The weight of sin – Mark 15:33-39

Last week we looked at Gethsemane.  Today we see Jesus die on the cross.  This is when he felt the weight of our sin upon him.  And it felt like being completely forsaken by God.  Let’s read about that hopeless, helpless moment.

33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

Crucifixion was cruel, but it wasn’t unusual.  People died this way all the time.  The day Jesus died, there were two robbers executed with him, one on each side.  What made Christ’s death any different from theirs?

The weight of our sin.

We really cannot say what that felt like.  I have compared it with the feeling of guilt.  Guilt is worse than pain because it has a psychological and/or spiritual component that physical pain makes worse, but cannot compare to.  When physical pain is gone, guilt can continue.  It can sap a person’t energy and deplete a person’t life.  Guilt, even without physical suffering can push a person to end his own life.   

And Jesus publicly and shamefully bore the sin, the guilt, of the world.

If there was ever a place that was truly God-forsaken, it was Christ’s cross that day on Golgotha.  “The Father turned his face away,” says the hymn.  Jesus was alone as he died, even though there were bystanders all around him.  None of them could understand what he was enduring.  Numbing the pain would never alleviate the suffering of substitutionary atonement. 

As Christ died, the curtain in the temple tore from top to bottom and the way was opened for us to come into the very presence of God.  Christ was separated from the Father so that we might be joined with them both inseparably and forever.  No one saw it or said it better than the centurion.

39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son  of God!”

 

The benefit of a little guilt – Matthew 21:28-32

After entering Jerusalem, Jesus told a parable about two sons.

28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go.31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.”

Jesus was speaking here to the chief priests and elders of the people who had just questioned his authority (v.23).  He explained this parable without any request to do so, making sure that his audience knew exactly what he was saying by it.

The lesson has to do with doing God’s will in the end, as a final outcome.  Many people express good intentions.  The chief priests and elders would have been perceived as just the kind of people who were known for doing God’s will.  If that were the case, they should have been the first in line expressing their repentance and receiving the baptism of John. 

When we understand the nature of sin, we realize that we are all in need of repentance.  That sense of guilt would be even more pronounced when coming face-to-face with the likes of John the Baptist.  Yet these guys are so numb that they even question the authority of Christ.  Their relationship with God was little more than a nice show, having no humility or sense of need.

On the other hand, tax collectors like Matthew our author and prostitutes saw their sin.  Like the first son in the parable, they did not do the will of the Father from the beginning, but later changed their mind.  They repented at John’s preaching and followed Jesus with transformed lives.  In a culture obsessed as ours is with not making anyone feel bad, let’s take note that as far as Jesus is concerned a little guilt can be a good thing.  There is no repentance without it.

 

Palmer St. Podcast: God Is Sovereign (Caid Ferguson)

God is sovereign, even when we—or loved ones— go through horrible things; rest in the hope of His redemption.

 

Job 4-7.mp3 (Caid Ferguson)

Job 4-7.pdf

Job 4-7.pptx

Not Guilty

1 John 4:9-10 (NKJV) 9In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 

All of us know what it’s like to feel guilt, some of it unwarranted, some of it genuine.  As to the false guilt, it’s, well, false.  We never really had to worry about that at all.  In the case of false guilt, that sense of feeling guilty was always a lie. 

The beautiful thing that God has done for us, by the offering of Christ for our sins, is that He has removed our real guilt.  When we, in our hearts, reject our sin, turn to Him and ask for His forgiveness, He cleanses us.  He declares us not guilty in His eyes. 

Christ is the offering that removes our guilt.  He is the propitiation for our sins – the offering that reconciles us to God.  If God views us as not guilty, then we truly are not guilty; no higher standard is needed.  There is no higher court that we will ever be tried in.  So Christ takes care of our all-too-real guilt.  And that is the kind of Savior we truly need.