Sunday, July 11, 2010

Once Upon A Time

   Once upon a time there was a very small town with a very big judge. The town people, and those in all the land around, knew this judge to be very just and thoroughly fair. The people also knew this judge was deeply loving.
   The law in this town was different and more absolute than the lax laws of Canada or the selective and loopholed laws of the United States. You see, in this town there was only one penalty when someone broke the law. The penalty was death.
   One day in this small town, a man, whom the judge loved very much, apparently broke the law. He was, in fact, the judge’s very best friend.
   This event set the whole town abuzz. “What would the judge do if the court found him guilty?” they wondered. “Could he set his friend free or would he give the death penalty?”
   When the day of the trial arrived, the entire town came to the courthouse to watch. Indeed, what would the judge do?
   The judge’s friend came before the judge. It quickly became clear that there would be no trial because the judge’s friend immediately pleaded guilty.
   The townsfolk became quizzical and uneasy. Surely the judge would not send his best friend, a person whom he loved very much, to death. That would not be loving at all. Yet, if he did not sentence the death penalty, then he would no longer be a just and true judge because he would no longer be fulfilling the law. Whatever would happen here? Trepidation lay in their midst as they watched to see what the judge would choose.
    The judge paused and looked lovingly at his friend. “My friend, I have know you since you were a child. I have loved you always. I always will.
   “However, in this case before me, you have pleaded guilty; I have no choice but to give the death sentence. Justice and the law require it.” He then brought the gavel down with thud.
   The town folk were shocked. “How could he do that to his friend?” they asked each other. “Surely, he is less than loving.” At the same time they were well aware that if he had not done that, then he would have been a less that just judge. They shook their heads, perplexed.
   But the judge was not finished. He stood up, took off his robe, looked down at his friend and calmly said, “My friend, I will serve the death sentence for you. I will substitute in your place. The law will then be satisfied, the penalty will have been paid and you may go free.”
   Thus, in this little town, the judge delivered both conclusive justice and ultimate love at the same time.
   The gospel message was delivered. 

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