Would you die for a thief?
Sinbad has been framed by the goddess of chaos, Eris, for stealing the Book of Peace. Sinbad has been tried and sentenced to death. Prince Proteus, Sinbad's childhood friend, steps forward to save him.
Sacrifice, Redemption, Judgment, Substitution
Proteus stands before the council and says that he demands, "the Right of Substitution." He believes Sinbad's claim of innocence, so he offers his life as ransom against Sinbad's return with the book. He reasons that either Sinbad has been lying and has the Book of Peace -- and is relying on Sinbad's remembrance of their childhood friendship for its return -- or that Sinbad is telling the truth, that Eris stole the Book -- and therefore is the only man alive who can steal it back. Proteus' father, the king, does not want his son to make this bargain. He knows Sinbad's reputation as a thief. Proteus is told that if Sinbad does not return that Proteus will be put to death in his place. Proteus tells Sinbad that he believes that Sinbad would do the same for him, but Sinbad claims that he wouldn't. Nevertheless, Proteus is resolute -- his life for Sinbad's release.
Sinbad and Proteus used to be childhood friends, but they had not seen one another for years. Proteus grew to be a prince, Sinbad became a thief. What is it that draws us to stories where the innocent prince or king lays down his life for the flawed man? What we love in fiction, happened in history. Jesus, the Son of God, came down to claim the "right of substitution." He took our place, and bore the punishment for our sins. Unlike Proteus, He was not hoping for us to become better people in time to save Him. Quite the contrary, he knew we were thieves, liars, and worse, but out of love for us He paid the price. It is only once we recognize His tremendous gift, and are empowered by His Spirit, that we are able to begin the transformation into the kind of people He plans to make us.