I’m writing a screenplay at the moment about a man whose young daughter was violently assaulted. The father, wracked with guilt, would do anything to go back, to swap places with her, to offer himself to suffer in her place, because he loves her so deeply.
This really helped me to understand Christ.
He loves us so much, He would rather die than let us die. We all, each one of us, every human being that ever lived, have received the death penalty for our sin by a just God.
Yet, loving us His creation so much, the thought of facing eternity without us so unbearable, He offered himself in our place.
This is why we owe him our lives. This is why Paul says:
…those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died for them and rose again.
– 2 Cor 5:15
Our sin means we have no right to take our place at the Heavenly table in the presence of our Holy Creator.
We chose it ourselves. We are unable to do what’s right, incapable of obeying the law, unable to make ourselves righteous.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray.
– Isaiah 53:6
We are all guilty, all destined for hell – destined to spend eternity in darkness, outside of God’s glorious presence.
Yet, because of His amazing love for us, His amazing grace, God devised a plan. In the form of Jesus, God would become a man and take our punishment in our place.
Jesus would take our place and we would take His.
The perfect for the imperfect.
He became sin. We became righteous.
Our righteousness is a free gift – given to us by a God who loves us more than we can possibly imagine, who loves us as a father who would lay down his life for his child.
In class today, discussing whether ‘love’ was selfish or selfless, I posed this question to my students:
“If your loved one was captured by enemies and sentenced to death, then the enemies said to you that you could save your loved one by dying in their place, what would you do? Would you die for your loved one?”
This is the decision Jesus made for us.
We have this amazing record of how Jesus explained it, in John’s gospel:
I lay down my life for the sheep. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.
– John 1o.18
No greater love is there than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends.
– John 15:13.
And then, with His great power, God defeated death and sin by raising Jesus from the dead.
And now, that incomparable power lives in us, as Paul says:
I pray that you may know this incomparable great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength which he exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead…
– Ephesians 1:19
So, in the power of the Holy Spirit, knowing we are dearly loved, let’s live for the One who died for us, and rose again.