I like movies. My family’s first tv was a black and white 13inch-er. We got 3 channels. My dad would watch the nightly news, usually on CBS, and when the news was over, we could change the channel and watch Star Trek—the original, of course. I loved Star Trek. I couldn’t help it—my Mom was an original Trekker—loving science fiction is in my blood. When I was 13, in 1987, the movie Back to the Future starring Michael J. Fox came out. I loved it! We got the tape and I made everybody watch it over and over again . . . my brother, my best friend, and my parents . . . everybody. I practically memorized it.
Fast forward 10-15 years. I’m in my 20’s and having to deal with life and different difficulties. A very close friend of mine was arrested, facing serious charges and jail time. I heard the charges and some of it didn’t surprise me, but some of the things being brought to light I didn’t know about at all and was completely taken by surprise. As I went to pray about this situation, I thought, how? . . . And what in the world do I pray?? I can’t ask God to be a sleazy defense lawyer and get my friend out of trouble when I know good and well that some of these things he’s truly guilty of, so . . . what do I pray? As an answer, the Lord gave me vision. Not an open vision, I couldn’t see it with my physical eyes, but a vision in my spirit. Here’s what I saw:
I saw my friend standing in orange jail clothing in a courtroom in front of a judge. He was handcuffed, and the judge loudly proclaimed, “Guilty!” As soon as that word was uttered, Jesus was by my friend’s side and he spoke these words: “Judge, may I serve this sentence? I would like to step in and do his time. As long as the debt to society is paid, can I do it for him?” The judge said, “Sure. I don’t care who does the time, but somebody has to.” Immediately, a guard came over and took the handcuffs off the prisoner and put them on Jesus. He was escorted out and the judge told my friend “You are free to go.” I saw Jesus in the jail cell. He spent 15 years in that cell. He would walk back and forth praying. He would lie on his back with his hands under his head worshiping His Father. He would stand and put his arms through the bars, clasping his hands together talking to the other prisoners. He spent 15 years in that cell for my friend. Then I saw him go back to the cross (here’s where Marty McFly comes in) I saw Him one moment on the cross and the next moment He was in the cell for my friend. When the sentence had been paid, He went back to the cross, and then the next time a consequence needed to be paid He would be on the cross and then back down again, taking the punishment for another sin. He did this over and over again. It was like He was time traveling . . . He would pause being on the cross to go and take a punishment, then go right back to the moment on the cross again, as if no time had passed, just like Marty. He did this for my friend for his entire life, and then I realized He had done this for everyone. Every single person. He literally took the punishment and the consequence of every single sin of every person. Ever.
When Jesus paid for our debt, He was so thorough, that He took the punishment due on every sin, individually. As Christians, we think, “Oh that’s covered by the Blood.” And it is! But we think the only pain Jesus felt was being crucified. As if that weren’t enough, He not only felt the agony of crucifixion, but the pain, rejection, embarrassment, shame, waste of our lives—all the things we were supposed to feel because we actually committed the sin—He took all of that. And He did it in real-time. I don’t totally understand this, but what I felt the Lord was showing me was that Jesus was literally in that jail cell. That every time someone committed a sin, He would climb down and really, not figuratively, go take that person’s punishment, traveling through time. Jesus spent 15 years in a jail cell for my friend.
The Lord then spoke to my heart and said, “I’ve already paid for your friend’s punishment. What do you pray? Pray that he receives what I’ve done for him.”
Sometimes we forget the gravity of what Jesus did for us. We forget what that sacrifice actually cost Him. We also forget that He has everything covered. Not only did He pay for sin, but lack and sickness as well. There is no area of our lives that He has not covered—we just need to receive it.