When I was in high school I had an album called Natural High. It was a pretty radical record in my Mennonite household, but words from one of the songs spoke to me then and speak to me now in memory: “Just to think of the cross moves me now. The nails in His hands, His bleeding brow. To think of the cross moves me now: it should have been me; it should have been me! Instead I am free, I am free!”
Taking someone else’s well-deserved punishment is an unheard of choice. Why should I be punished for what some other guilty party did? But that’s exactly what Jesus did for us. We deserved God’s wrath and condemnation, but out of love He made a way for us to avoid the penalty of sin. Jesus, the perfect and sinless Son of God, WILLINGLY laid down His life for us, even before we were His friends. And as a result, as the song said, now I am free. I am free!