Took my punishment
The Bible is very dynamic – nearly 2000 years old and you can still not pin it down 100%. There are so many interpretations, so many different opinions. People can become quite fiery in putting forward their arguments. I think the Bible will never be exhausted. People will never be able to understand everything in and about it 100%. And that to me shows that more than people were involved with it. Yes, it was inspired by God and in this the Holy Spirit played a major part.
Therefore, if I should ask you to define the gospel in just one verse, I will certainly get many suggestions. For me, Ephesians 5:2 summarises it very well: 2He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
That is the crux of the Bible. That is what life, what the whole world is about. God’s love was simply too great. God’s love for mankind overflowed and He could do nothing else but sacrifice Himself on the cross as payment for our sin. Through Jesus He Himself paid for our sin on the cross.
Outrageous! Would any school principal ever give his job, his house, his car or even his life for a naughty child, just so that the child could have a chance to live? Would a big businessman give his everything for an employee who is lazy, who is late for work and is looking for an opportunity to do nothing all the time? Would the president have offered himself to be hanged so that jailbirds can go free?
But God does it. God takes the enormous bill for all our deeds from our hands. He takes the punishment for our wrongdoings.
While bringing a Pentecost message at a school in the Strand I wanted to demonstrate the points according to their frame of reference. I told them that I was not always a good boy at school. I remember that on one debating evening my friends and I were walking around outside. For whatever reason, and I still don’t know why, we decided to let the air out of our Afrikaans teacher’s car’s tires. Really!
The first bell had hardly gone the next morning when my name was called over the intercom. I had to take six hits on the backside – they asked no questions and neither did I.
In order to contextualise Jesus’ act on the cross I explained to the children that as I was waiting for the first blow to fall, I could hear it coming, but I felt nothing. Surprised I turned around to see what was happening. And I saw the principal giving my cuts to someone else. Someone was taking my punishment. I was the one who let the air out of the tyres. I did wrong, but someone else was taking the punishment. As the last blow fell, I see it is Jesus. Jesus was taking the punishment in my place.
That is precisely what Jesus does on the cross. Jesus takes the punishment. Jesus takes the hiding I should have taken for the sin that I went out and did. Jesus’ blood had to flow so that my sin could be erased.
Wow, how grateful we should be for a God who loves us so much.
Let this central message of the Word of God become the central point of our lives and may others see and experience this message through our lives!
Do you believe in God’s love?
Do you believe that Jesus has taken the punishment in your place?
Do others see the message in your life?
God, Almighty, how can I ever thank you for your unselfish deed? Thank you, thank you, thank you that You took the punishment for all my sin. I want to live a life in which others can also experience the grace that I received. In the name of gratitude! Amen