Yes, Jesus Died For You, O Sinner

The following is my article that was published in The News Tribune (Tacoma) yesterday (Easter Sunday). To God be the glory!

He has RISEN! He has RISEN indeed! ALLELUIA!

Yes, Jesus has risen, and he reigns on high with the Father. Jesus, though crucified, rose and defeated death and thus gave all believers the hope of the resurrection to eternal life. And Jesus did this because you needed to be reconciled to the Father.

From the prophet Isaiah, the 53rd chapter…
Surely, he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—everyone—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

This prophecy from Isaiah, written about 700 years before Jesus, foretells Jesus’ death and resurrection for sinners. Jesus was pierced. Jesus was crushed. Jesus died as God laid upon him the iniquity of us all. Yes, you are a sinner. Like sheep, you have and continue to go astray. Like sheep, when given the chance, you turn to your own way. And, like sheep, you are defenseless against the wolf – Satan.

You may think you are fine. You may think you are faithful. You may even think that at the very least you are not as bad as some other people out there. This Easter thing is just a tradition you do that includes the pastor preaching the same ole message about Jesus rising from the grave. But let me tell you something – there is much more to Easter than that. In fact, you are worse than you think. I love the quote from one of my favorite pastor/theologians – Charles Spurgeon – that says, “If any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him; for you are worse than he thinks you to be.”

Peter thought he was a faithful follower of Jesus and would even die for him. But of course, Jesus knew better. From Mark 14:27-31…
And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.

The fact was, Peter was not faithful. He denied Jesus three times as Jesus said. And neither are you faithful. You deny/sin at least three times before the rooster crows. Yes, you. You are a sinner, but praise be to God, that Jesus is faithful and that YES, he even died and rose for you. No amount of sin will ever drive Jesus away from you. And so, say it with me: Jesus is RISEN! He has RISEN indeed — for me. ALLELUIA and Amen!

Crushed, Pierced and Bruised (2 Corinthians 5:21)

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. [2 Corinthians 5:21]

Does seem fair, does it? To make Jesus know sin; the one who lived a sinless life in obedience to God. It doesn’t seem fair that God made Jesus experience the weigh and judgment of sin because are so stupid and unfaithful.

I am joyful and excited and exuberant, though,when I think about Jesus dying the cross and rising from the grave on the third day. I mean, what a show of grace. What a show of love. And so I repeat this refrain and give thanks that Jesus died and rose that our sins would be forgiven and that we may have the hope of the resurrection to eternal life. It all makes for great worship refrains.

But try this refrain on for size…

The sinless one
The obedient one
The glorious one
The kind one
The loving one
The forgiving one
The wise one

Took upon himself that which he did not deserve. Jesus took upon himself sin; something that he had not known except for the sinners he compassionately received and dined with and healed and forgave. Jesus took upon himself that which God hates; so much so, that God turned his back on His son as he hung on the cross dying:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Or how about the prophet Isaiah’s description:
Surely he has born our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was CRUSHED (emphasis mine) for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5)

Oh, how I can’t imagine what that would be like; to be forsaken by God and to be crushed. But this is what Jesus did. He died for you. He rose from the grave for you. But Jesus was also forsaken for you that you may not be forsaken by God. Jesus was crushed for you that you may not be crushed by God.

Think about that for a moment and you too might think this sin-placed-on-Jesus-shoulders thing is unfair too. But praise be to God that he is “unfair” because if He were fair, we would certainly be forsaken and crushed for our iniquities.

So as you worship God this weekend; as you sing beautiful refrains of Jesus dying and rising for you; as you give thanks to God for His wonderful gift of grace; REALLY think about what Jesus did for you and let that crush your shallow perceptions of what Jesus means for sinners.

Jesus was crushed for you.
Jesus was bruised for you.
Jesus was forsaken for you.
Jesus was pierced for you.

Jesus has saved you! Alleluia!

Oh holy God, I can not comprehend what you have truly done for me through Jesus. I can not comprehend what Jesus went through for me. And, I can not comprehend why You would do such a thing for a sinner such as me. But I praise and worship Your holy name, oh God. May sinners run to You and receive this gift of life. Amen.

May God bless your day as you meditate on the cross of Christ.

The Pastor -|—