Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7-8 NIV
Recently, we were looking to purchase a property and I was researching the neighborhood of one in which we were interested. I went online to check for crime activity and proximity of registered sex offenders. With just a few key strokes, I was looking at the location of each offender to the nearest block and street.
As I searched over our city, I saw something for which I wasn’t emotionally prepared. Not only did it list the name, age, street and block where they lived, it listed the crimes of these offenders. I was only able to read through a few of them before I literally became sick to my stomach. My heart broke for their innocent victims and I began to pray for each of them.
As I was praying for these victims, I felt the Lord tell me to pray for the offenders. I am ashamed to admit that my initial response to the request was resistance. But almost instantaneously I remembered something I had read several years ago that Steve Estes had written in the book, When God Weeps, which he coauthored with Joni Eareckson Tada.
In their book, Estes writes about how God rescued mankind from sin by Christ’s death and resurrection. Here, I found one of the most heartrending accounts of our Savior’s death on the cross. It wasn’t his description of the physical distress Christ suffered that brought me anguish as Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ did. Here it was Estes’ account of the emotional suffering Christ encountered as He took on EVERY sin and thus the Father’s rejection. (Isaiah 53:5-6; 2 Corinthians 5:21) Here is the moving excerpt:
Never has the Son seen the Father look at him so, never felt even the least of his hot breath. But the roar shakes the unseen world and darkens the visible sky. The Son does not recognize these eyes.
“Son of Man! Why have you behaved so? You have cheated, lusted, stolen, gossiped–murdered, envied, hated, lied. You have cursed, robbed, overspent, overeaten, fornicated, disobeyed, embezzled, and blasphemed. Oh, the duties you have shirked, the children you have abandoned! Who has ever so ignored the poor, so played the coward, so belittled my name? Have you ever held your razor tongue? What a self-righteous, pitiful drunk–you, who molest young boys, peddle killer drugs, travel in cliques, and mock your parents. Who gave you the boldness to rig elections, foment revolutions, torture animals, and worship demons? Does the list never end! Splitting families, raping virgins, acting smugly, playing the pimp–buying politicians, practicing extortion, filming pornography, accepting bribes. You have burned down buildings, perfected terrorist tactics, founded false religions, traded in slaves–relishing each morsel and bragging about it all. I hate, I loathe these things in you! Disgust for everything about you consumes me! Can you not feel my wrath?”
The Father watches as his heart’s treasure, the mirror-image of himself, sinks drowning into raw, liquid sin. Jehovah’s stored rage against humankind from every century explodes in a single direction. “Father! Father! Why have you forsaken me?!” But heaven stops its ears. The Son stares up at the One who cannot, who will not, reach down or reply. Two eternal hearts tear–their intimate friendship shaken to the depths.
The Trinity had planned it. The Son endured it. The Spirit enabled him. The Father rejected the Son whom he loved. Jesus, the God-man from Nazareth, perished. The Father accepted his sacrifice for sin and was satisfied. The Rescue was accomplished.
This depiction reminded me once again that EVERY SINGLE SIN WAS ACCOUNTED AND PAID FOR ON THE CROSS before we ever repented.
I remember many years ago the feelings of loathing which were elicited as I was watching the news and video of Saddam Hussein came on. I was interrupted by the Holy Spirit’s still small voice which immediately stopped me in my thoughts and said, “I love HIM as much as I love YOU.
Maybe you are also guilty of ranking sin and writing off those who have committed worse offenses than you. Or maybe you feel like you have done things that are unforgivable. Scripture reminds us that every one of us has sinned (Romans 3:23) and deserved death (Romans 6:26).
But Easter serves to remind us that “Very rarely” will someone give up their life for a righteous person but Jesus gave everything He had, His heavenly position, every earthly material comfort and finally His very life–not for just the righteous but for every past-present-and-future sinner! LH
(As I was finishing up this post, this song came on the radio. What a wonderful confirmation of the Father’s Word to us.)
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