with God; we get into a rut and we get discouraged. I’m a clumsy person and I trip all of the time (figuratively and literally), but if I look where I’m going I won’t trip as often. So how are you going to respond to a being that endured your hate and your crimes and still said I’ll take it because I love you?
Accept his gift and try again.