In A Tale of Two Cities two characters named Sydney and Charles love the same woman. The two men look a bit alike, but she ends up marrying Charles. They have two children together.
Much later, Charles is put in prison and sentenced to death. In a powerful act of self-sacrifice, Sydney breaks into the prison, knocks out Charles, and has some friends drag him away to safety. Since they look alike, Sydney gets into Charles’ clothes and pretends to be him.
Why did he do all this? He did it to die in his place. Another character later realizes that the person who is supposed to be Charles isn’t really Charles. “Are you dying for him?” she asked. “And for his wife and child,” he replied.*
His selfless sacrifice not only ensured that Charles would live, but that his family wouldn’t be without their husband and father.
This is a helpful way to think about the meaning of Good Friday. Jesus exchanged his life for yours. He experienced your death sentence to set you free.
He didn’t do it because we deserve it, but because he loves us.
“Christ… suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
Today, spend some time at the foot of the cross—not physically, of course, but spiritually. Give thanks. And ponder the gift of freedom and peace with God that you would not otherwise have.
Jesus exchanged his life for yours. He experienced your death sentence to set you free.
—Notice: The Up Devotional will be going on break after Easter for two weeks, returning on May 2, 2022.
—Click here for a short video about what to expect during Holy Week at Westminster in 2022.
–*As retold in: Timothy Keller, Encounters with Jesus (New York: Dutton, 2013), 78-79.