July 25, 2023

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For many years now I've spent most of my summer working with Native American young people. So I was especially interested when I heard the touching story of an Indian chief who was chief during the time when tribes were still wandering tribes. He had a reputation for being a really great leader. In fact it was said that he was always just, but he was always loving. That was about to be severely tested, though, in a way he could have never dreamed.

There had been some theft in his tribe and he needed to get to the bottom of it. So he actually set a trap with some goods that were left out, and he hoped that those would trap the thief. He only told two braves, and then those two braves waited. At dawn they came to the chief's teepee. One brave entered, and he said, "We have caught the thief." The chief said, "Good! We will sentence him to 20 lashes with the whip. Bring him in." And they did to the shock and horror of the chief. The hours that followed would never be forgotten by that tribe.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Chief and the Thief."

When those braves brought in the thief who had been caught in the act, they brought in the chief's mother. Well, word spread very quickly through the tribe, because there was to be a punishment of 20 lashes with the whip. And the people began to say, "Well, now we'll find out which is greater, his justice or his love." At noon his mother was tied to a stake in the middle of the encampment, her garment was loosened to expose her back, and a warrior drew back his arm with the whip. And suddenly there was an order that came from the chief, "Stop!"

The people began to talk to each other and say, "You know, he's setting aside his justice for his love isn't he? His love's greater than his justice." And that's when something happened that no one there would ever forget. The chief took off his robe so that his back was exposed, placed his body between his mother and the whip and gave a two-word order, "The whip!" And that day the punishment fell - 20 lashes, not on the one who deserved it, but on one who loved her enough to take the punishment that she deserved. That is what God's one and only Son did for you and for me.

Our word for today from the Word of God, 1 Peter 2:24, "He carried our sins in His own body on the tree so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed." The penalty for sinning had been set from the beginning of time, from the Garden of Eden, "You will surely die."

We've all broken God's laws; we've all broken God's heart by running the life He gave us to live for Him. There's a death penalty for that. I deserve the whip of God and so do you. But He said, "Take Me instead." When Jesus went to that cross, the punishment of God fell not on the one who deserved it (that's me), but on the one who loved you and loved me enough to take the punishment we deserved. God's love sent His one and only Son to die in your place.

If you thought your good deeds or your religion could pay your bill with God, look at that cross. It takes someone dying to pay a death penalty. But that sacrifice only rescues you if you put your total trust in what Jesus did and embrace Him as the Rescuer from your sin.

John 3:16 says, "Whoever believes in Him will not die but will have everlasting life." Have you ever done that? Have you ever believed in the sense of like grabbing Jesus consciously like a drowning person would grab a lifeguard? If you're not sure you've done that with Jesus, make sure today. Tell Him, "Lord, I believe some of those sins you died for were mine. I'm putting all my trust in You today.

I'd love to help you get started with Him. So I want to invite you to our website where there's a lot of information that will help you get started with Him. That's the website. It could be the beginning of your new story.

The Son of God has stood between you and the punishment of God. Now He stands in front of you with outstretched hands, nail-pierced hands. He's waiting for you to respond to His love. Please don't wait another day.



Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)


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