Near the Cross

Have you ever had to pay the price for
something that you did not do? Maybe as a child,
one of your siblings committed an offense and got
away with it. Somewhere down the line, however,
it was discovered. Somebody got busted. But,
instead of Dad and Mom punishing the actual
perpetrator, they were convinced that you did it,
so you paid the price. I certainly remember the
feeling of being wrongly accused (and wrongly
punished!). It is not something that sits well with
any of us, whether a childhood prank or, more
seriously, an adult sin.
Peter tells us, “For Christ also suffered once
for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he
might bring us to God, being put to death in the
flesh but made alive in the spirit” (1 Pet. 3:18).
Peter confirms that Jesus Christ “suffered once”
for sins. We—as sinners—have suffered many
times on account of sin. Yet we earn that
suffering. In addition, the suffering that we
experience because of our sin in no way
compares to the willing suffering that Jesus took
on for our sake. In great contrast to us, Jesus did
nothing to merit the suffering that he underwent.
Moreover, Jesus intended from the very beginning
to enter into suffering—culminating at the cross—
so that you and I might be freed from the prison of
sin. In other words, as Paul puts it so eloquently,
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no
sin, so that in him we might become the
righteousness of God.” Did you hear that? Jesus
willingly became sin, with all its penalties, so that
you and I might be given the gift of righteousness.
Wow. Just wow.
Today we celebrate the great God we serve—
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit.
We worship this holy God who gave everything in
order that we might return to him.

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