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I saw the very end of some show or movie yesterday. I have no idea what it was, but it was a courtroom scene. Martin Sheen was the judge. The defense attorneys were asking for mercy for the defendant because he had been a Marine Sergeant & had served his country in Vietnam.

Sheen responded by saying he had served in the Marines in WWII (which, as a jab to the young defendant, he called "a REAL war") and didn¡¦t see that as an excuse for criminal behavior. His anger increasing, he said that the young man's actions, which had ended the lives of several people, indicated he had forgotten any notions of dignity and honor he learned in the Marines. He then sentences the young man to 15 years to life. His mother starts to cry. The man is at first expressionless, then starts saying, "What's this 'life'? What do you mean 'life'?" He starts shouting, picks up a heavy wooden chair and flings it effortlessly, barely missing the judge. The guards subdue him and drag him off.

When Jesus went to the cross, it was as if, in that court scene, Martin Sheen declared the sentence, and then, just as the defendant was dragged away, Sheen would step down from his bench, take off his judge's robe, tell the security guards to let the young man go and take him away instead.

It isn't that the judge looked the other way and just declared the man innocent.

He was declared guilty, but his sentence was fulfilled by another, and so he was just as free as if he HAD been innocent.

One would hope, in the face of such a gift, he wouldn't squander his second chance at life by getting involved in crime again.

Imagine what a slap in the face it would be to do that.

It would be like rejecting that incredible gift altogether.

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