Maybe you’ve heard the story about the ruler of a land who one day passed a law that prohibited citizens from doing certain things in the country. It was later discovered that his own mother had broken the new laws. So, the law keepers of the land brought the mother to her son, the king.
“Your mother has broken the law. You said anyone who breaks these laws would receive twenty stripes.” The law keepers reminded him.
The king was in a dilemma. He had a standard that he could not change. It was a standard which applied to everybody. But he really did not want the rules or the consequences to apply to his mother. After all, he loved his mother! How could he keep his standard of perfection and still honor and respect his mother? How could he show love to his mother without playing favorites?
The king then did the unthinkable. He unbuttoned his shirt, and told the law keepers to whip him. He ordered the man with the whip to lash him twenty times. He bent over and took the twenty lashes for his mother. He met the demands of the law, yet he showed love and mercy to his mother by taking the penalty that she deserved on himself.
Enter Jesus Christ. God says that “the soul who sins shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:20a) The very nature of spiritual death is eternal separation from our Holy God. But Jesus Christ did the unthinkable! He offered Himself to be hung on the cross in our place. Jesus Christ took the penalty of calvary that you and I deserved. God obeyed the law that He Himself had set, yet provided a substitute so that you and I could be delivered. He is both “just and the justifier of all those who believe in Jesus Christ.” (Romans 3:26b) The cross shows that anyone’s attempt to come to God by their own works and under their own power is not enough. Read Romans 3:21-26.