How many times in your life, if ever, has someone taken the heat for you? You make a mistake or do something wrong and they take the blame for you. And how many times, if ever, has someone taken what should have been your punishment? And how often do you hear of someone laying down their life for another, dying when it could or possibly should be the other person?
The more I think about it the more I realize my answer to those questions is, almost never!
The irony is, going back to Adam and Eve we see just the opposite. We don’t see them covering for one another as God questions them about eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We see the blame game. Today, people have perfected the blame game…and some people will go extremely far in their efforts to ensure the blame falls on someone else. Whether its lies, anger, stealing, adultery, or even murder, most people would give just about anything to be able to pass off their punishment to someone else.
Our society as a whole does not like to own its sin. Despite the fact that everyone has different definitions for sin and what they’d like to be accused of and not, the truth is that most of us have rarely if ever had another person take the blame/punishment for you.
Think about all the times in your life that you got in trouble and were punished. All the times you had to unwillingly face the consequences of your actions and/or choices. I think we can all agree that it takes a lot of love and respect to get another person to take our place, endure the consequences/punishment for our actions.
It’s mostly a foreign concept, especially when matters of a weighty nature come up. We must face the music alone in most cases.
Think of it this way…if you did something wrong and a friend or family member stepped up, took the blame and punishment for you, you’d be humbled (hopefully) and very grateful at their actions and expression of love toward us.
SO, what I cannot understand is why people are so turned off by the idea that Jesus Christ willingly endured horrible, excruciating torture and death FOR US. Jesus died in order to save us from hell. An eternal place where there is no good and no love and no mercy and no relief…ever…ever. There is only death. It is the punishment for human sin.
The reality here is that Jesus died in our place. Not merely taking our time out, or being grounded, or doing jail time, or getting fired, or being hospitalized after a drunk driving accident. He took on all of our sin and faced the punishment our sin deserves, HELL. He stepped up and “took the heat for us.” (That’s putting it lightly)
This is the greatest pardon of sin ever! The greatest act of love! There is no greater punishment than hell, to be eternally separated from God. We’re not talking about a minor consequence, we’re talking about the worst of the worst. Yet, people worldwide find this concept foolish and dismiss it. Yet, if a friend or family member or co-worker steps up tomorrow and accepts blame for something you did, big or small, you will praise them and thank them and feel indebted to them.
That is so backwards. We should have a limitless gratitude for Jesus. We should have a life-surrendering love and thankfulness toward Him that is inexhaustible. Every other case in which someone took the heat for you is absolutely forgettable next to Jesus dying on the cross for you. Nothing compares.
This take on things really hit me today. I wonder if even my lack of gratitude toward Jesus is because people almost never take my punishment. I’ve learned not to expect it. To know that Jesus did something so many times greater than what I’ve ever experienced makes it really difficult to grasp. Yet, that does NOT make it untrue and does not give me permission to dismiss it. I, we, must grab hold of this incredible truth and Savior and worship Him with immeasurable gratitude…forever!