Jesus Took My Place

It's Easter! And since we're celebrating Jesus's resurrection from the grave, I thought it'd be fitting to share with you a bit about what He did for me that day, long ago, on the Cross.

I stand here now and take a moment look back on the course of my 25-year existence. I'm amazed. Jesus gave up His life so I could live fully and freely. I meditate on what God has done in me, and I begin to stack stones — reminders of His faithfulness. One story in particular comes to mind. A story about how Jesus miraculously showed up in my life when I needed Him most.

Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
— 1 Timothy 1:13-16, NIV

In 2009 I got into a fight at one of Cape Town's biggest nightclubs. I smashed a tumbler glass through another man's face. I was arrested and charged with assault GBH (intent to do grievous bodily harm). I was told by authorities that I was looking at five years in Pollsmoor Prison, a maximum security facility in Cape Town.

The day before my court date, the family of the man I assaulted dropped the charges. They said they feared ruining my life. A gracious act, indeed. But the story doesn't end there. My fate was transferred to the hands of the state government. It had to decide whether or not to prosecute. The next morning, I showed up at court, and when my name was called, I was told a sentence I'll never forget: "You're free to go." 

Jesus took my place.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
— 1 Peter 2:24-25, NIV

Today, as you celebrate the Easter weekend with your family, friends, and loved ones, I invite you to join me in doing these three things:

1. Remembering the times when Jesus took your place
Remember Jesus and all He has done in your life. Live a life of thankfulness — one that is fully immersed in His presence. Jesus was beaten, hung on the Cross, and bore our sin and shame. He died the death we should've died. In love, He took our place. In one act of glory, He opened the door of salvation for us all.

2. Stacking stones of God's faithfulness
When I reflect on my life, I can recall five significant monuments — times when God's glory and faithfulness were undeniably evident. I can look back on those stacked stones and stand on the promise that He has my life in the palms of His hands when I venture onto shaky ground. God has called us to a life fully dependent on Him, and we'll lose faith in His provision quickly if we don't choose to remember what He's already done.

3. Breaking bread
With a thankful heart, enter into a time of communion with the Lord. Eat the bread that resembles His body — the one that was beaten and broken for you. And drink from the cup that represents the blood covenant and holy sacrifice that gives us eternal life. Worship and enjoy the day because Jesus's work on the Cross is worthy of celebration!

After you've had a chance to reflect on what Jesus has done in your life, would you like to share any stories about Him taking your place? If so, I'd love to here your testimony! Feel free to send me a message.