Napoleon and the Soldier

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Napoleon Bonaparte, the great general of France, was at war. There had been a battle, and hundreds of wounded and dead men covered the field. At the close of the day's engagement the exhausted French soldiers threw themselves on the ground and slept. But Napoleon was unable to rest. He rose and walked around the camp with one of his officers, to see if all was safe.
The enemy had withdrawn, but to no great distance, and to make all secure against a midnight surprise, armed sentinels had been placed around the camp. Their duty was to watch and to give the alarm if the enemy made his appearance. All was quiet in the camp, but as Napoleon and his officer drew near to one of the sentinels they saw that he was fast asleep. This was a crime for which the sentence was death.
As the general looked at the exhausted man his heart was moved with pity for him and he quietly took the place of the sleeping sentinel and watched till morning dawned.
When the soldier awoke and realized that he had been sleeping at his post he trembled, and when he saw Napoleon by his side he gave himself up for lost. But no! The general had taken his place in order that law might be satisfied and the guilty soldier acquitted.
This is only a faint and very imperfect picture of what a greater than Napoleon has done for guilty sinners. The sentence of death had been pronounced, for the wages of sin is death. There was no escape for the sinner unless someone, himself a free man, could be found to take his place and suffer his doom.
This Jesus did. He suffered for sins, the just for the unjust. Christ died for the ungodly. Now God can be just and the justifier of the ungodly. He can show His grace, yet remain holy.
"Oh, matchless grace, oh love beyond degree, The Offended died to set the offender free."