Most of the courtrooms I've been exposed to are on TV. But not long ago, I had a moment in a courtroom that 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 - we'll 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 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 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. I had a hard time not crying - because we knew what this girl could be. We had told her attorney, the public defender, 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 - 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 said those wonderful words - "I'm free! I'm free!"
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Price For Freedom."
There was only one way Cathy could have gone 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 Jesus had done that for me. And for you.
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Mark 10:35. "The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life 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 hell of our sins.
What we owe in the court of God is hopelessly beyond our ability to pay. God says, "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). That's eternal death. 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.
Picture it. You are 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 your future. But this could be the day you reach out to Jesus to accept Him as the only One who can rescue you.
Someone else has paid the price for what you have done - the Son of God Himself. Now let this be the day you walk out of the courtroom of God, saying those wonderful, wonderful words - "I'm free! I'm free!"