Many, many years ago in the back woods of Tennessee, there
was an old one-room schoolhouse. All the kids met together, from first grade to
twelfth. These kids were a wild and rowdy bunch, and had run off many teachers.
Getting one teacher to stay for a full year was quite difficult. A new teacher,
Mr. Jones, came to this little school intent on keeping order and teaching
these rural kids their lessons. It didn’t take long for him to see how
monumental this task would be.
first day of class, Mr. Jones introduced himself and said, “I want each of you
to help me make the rules we will all live by while this year during school.
You all will help me make the consequences as well. So what do you want the
rules to be?”
snickered and made comments to each other. After a few minutes of waiting, Mr.
Jones looked at an older boy that clearly held a lot of respect among his peers.
The boys called him Big Tom. Mr. Jones asked Big Tom to start the list of
know,” Big Tom began. “No stealing.”
think that’s a good rule,” Mr. Jones replied. “What should be the consequence
for someone that steals?”
without his coat on,” Big Tom said. All the other kids went silent as they
thought about Big Tom’s suggestion.
“OK, do you
all agree that anyone caught stealing will receive ten whippings without their
coat on?” Mr. Jones asked the rest of the class.
students slowly raised their hands to agree with the new rule. After about an
hour, the class had made a list of rules and consequences. After each rule was
written down the whole class would raise their hands to agree to the rules. The
rules ranged from spitting on others, to no fistfights at school. The consequences
varied from writing on the board after school to whippings without coats.
list was complete, Mr. Jones said the students helped make the rules and they
needed to help keep the rules. Many of the kids still didn’t think the new
teacher would be able to follow through, but Mr. Jones was consistently tough on
every student abiding by the rules. The smaller rules were broken frequently,
but no one wanted to find what it felt like to get whippings from Mr. Jones.
morning, after a few lessons, the students were excused to get their lunches.
Shortly after the kids got their lunches out, Big Tom yelled out, “Someone
stole my lunch!”
asked the class if anyone knew where Big Tom’s lunch was or who might have
taken it. Big Tom was hungry and personally interrogated half his classmates.
One small boy, Steven, started moving toward the door. Mr. Jones saw Steven
trying to leave and caught up to him.
“Steven, have you seen Big Tom’s lunch?” Mr. Jones asked the
boy. “You didn’t take it, did you?”
“No sir,” Steven said but looked away immediately. After a
short pause he admitted to stealing Big Tom’s lunch. “I am so sorry Big Tom, I
was really hungry. Pa hasn’t been home much and we ain’t got much food anyhow.”
“You know the consequences for stealing. You helped write
the rules the first day of class,” Mr. Jones said.
“I’ll take my whippin’ but let me keep my coat on,” Steven
pleaded. His tattered coat provided little protection anyway.
“I’m afraid not,” Mr. Jones replied. “We said ten whippings
without your coat.”
Trembling Steven walked up to the front of the room. He
slowly removed his coat to reveal he had no shirt. It was clear to the class
that the boy had missed more than a few meals.
Big Tom walked up as Mr. Jones pulled out the hickory switch
he would use for the whipping.
“This boy doesn’t need to be whipped,” Big Tom said. “I
don’t care about my lunch.”
“We all have to live by the rules, and the consequences,”
Mr. Jones said with regret in his voice. “What’s the use of having rules if
there isn’t any punishment.”
After a short pause, Big Tom looked at Mr. Jones and asked,
“Can I take Steven’s whippin’ for him?”
“Are you willing to take Steven’s whipping even though he
stole from you?” Mr. Jones asked with surprise and admiration.
“I am,” Big Tom replied. “Steven has learned his lesson and
the punishment will be given.”
After Big Tom received ten strikes with the hickory switch,
Steven grabbed Tom around the neck and pleaded for his forgiveness and promised
never to steal again. “I’ll never forget how you took my whippin’ for me
Why is it important for justice to be kept? How was mercy
extended in this story?
Who took our “whipping” for us?
How can we accept Jesus as our Savior and repent of our
Original author unknown