He Took Our Place
I fear, that at times, we Christians can grow comfortably complacent with the magnificence of the Gospel story in regards to Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. We are familiar with all of the constituent elements, we have accepted them and embraced them by faith but are unmoved by them as we live our day to day events of our busy lives. Perhaps that is why, God, at times intervenes in ways that put on our knees once again in humble and awe-filled adoration. This happened to me this week.
Since December, I have been reading and rereading a small devotional book that was written by John MacArthur, titled Remember and Return: Rekindling Your Love for the Savior. The book is divided into thirty-one short chapters, a month’s worth of daily readings. I have completed the book once and am now on a more deliberate and slower journey through it again. Let me share one of the stories that MacArthur told, a story that caused me to bow again in wonder and awe and adoration before my God for the grace that He has extended towards me.
There was once a great tribal leader who was known for his fairness and wisdom. One day it was reported that someone in the tribe was stealing. The leader proclaimed that the thief, when captured, would receive ten lashes. But the thievery continued, even as the leader upped the level of punishment to forty lashes. The thief was finally apprehended, and to everyone’s horror, the thief turned out to be the leader’s own aged mother.
The people speculated what the leader would do. One of his laws required children to love and honor their parents, yet another law demanded the public whipping of thieves. Would he satisfy his love and save his mother, or would he satisfy his law and watch his mother die under the whip?
The tribe finally gathered around a large post at the center of the compound. The leader entered and sat on his throne. Then two towering warriors led his frail mother into the compound and tied her to the post. Finally, the tribal whip master, a powerful man with bulging muscles, entered carrying a long leather whip. The warriors ripped off the woman’s garment, exposing her frail back.
Just then the leader held up his hand to halt the punishment. A sigh of relief went up from the crowd. His love would be satisfied, but what about his law?
The leader strode toward his mother, removing his own shirt. He then wrapped his great arms around his mother, exposing his muscular back to the whip master. Breaking the heavy silence, he commanded, “Proceed with the punishment.”
This is what Christ did for us. Our sin put us under the whip of judgment, required by God’s Law, but Jesus wrapped His arms around us, and through His great love for us, satisfied His Law by paying the penalty for our sin on His Cross.
(Copies of this book are available in the SBC Corner Bookstore)