I’ve heard stories for years of people fleeing the scene of an accident. I’ve never actually watched it happen. Until today. With an appointment at three this afternoon, I had pulled in the shopping center’s parking lot a few moment’s early. I headed for the building, but I noticed a couple of men standing as if they had been in conversation. When I focused on them, they were no longer talking to each other, but were pointing and gesturing excitedly toward the highway, just behind me. As anyone would, I turned my head toward the road, said to be the second busiest point of entry into our state. It was packed with traffic, some of it moving away from me, but most of the cars, pickups, and tractor-trailers were at a standstill; backed up for as far as the eye could see. It is not an unusual situation on this highway; certainly not worthy of the interest evidenced by the two aforementioned individuals. But suddenly, in the middle of the motionless traffic, my eye was drawn to movement. It was not a car rolling, but a man running across the highway rapidly.
As I took in the scene, I quickly realized that there had been an accident. Two vehicles had attempted to fill the same space in the turn lane and were still enmeshed, connected at the front bumpers and grills. It was obvious that there was a person in one of the cars, but on the other car, the driver’s door stood open and the seat behind the steering wheel was empty. It was obvious that the running man was actually vacating the scene of the accident as quickly as possible. He was far enough away from me that it was pointless to try to stop him, but I did jog to the street down which he was running, to see if I could note where he went, in case there should be a pursuit. By the time I reached the street, he had disappeared, most likely darting behind one of the many commercial units, to be hidden from prying eyes such as mine marking his flight. I went in to meet my appointment. I still haven’t heard if he was apprehended.
I don’t know why the man ran, but he clearly had something he couldn’t face. He may have been driving under the influence, or there may have been a suspended license, or an outstanding arrest warrant. It is even possible that he was in this country illegally and he feared the discovery of that and the consequences which would follow. But tonight, as I contemplate his alleged faults, I realize that I have been in the same position, wishing to hide things which I know that I have done, the consequences of which, I could not face. I have also left the door standing open as I fled the scene of my wrongdoing.
As I wrote yesterday’s blog post, I refused to preach to you, allowing you instead, to draw your own conclusion from the stories which were related before. Tonight, I hope you’ll allow me to preach for just a few lines. You see, this Friday, and the next few days after, mark the celebration of the most important occurrences in the history of the Christian faith. Our Savior chose – yes, chose – to come to His creation and take the consequences of the wrong, that had been done by the human race in the past and would be done in the future, upon Himself. Justice demanded death as the penalty for sin and He took that penalty. He died. For me. For you.
I will admit that there are years when I skip through Holy Week, moving from the triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, right to the victorious joy of Easter, Resurrection Day. I might have done that again this year if I hadn’t watched the young man run from his responsibilities this afternoon. For some reason, that door, standing open on the disabled car sitting in traffic today, reminded me of what our Savior did for us. You see, what He did was to take the place of the offender, sitting down right where the fugitive had been, and He said, “I will take the full penalty for whatever he has done.” And the Judge, sitting on His high bench in Heaven, accepted the offer.
Grace. A pardon for the undeserving, and mercy for the merciless. We are the beneficiaries of this incredible gift, bought at the price of the life of God’s Son. I will never comprehend that kind of selfless love. But, I will be forever grateful.
And, speaking of open doors, there is one still standing wide open for you. This is as good a time as any to walk through it. Maybe, it’s time to quit running.
“…Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ And, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
“…for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that comes from Christ Jesus.”