Wednesday, December 30, 2015
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Most of the courtrooms I've been exposed to are on TV. But there was a moment in a courtroom I will never forget. It began when we learned the whereabouts of a young Native American friend we had been trying to locate for a while. Let's call her Cathy. We learned, almost miraculously, that after a dark time away from God, Cathy was in jail in Nebraska. We got that word on Friday as I was leaving Michigan to meet our Native American summer team in South Dakota on a Monday night. We ate up the Interstate trying to get to Nebraska before Cathy went before the Judge. She had no idea we were coming—until we saw her during her Sunday afternoon visiting hours.
The next day we watched as she was marched down those courthouse stairs in her orange prisoner uniform, her hands shackled. It was hard to see. I had a hard time not crying. We knew what this girl could be. We'd spoken with her attorney who was the public defender, and we explained that we would be willing to pay the fines that she owed. Neither she nor her family had anything to pay those with. Cathy sat with her attorney before the Judge's bar, and my wife and I sat behind them. The Judge reviewed the charges against Cathy and the penalties. Then he looked at me and said, "I understand someone here is willing to pay these penalties." I managed to get out, "I will, your honor." The Judge proceeded to declare her case closed. And then Cathy turned and looked at us—and she said those wonderful words, "I'm free! I'm free!"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Price of Freedom."
There was only one way Cathy was going to go free. Someone had to come a long way to pay the price for what she had done. As I sat emotionally melted in that courtroom, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the fact that's what Jesus did for me and for you.
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Mark 10:45. "The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Ransom: think of a kidnapping situation. The ransom is the price you pay to set someone free. Jesus tells us what our freedom costs. He would have to "give His life." That price was paid as He suffered the unspeakable agony of dying on a cross, absorbing all the guilt and all the hell of your sin and mine.
What we owe in the court of God is hopelessly beyond our ability to pay. God said, "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). That's eternal death, separation from Him. We offer the Judge a little religion or decency to pay for a lifetime of running our life instead of Him running it. And it's nowhere near enough. We can't pay it.
Picture it. You're in the courtroom of Almighty God, clearly guilty of doing your life your way, not His way. The sentence is death. There's no hope of forgiveness, no hope of heaven. Then the Judge says, "I understand someone here is willing to pay this." Jesus stands, and as He extends His nail-pierced hands, He says, "I will, Your Honor. I'll pay it." He came an awful long way for you; all the way from the Throne Room of the universe to a blood-stained cross. And there He paid it all.
The question is, have you ever told God you were putting your total trust in Jesus and what He did on the cross? If not, God's death penalty is still on you. It's still your future. But this could be the day you reach out to Jesus to accept Him as the only One who can rescue you.
Today right where you are you can say, "Jesus, I turn from running my own life to the One who died and gave His life to pay for every wrong thing I have ever done against You. And, today, Jesus I put all my hope in You. I'm Yours."
I wish you'd go to our website, because there's some information there that will help you nail down this relationship with Jesus once and for all. It's ANewStory.com. Maybe it's time to talk with someone. You want to, and you can text us about that at 442-244-WORD.
Someone else has paid the price for what you have done—the Son of God himself. So let this be the day you walk out of the courtroom of God, saying those wonderful, wonderful words, "I'm free! I'm free!"