Kristin is 40 years old, but has no trouble remembering the name of one of her first grade classmates. It’s because of what happened on one particular day.

Perhaps you can think back to having substitute teachers when you were young. What often happened? One or more children might have acted up, feeling safe since the regular teacher wasn’t in the room. That’s what happened one day in Kristin’s class.

Her teacher returned to school to find a note from the sub on her desk. She wrote about one boy who was disobedient and made her day difficult. For some reason, she didn’t name the boy. Kristin’s teacher looked out at the class and asked for the boy to identify himself. He didn’t.

She asked again. He was silent. She then asked the whole class who it was. They were silent.

Kristin remembers her teacher asking over and over and she and her classmates nervously looking down, bonded together in their choice to protect their friend.

After quite a while, the teacher gave up. She lined up the students in the front of the room and had each one bend over her knee for a quick swat. Kristin made a decision right then and there. She decided to never again take someone else’s punishment. It hurt and wasn’t pleasant.

Kristin shared this memory with me as we discussed the beautiful reality that Jesus Christ willingly took her punishment, mine, and everyone else’s upon Himself.

But He was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; He was lashed—and we were healed!

Isaiah 53:5 (The Living Bible)

It’s recorded, in Luke 22:42-44, that Jesus did ask His Father, God, to reconsider His plan. He was in agony as He knew that when He took our sin upon Himself, He would experience separation from His Father, guilt, and shame for the first time ever. Yet, His trust in His Father and love for us ruled: “Not My will, but yours, be done.”

Jesus followed through and was obedient. I’m humbled and grateful. God created us, orders our steps, and designed a way to save us. Our past, present, and future are in His hands.

We can choose to believe that Scripture is true. Eternity is real and God has made a place for us. Jesus willingly took our punishment upon Himself. Kristin didn’t really have a choice that day in first grade. Jesus did and He said “yes.”

I’m grateful Kristin and I believe and have trusted in Christ for our salvation. We said “yes” to Jesus’ “yes.” I pray you have, too. Christ and His sacrifice. His love. His peace.

We can’t save ourselves and we don’t have to.

Kristin’s classmate could have saved himself and his peers from the quick swat by speaking up and being honest. In God’s plan for our eternity, we can’t save ourselves. We don’t have to understand why God designed it this way, why Jesus would take our punishment upon Himself and die for us so we can live together with Him for eternity, or why we just have to believe to get this free gift. It’s God’s design.

Jesus died for my sin and rose from the dead. It’s true and humbling. Click here for an interactive explanation of the Gospel from my friends at Evan Tell.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4