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Determined to avenge the assault of their young fourteen year old girlfriend, ten young people raced away from the hospital with a description of her assailant: an Hispanic man driving a red vehicle. Then by deception, the group of vigilantes lured young Leonel Cifuenies, a young Guatemalan driving a red truck, to a secluded spot outside of Carthage, Missouri and beat him with baseball bats, rocks, and clubs. The confused man played dead so the torture would stop.

While being beat, Cifuenies spoke to his assailants in broken English, “Hey, guys, what happened? I don’t know you, you don’t know me. I didn’t do anything.”

At the same hour, The Jasper County Sheriff’s Department had apprehended Francisco Vega, who would later be charged with the crime. The mob nearly killed the wrong guy.

What a haunting reminder that Jesus too, was the wrong guy.

“Jesus was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-6)

Source: SermonCentral Staff. Citation: “July 19, Mistaken Identity.” The Carthage Press, August 19, 1997.

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