I shuffle in . . . both my hands and feet in shackles. My record is read. The evidence has been weighed. The trials are over. I have no defense. I am the King’s enemy and I am here to be judged.
The man walks in with the final ruling. “Cheree Hayes is found..."
My heart clings to my throat.
"...Guilty of treason,” he says before announcing my penalty...
My stomach drops and the room spins around defenseless, helpless...hopeless. I can't breathe or see things clearly but I think I see the King waving his hand. It seems he is summoning a man to his throne. They talk with one another for what seems like hours. By the end of their conversation the man he summoned is sweating and trembling. The man says, “yes” to the King and turns around facing me.
The King addresses me. Reaching out his hand, he introduces the man and asks, “Do you receive this man to defend you here in my court today?” I nod, still bewildered, I thought my judgement was final?
The large heavy doors behind me jar open, startling everyone in the room. I see a guillotine at the entrance and a rush of terror races to my gut. I want to run. My defender leaves my side and begins carting the large structure into the center of the court. Right now? I must die today? This moment? My knees weaken and I fall on the floor. The man... my defense, approaches me. I can only see his shoes.
“Stand and come with me,” he says.
To take me to my death? Some defender! I try to fight him. I writhe in my chains, wrestling to get in a punch. My spit splatters over his face. He barely flinches and without a word, lifts me to my feet. He leads me to the King’s seat and clears his throat...
“Count all of her record, mine. And count all of my record, hers.”
I frown and look at him then turn back to the King, looking for something in his face to help me discern what my defender meant by this strange statement. The King only nods and beats his scepter into the hard marble floor. My shoulders tighten as the thundering echo beats the room.
Terror igniting, I see two guards in the corner of my eye. Their faces harden as they charge towards me. I clench my eyes shut and bury my head in my chest. I feel their momentum but the wind passes me. I jerk my head up and follow the sound of their boots. They have seized my defender. Dragging him to the guillotine in the center of the court, they yell insults and kick him until he can barely stand. I look around me, blinking wild with astonishment. No one is stopping this. I watch as they lace a rope around his hands and another around his feet. Before they can force him, he kneels willingly at the bed of the blade.
His eyes meet mine, “your punishment is finished,” he says.
The blade drops. I look away and shriek.
The guards unlock my shackles with no explanation.
My chains crash to the floor.
I grip my wrists and stretch my fingers, still not understanding if what happened is real and if I can bear the hope awakening in my heart. The judge approaches me. I can’t look him in the eye.
“Cheree, your record has been put to death with my son. And my son’s record now lives in you,” he says. That man was his son!? He holds my shoulders and lifts my chin, “This means you are now my child and I am now your father. All I own is your inheritance. Keep the chains on the floor. You are free now. We are at peace.”
I cannot believe these words. The King takes my arm and ushers me outside of the courts to the crowds waiting outside. He raises his scepter and I hear him introduce me as his daughter.
This is too much, I tell myself. I look down at my dirty garments, shaking my head. I am the enemy . . . not the child! I sneak my arm from the hold of the King and draw back in shame. I can hear the crowd's thoughts, “She is not worth it,” they jeer. “She does not deserve to be released,” they hiss. I continue to draw back into their mockery and let their judgments push me back to the courtroom. Anxious, I pick up the shackles from the bloody floor. They feel familiar. They keep me safe, I tell myself. I begin to shackle my wrist as I hear someone call from behind me.
“Your punishment is finished,” he says. I turn and look at him, my eyes searching. “Your new identity has been fixed by the King’s scepter. This cannot be undone,” he explained. I start to ask who he is but he interrupts, “I gave you my record so you could leave your chains behind and live free. Do not listen to the crowds. And do not come back here. You are at peace with the King now, receive also the peace of the King.”
* * *
"For if, while we were God's enemies,
we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son,
how much more, having been reconciled,
shall we be saved through his life!"
"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
2 Corinthians 5:21
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption
that came by Christ Jesus."
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
"He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all,
how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?"
For explanation see also: