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serving jesus christ the king

Freedom at a Price

(April’s Verse)

There is a great scene in the 1992 film
The Last of the Mohicans. Set in the British-French-Native Indian conflicts in colonial America, the main characters Duncan, a British officer, and Hawkeye, an adopted Indian, both love Cora, the beautiful daughter of Colonel Munro. Cora however has eyes only for Hawkeye. In the final scene they have all been taken captive by the Huron tribe. They stand before the chief awaiting their fate. Since they don’t speak the tribal dialect the conversation is in French, understood by Duncan and the chief, but not Hawkeye. Duncan translates the chief for Hawkeye, and Hawkeye for the chief.

The chief declares his final judgment on the party—the dark girl (Cora) is to burn in fire for the sins of her father and his people (the English). Duncan and Hawkeye are both to go free. In desperation Hawkeye shouts at Duncan to translate: “No! Listen” (to Duncan) “Tell him I'll trade him! Me for her! Tell him!! (to the chief) “My death is a great honour to the Huron. Take me!”

Duncan turns and translates in rapid-fire French. The chief looks at Duncan. Hawkeye shouts “Did you tell him?” Duncan responds “Yes.” There is a long pause as both men look at each other, Hawkeye steps forward to be taken, but as the chief nods, the warriors seize Duncan and leave Hawkeye.

Duncan is tied with his arms outstretched and hung up in the flames. And Hawkeye realises that what Duncan has done is to give himself in place of Cora. He had deliberately translated Hawkeye’s words as applying to himself, saying, “Take me. Me for her. Take me!”

Out of love for someone who didn’t love him he said, “Take me”. And he dies in the fire so that someone who didn’t love him could be set free. He offers himself so that she could be redeemed.

And that is like what Jesus has done—in the words of this month’s verse:

“In him (Jesus) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:7)

Out of love for those who didn’t love him, he stood before the judgment of God, and when the sentence should have fallen on us, he said, “Take me. Me for them. Take me”. And because of his death we have redemption—freedom. Our sins have been forgiven, our guilty record expunged, and justice satisfied.

However this is not a blanket payment, as the verse notes it is only ‘in him’ or ‘in relationship with him’ that we can have this privilege. There is great and full forgiveness available, but it is only in Jesus. Only he will go into the flames for you. And if you haven’t asked him, then you will have to face them yourself. But this Easter he says to you once again, “Come to me, trust me, and you can be forgiven and free. I will stand in your place so that you can be free from sin, judgment and Hell.”