Romans 6:23

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Staring out of the cold bars, I yearned with the entirety of my very being that the sun would never rise. The sunrise, bringing forth the birth of a new day, would bear my execution. Every passing second was a precious grain of sand slipping out of my fingertips beyond my control. In the stale prison cell, the air was sweet and precious. I didn't want to die, though surely I deserved to. What crime, what sin, what terrible atrocity hadn't I committed? And now was the hour of atonement.

Keys jangled sharply from outside the cell door. It couldn't be. Not yet. The faintest ray of sunlight was glimmering, but nothing more. Were they to carry out the sentence early? Was I living my very last minutes? I had tried so hard to prepare myself for this moment, but somehow I just wasn't ready to die. The familiar, austere guard opened the door. An image of a broken body with a head severed filled my frantic mind. Terror seized my rapidly beating heart. Wobbling incessantly, my unstable legs were powerless to support my feeble frame.

But who was the tranquil man who stood behind the guard clad in a tunic, wearing a steady smile on his face? Steadying my trembling flesh with his gentle hands, he told me that he would take my place. Take my place?! I had never laid eyes upon the man before this day. Yet he would take my place and my execution??

When I saw that the man was serious, I wept uncontrollably and was led out of the room of confinement. As I was engulfed by the clear blue sky I thought I would never see again, the realization came that I would live. I glanced back at the bars that had sealed my window from freedom and witnessed a loving glance from the savior before he was led away to serve my sentence.

He had willingly sacrificed himself, though he had done nothing wrong and I was the criminal. Who was this man that would lay down his life so that I might live? "For the wages of sin is death, but this gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."