So with the King away so often on duties that would take him away from the palace, the only option for 'royal discipline' for his offspring was to 'take it out' on a lowly "whipping boy".
This lad would often be brought up with the heir and as such became a playmate and eventually a friend of the Prince.
When the royal child did find themselves on the wrong side of the palace officials and needed correction, usually in the form of a thorough beating, it was the whipping boy who took the punishment on behalf of the royal.
Bit bizarre you may question? I know I did! what an unfair system of so-called justice. And yet in some respects I guess it worked well. The boys would grow up as friends and become quite close. The Prince when doing wrong would see his friend take a beating on his behalf. that alone may have a lasting effect on the royal and maybe just maybe it would deter him from making the same mistake again.
There are lots to argue from either side but when it comes to the crunch it still seems grossly unfair.
Figuratively and literally speaking Jesus did that very thing for us - He in every way became our 'whipping boy' in every sense. He not only took our whipping but in fact laid down His life for us.
Why did Jesus have to do this?
Well, some believe that Jesus didn't die to pay the penalty for sins, that God didn't need to have Jesus killed. They believe that Jesus was showing the crowds way back then and indeed us today just how far true love would go. That even the threat of death from would not and could not subdue His love.
That sounds amazing and yes, I truly believe that Jesus' love for us drove Him on to His ultimate sacrifice. Jesus' very last commandment was in fact for us to love as He loved.
John 13: 34-35 "A new commandment I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
Certainly love is the key but the fact remains that we have ALL sinned everyone of us! Romans 3: 23 "For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
We have all fallen short, none of us have attained the perfection God has demanded. Only Jesus stands as the sinless one - the ONLY one who never sinned - was tempted in every way as we are BUT never sinned.
If Jesus didn't die for our sins NOT one of us would come near to even 'think' that God would accept us into His kingdom.
1 John 2: 2 says "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." (NIV)
I love the way "The Message" puts this verse "Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, He solved the sin problem for good. - not only ours but the whole world's."
Jesus is our sin bearer - I truly believe that Jesus did so much more than showing us an example of how to love and live. That, as far as I am concerned is a 'given' - He certainly DID do that, but He also did far far more.
Jesus took up the sins of the world when He picked up that cross. He not only carried that huge tree but also your sins and mine. The ones in the past, the present and future, all there on His broken body, dragged up that hill and nailed alongside of Him on that cross.
So where does that leave us? Just with a beautiful example of what true love looks like? Sure that is a major part of it, but ever so much more.
Jesus did for us what no one could ever have done. He opened the gates of eternity to sinful people to you and me so that all we need to do is come to the cross, accept what He did, ask forgiveness from our God and by faith, trusting in Him, hand our lives and our future to His care.
Have you done that? Have you confessed your sin? Have you asked Christ to come and take over your life? Have you handed over one hundred percent, holding nothing back?
His grace took Him to Calvary,
His love showed Him the way,
That's why I want to live for Him
and praise Him every day.
And when I think of Calvary
And what He did for me
How the father's wrath was paid
By His death upon the tree.
My heart cries out with gratutude
That He the Lord most high
Should deign to take my sins upon Himself and bleed and die
He rose again victoriously
and one amazing day
He'll come and claim the faithful
Who have followed in His way
And all of those who love Him
Will meet Him face to face
To worship at His might throne
His glory and His grace
And when he comes in wonder
His beauty to display
And the sky rolls to herald
His bright and glorious day
the trumpet of the Lord shall sound
and every knee will fall
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord of all.
copyright Bruce Mewett