Taking Our Punishment
“The school stared in perplexity at this incredible folly. Tom stood a moment, to gather his dismembered faculties; and when he stepped forward to go to his punishment the surprise, the gratitude, the adoration that shone upon him out of poor Becky’s eyes seemed pay enough for a hundred floggings.” Chapter 20, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
In “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” Mark Twain wrote of a particular situation young Tom found himself in. The details escape me, but I do remember that Becky Thatcher had done something that required disciplinary action. The guilty party was unknown to the schoolmaster, and when inquiries of class members reached Becky, Tom leapt to her rescue, claiming guilt for the offense. Twain is reported to have had little use for religion, yet this segment of his writings speaks of a concept that is a core element of Christianity. Romans, chapter 5 speaks at great length about sacrifice, specifically Jesus’ sacrifice for us. The apostle Paul tells us it is indeed a rare case when someone would be willing to die for a good or righteous man, but in the case of Jesus, He laid down His life for us while we were yet sinners. We have been saved from the wrath of God, because of His love for us!
Did you notice Becky’s reaction to Tom’s gallantry and sacrifice? Her eyes shone with gratitude and adoration at being delivered from her deserved punishment, leaving Tom feeling greatly appreciated for his actions. In Jesus’ case I wonder how many look to Him with the gratitude and adoration He deserves. What He has done for us is much greater than Tom’s service to Becky, especially since He was without sin (Hebrews 4:13). Isaiah tells us that He was “wounded for our transgressions” and “bruised for our iniquities” (53:5) and ultimately laid down His life for His friends (John 15:13). How do you look at the One who took the penalty you deserve? Do you love Him because He first loved you, giving so much in order that we could obtain the salvation we couldn’t on our own? We do have a loving God and a wonderful Savior!! Amen!
Copyright © 2007, Nolan P. Rutter