The Substitute

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

The courtroom falls silent as the judge repeats the jury’s verdict: Guilty. Death penalty. Everyone knows you are guilty; you’d even admitted robbing your neighbor’s house and torching it. Your friends had been laughing, urging you on. Drunk with rage, you hadn’t cared that the neighbor’s son was asleep upstairs. You hated those neighbors. Millionaires, building hospitals and soup kitchens. Thought they were so perfect. They deserved to have their do-good world rocked a little. But now the fun is over. You’re rethinking your choices, but it’s too late. The deed was done and the law must be satisfied. Justice requires your death.

As the uniforms lead you away, the courtroom doors fling open. A well-dressed man races down the aisle. “Stop!” he shouts. Everyone gasps. It’s your neighbor. Tears flowing down his face, he approaches the judge’s bench. “Your Honor, please. Let me take the punishment. There’s so much life ahead for this one, and he’s not ready to die. I’ll take his place.” In horror you watch the bailiff unlock your handcuffs and place them on the town benefactor. As they lead him away, you turn to the judge. “No! That’s not right. He didn’t do anything, I did. I should pay my own way!” The judge bangs the gavel once more. “You’re free to go. The law has been satisfied. The one you wronged has taken your punishment.”

That is what God did for us. While we still hated Him, He took our punishment. You’ve been given a second chance at life. How are you using such a gift?  

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