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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Taking my place

I don't know about you, but I am thankful that Jesus has taken my place - on the cross.  He's "doing time" for me so that I don't have to do time in hell.  He paid the penalty of  my sin.

I am guilty - He was and is innocent - yet he did my time for me.
Chuck Colson writes this story: 
“Near the city of San Jose in Brazil is a remarkable prison facility.  Twenty years ago the Brazilian government gave up on this prison and so they turned it over to two Christians who renamed the prison and decided to build this prison based on Christian principles.  With only two full employees all the work is done by inmates.” 
Chuck Colson visited this prison in Brazil and he said this,
“I found the inmates smiling particularly the murderer who held the keys to the prison open the gates and let me in.  Wherever I went in the prison I saw men at peace.  I saw clean living areas.  I saw people working cheerfully.  This is the power of the gospel. 
The walls were decorated with Bible verses.  Then my guide escorted me to the notorious prison cell that had once been used for torture.  He told me that it now houses only one inmate. 
As we walked down the long hall and he put the key in the lock he paused and asked, ‘Chuck, are you sure you want to go in?’  ‘Of course,’ I said impatiently.  ‘I’ve been in isolation cells all over the world.’ 
Slowly he swung open the massive door and I saw the solitary prisoner in that cell.
It was a wooden statue carved by the inmates of Jesus hanging on the cross. 
My guide said softly, ‘He’s doing time for the rest of us.’”
Powerful story.
Now then, let me ask you this question:  Once you are set free, once a prison sentence has been paid for and the doors open do you hang around the prison?  No.
You walk out the doors of that prison as fast as you can and never look back.
What I am saying this afternoon is this:  Whatever has you bound - in Jesus Christ -  you can be released from - you can walk out of that prison - free in Jesus Christ.

Why?  Because Jesus took your place.

So what you are struggling with?
Perhaps it is guilt.  You can't forget what you did.
Or resentment.  You can't forget what others have done to you and you're still locked in the prison of bitterness and hatred and anger and resentment.
Perhaps it is loneliness.  Or worry, anxiety or fear.
Perhaps you are bound by an addiction.  You can't stop "it" no matter how hard you try.
Please understand that through Jesus Christ and the power of the cross, you can walk out of that prison and be free.
Jesus was hung up on that cross so that you can lay your hang ups on him.
Just a thought for a Tuesday.

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