Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NIV)
The cross and the guillotine have some things in common: they were both cruel methods of execution. The guillotine was used by Germans and perfected by a French doctor, who hoped to make the beheading of a condemned person more efficient and humane. He was against capital punishment and viewed it as a less brutal way of execution until capital punishment could be abolished. It is hard to see how cutting off one's head could be made humane.
The cross was a method of execution used by the Persians, later by the Greeks, and eventually by the Romans as a very cruel method of executing those who had committed acts against the Roman state. Crucifixion was particularly horrible, where convicts died of exposure and by drowning in their own body fluids when they no longer had the strength to lift themselves to breathe. However, there is something else that these two methods of execution have in common.
Do you know the story, A Tale of Two Cities, written by Charles Dickens, where the English look-alike, Sydney Carton, went to the guillotine in the place of Charles Darnay, a French family man? This man was in a well-guarded French prison, and there was no way to save him except to change places and die in his stead.
Have you ever wondered why someone would do that? The Englishman was a drunk and felt that the French nobleman, a family man, had more reason to live. He had come to love the Frenchman's family, and the Frenchman was an innocent man, who just happened to be born into the wrong family at the wrong time in history.
The death of Jesus provides a contrast. Jesus died on a cross, not for the innocent but for the guilty. We were the ones who deserved to die, but He was the one who died. Jesus was perfect and without sin, totally blameless, but He still chose to pay the price.
You see, there was no other way. We were guilty. Someone had to die. Jesus chose to change places with us. Jesus chose to die for the very people who sinned against Him and even for those who nailed Him to the cross. We did the crime; Christ did the time—or in this case, gave His life. All we have to do is repent and accept His forgiveness.
Prayer: Father, we do repent of our sin and ask forgiveness. We acknowledge Jesus as our Saviour and accept His love, forgiveness, and gift of salvation. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Lead Me To Calvary" (Lyrics)