There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
Bad Bobby stood on the gallows, the rope tied securely around his neck. Judge Justice stood nearby while Warden Gordon read the charges against Bobby. Five counts of murder, 10 counts of theft, two counts of arson and one count of kicking the warden’s dog. Bobby had pleaded not guilty, but the jury didn’t buy it – and they were right. Bobby did all of it; he was as guilty as sin, and he’d done dozens of other things that they didn’t know about.
Once the charges were read, the warden gave Bobby a chance to speak, but he just stood there, silent. What good would it do now that he was about to die? At that point, the warden went through his spiel, ending with “May God have mercy on your soul.” Just before the executioner pulled the handle to spring the trap door, a voice chimed in: “I have something to say!”
Every head turned. It was Jesse Justice, the judge’s son, who was known to help people in need. Jesse had fed a few thousand people with just some catfish and cornbread. He’d saved the McCoy wedding party by turning some barrels of water into kosher wine. And just the other day, he’d rubbed some mud from Lake Murphy onto a blind guy’s eyes and restored his sight.
Now he was standing here wanting to speak up for the worst man in the county (and maybe the worst man in the country). Jesse stepped up to the gallows and said, “Bobby here is a friend of mine. Sure, he’s done some bad things, and he probably deserves what you’re about to give him. But if anyone is going to get hanged today, it won’t be Bobby. It’ll be me.”
The people gasped as Jesse took the noose from around Bobby’s neck and put it on his own. He turned to the executioner and said, “Go ahead and pull the lever. I’m ready.” Confused, the executioner looked at Judge Justice, who wiped a tear from his eye, and then nodded. The executioner breathed deep, and then pulled the handle…
Sounds crazy, right? But that’s exactly what Jesus did for us when He took the cross onto himself. Jesus never did anything wrong in His entire life, but when it came to punishment, He took the death sentence for everyone throughout history. That’s why Paul wrote that, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Our faith in Christ takes the noose off of our neck and puts it onto Jesus. It wasn’t fair to Jesus, but it was His choice because He loved us infinitely.
Today, read and re-read today’s passage from Romans. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, thank Him for His sacrifice on your behalf, and recommit yourself to living for Him. And if you haven’t received Him as your Savior, what’s keeping you from doing that? There’s no better day than today to start living as a Christian. This link gives some easy steps to start you down that path.
Reflection copyright © 2017 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.