Friday, September 21, 2018
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It was centuries ago, when all of North America belonged to its Native people. One nomadic Indian tribe in the Great Plains, according to the story, was blessed with a chief that was beloved and respected by everyone who knew him. He was known as a man who deeply loved his people and he showed it. And he was a man of absolute justice and fairness and he showed that. One day some braves brought a very troubling report to him; there had been several mysterious thefts from people in the tribe. The chief wanted to nip this kind of stealing in the bud so he announced a pretty severe penalty for the thief. He would be tied to a post when the sun was high, his back laid bare, and he would be beaten with a whip twenty times. Then the chief set a trap. He asked two of his trusted braves to leave some animal pelts in front of a teepee one night and to watch all night from another teepee. It was the middle of the night when one of those braves awakened the chief with the news, "We've caught the thief." "Then bring him in," the chief ordered sternly.
You could see the reluctance; even the pain on the braves' faces as they brought the thief into the chief's tent that night. The chief was stunned to see who they had caught. It was his own mother. The next day, when the sun was high, everyone in the tribe gathered around the pole in the center of the village. There was heated discussion about what the chief would do. Would he sacrifice his love for his mother for the sake of justice and fairness? Or would he sacrifice his justice for his love?
Now it was time. Very sadly, two braves marched the chief's mother to the whipping post and they tied her there as two women bared her back for the whip. "The chief is putting his justice above his love," the people whispered as the warrior with the whip raised his right arm to administer the first lash. Suddenly, the chief emerged from his teepee and shouted, "Stop! Let her go!" And as the people turned to look at their chief walking toward the whipping post, they began to say, "Ah-ha! His love is greater than his justice. He's letting her go unpunished for what she did."
The chief untied the thief he loved, and then to the shock of everyone, as he removed his buckskin shirt, he said, "Tie me." Hesitantly, the braves tied their chief to the post. Then he barked out his final command, "Begin the whipping." There, before all his people, their honored chief took the full and painful punishment for the crimes of the one he loved.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Chief and the Thief."
That story is my story, and it's your story. The chief is no one less than the Prince of Heaven, the Son of Almighty God. The one who has broken the law and deserves the punishment is me and you. God's justice could not be compromised; all our sinning against Him, all our defiant choices that have ignored what He wanted have to be paid for. And the penalty established long ago is death. Because of His justice, your sin and mine had to be punished.
Because of His love, He didn't want you to have to pay for it. So He stepped into your place and on a blood-stained cross, He took all the hell for all your sin. Isaiah 53:5-6, our word for today from the Word of God, "He was pierced for our transgressions...the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him...we all, like sheep, have gone astray...and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity (the wrongdoing) of us all."
Today, Jesus is coming to you where you are, and He's offering to give you the pardon He secured for you with His blood. But you have to take it or you will face the punishment that He died to save you from. Don't wait another day to make things right with God. Tell Him, "Lord, because you died and rose again for me, I'm putting all my trust in you." That's how you trade death for life.
Look, our website is all about beginning this relationship. This would be a wonderful time for you to visit there and be sure you belong to this Jesus. It's ANewStory.com. Please, don't walk away from the One who took your place, who took your punishment. He's your only hope and He really, really loves you.