Before the Judge
I sat nervously in my seat fidgeting with my skirt. There was a buzz of small talk around the room. I could feel my eyes widen with apprehension as I glanced to my left and my right. I was in a courtroom.
I had been pulled over for having not updated registration. And there I was 5 weeks later sitting in the courtroom with my registration updated, curling and uncurling the ticket in my hand.
I had driven to the courthouse with plenty of time to spare. I walked up the steps of the courthouse only to remember I couldn't bring in my cell phone. Drat. Walked back to the car. Walked back toward the courthouse... oh no- I had in my purse a mini video recorder I had forgotten about. Back to the car. By the time I had actually taken my seat in the wooden pew I could feel the sweat sticking to the back of my neck. Definitely lost my calm, cool, and collected look.
I uncrossed and re-crossed my legs about ten times and then HE walked in. The judge. We all rose. My stomach did a slight flip.
I watched this judge interact with each person- lawyers, prosecutors, defendant, etc. He was a serious man but very fair and a kind smile lurking behind severe eyebrows. I gulped. What would I say? I saw people sentenced to jail. I saw others released.
"Jennifer _________" I approached the bench. The officer who had pulled me over stood there. I passed the officer my updated registration and spoke to the judge. "Good Morning Your Honor." I felt like a child speaking to an adult. I think my eyes must have been bulging out of my head. He looked at me slightly amused by my very serious expression. The officer explained that I had done what was necessary to remedy the situation by completing my registration requirements. The judge looked at me and told me I was dismissed and free to go. He then stopped and looked at me "Mrs. _______, let's not let this happen again. Let's keep up to date with these things, okay?" "yes, sir." gulp.
I walked briskly out of the courtroom. Listening to my heels click against the hallway outside the room I felt like yelling in relief. Phew.
It occurred to me then that I was just freed of my punishment (paying a fine). I was released of my breaking the law. Maybe the better word is absolved. I know my brother-in-law would know all this technical jargon.
I realized-Wow- how much more serious it is that God is my JUDGE. Here I was in a courtroom watching a human judge make decisions about people's lives and futures and I was shaken up. I felt reverent, serious, pensive, somber. But to stand before an all knowing, all wise, all Mighty and Powerful, All Holy, all-seeing, Omnipresent God...
I look to my side and see Jesus is standing there. Jesus is standing by my side... He's looking to the Judge (His Father) and saying... I paid the price. I took all her faults, sins- every law she broke... I too it upon myself.
He took my punishment on Himself so I can be free. It made me realize the sweetness of that freedom.
I didn't deserve to walk out of that courthouse without paying a fine... but I did. It was grace. But then I did rectify the situation... But with God there is nothing I can to do to make things right. I'm completely hopeless. That's where grace comes in...and mercy.
I'm given grace- getting what I don't deserve, haven't earned.
I'm given mercy- NOT getting what I do deserve.
I deserve to receive the punishment of my sin... but Jesus Christ took my punishment. And not only that He doesn't just take my punishment... but He forgives me and reconciles me to the Father. He restores my relationship with God... so that I'm adopted into His family.
What an amazing, amazing truth. I have been set free.