Saturday, February 04, 2006

Let me tell you a story..

The Courtroom

As the screen portrayed the evidence of the crimes, the judge sat watching the accused. Her hands gripped the rail before her, knuckles white with pressure. Emotions chased across her face matching the torrid changing scenes on the screen. Her relief was evident when the screen finally went blank. The visual torture was over, yet the pain of seeing her many crimes remained with her.

She dared not look at the judge. Her eyes strayed to the void of the screen, not even daring to think or analyse her feelings because of the intense pain she knew she’d find.

The Judgement

“How do you plead?”

She knew she was guilty of all of them—that is, she had committed them all—but as she was unaware at the time that some of the were crimes, could she be fairly judged as “guilty”? The words refused to go further than her throat, strangled by the tense know thre.

“Do you plead guilty?”

She nodded slowly. The judge prepared to read the sentence—death—but stopped as a note was passed to him. He looked up at the accused, a quizzical expression in his eyes.

The Rescue

“Someone wishes to speak in your defense before sentence is passed.” The judge took off his glasses. “It is a most unusual request but I see no reason why this person cannot be heard.”

The woman in the dock looked in bewilderment at the person entering the witness box opposite. He exuded a quiet, calm attitude that contrasted with the tense atmosphere of the courtroom. She was confused. She had never met this man before, she was sure of it, yet why would a stranger speak in her defence?

“Please make your statement quickly sir, we are busy today.”

Compassion Speaks

In an unhurried manner, the advocate turned to look at the judge. “I have not come to plead this woman’s innocence, Lord, I agree with the Court that she is guilty.”

The accused stiffened; tense again, fearing harm now from this man rather than help.

The advocate continued. “I would not wish justice to be perverted. Someone must be punished for these crimes. I come simply to offer myself in her place.”

The Substitute

From the dock the woman stared incredulously at the advocate. The judge shook his head. “Am I to understand that you are asking me to pass this woman’s judgement on your, instead?”

The man nodded.

“Why? Are you guilty of these crimes too?”

“No, my Lord, I am innocent.”

“What then, can be gained by such an action? How can I let an innocent man die and a guilty person go free?”

“But I will take her crimes by taking her punished. By taking her crimes onto myself she is, then, no longer guilty of anything and may go free.”

The judge sat back, stunned by the apparent logic of the reply.

“You need have no fear in releasing her. After seeing my death, for crimes she has committed, she will be a changed woman and won’t offend again.”

The Power of Love

“Your words are wise young man, and what you say holds true. Yet, again, I must ask you—why are you doing this?”

For the first time, the advocate turned and looked towards the dock. The woman met his gaze and stifled a gasp. His expression was rich with love—not romantic love, but a deep, indefinable love. She felt saturated by it, warmed by it, and deeply moved. Silently, and without knowing why, she began to weep.

Loved from the very Beginning

“I do it because I love this woman. I have known her all her life and have watched her growing. I know the depths of her, the goodness and love she possesses but which has never been allowed to surface. Through my death she will be set free and will be able to start afresh in that love.”


The judge nodded slowly. What the man had said felt right, though something in him found it hard to accept. Instinct overuled logic and he turned to the sobbing woman. “I don’t know what you did to deserve such love as this, but it has saved you. As this man is willing, I am prepared to pass your sentence upon him. You will be declared innocent and released, but he must die in your place.”

“Court dismissed!”

The Man

Receiving permission from the judge, the advocate stepped down and walked slowly across to the woman in the cock. He reached out and gently lifted her face up t his with his hand. His touch felt like a warm breeze and quietened her sobs.

“Don’t cry, my child.” he whispered.

Triumphant Love

“I .. I can’t let you d .. Do this!” she stammered, overawed..

“It is not in your power to stop me. I must do it. One day you will understand. Now go. Be free. Yet you will not be free of me. I will stay with you, in your heart and mind forever. You will live now—live a true life, an abundant life. I will watch over you and guide you always.”

She looked at him—perplexed. “You speak as if you are not going to die?”

He smiled. “I have already died, and yet you see me now—alive. I bore your sins a long time ago, my child.” He took his hand away from her face but continued to hhold her with his faze.

Although his words made no sense and she felt that she was drowning, something in his expression stopped her questioning. She became dizzy and felt herself drop to the floor.

Seconds later she came round, and sat up.

Dream or Reality?

The streetlight glowed through her bedroom curtains and the house was still. In a sudden rush she remembered her dream and, smiling for the first time in months, she lay back down and closed her eyes. “Thank you Lord” she whispered “now I understand.”

She turned over. The tears in her eyes, this time, were tears of job and not of pain, and soon she slept.

The Lord watched His child sleep -
and He was pleased.

© Ann Newstead 1993

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