“A Great Debt Paid”
Submitted by Pastor Roy Miles, Staples Assembly of God Church
Czar Nicholas of Russia would sometimes walk about his military camps and barracks, dressed as an ordinary officer, in order that he might know first-hand what was going on without being known by others. Late one night the Czar was making one of these tours and noticed a light under the paymaster’s door. He quietly opened the door and stepped inside.
There, a young officer, son of an old friend of the Czar, was seated at a table, his head resting on his arms asleep. The Czar’s first thought was to awaken him, but changed his mind when he noticed a revolver on the table, some money and a sheet of paper with a pen which had fallen from the hand of the sleeping man.
The Czar looked at the paper which contained a long list of bad debts accumulated over a period of time. For the first time the young man had realized how much he owed, many thousands of rubles and how impossible it was for him to pay it. His only way out, he thought, was to end it all with a gun. Weary with sorrow and remorse he had written below the terrible total:
“WHO CAN PAY SO GREAT A DEBT?”
The Czar pondered the matter at some length and a feeling of compassion took hold of him and he took up the pen and wrote just one word: “NICHOLAS”
The young officer awoke, intending to take his own life but noticed the signature on the paper. He checked it and found it to be authentic. Fear gripped him as he realized the Czar now knew his secret. The next morning the money arrived from the Czar - down to the last cent. He was as good as his name that he had placed at the bottom of the sheet of paper.
The above true story reminds us of something more wonderful which transpired long ago, but the value of which remains for all time and eternity. The coming of Christ was for the express purpose of paying a debt that we were not able to pay - or even begin to pay.