“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
Not to get too deep here, but I just read a question someone had about what it means to say that Jesus died for our sins. The person who asked it thought that the concept was ridiculous in that he died so long ago that none of us had even been born, let alone sinned. It made me wonder why we all believe that if something didn’t happen this week, or in this decade, it doesn’t constitute relevance in our lives. Maybe this is at the heart of why people just don’t believe. The guy’s comment went something like this:
Will someone to explain to me what “he died for my sins” means; because if “he” died, it was 2,000 years before my first sin. I honestly don’t get it, it requires double-think, and a time-shift. It requires that I imagine myself to be guilty of another’s misdemeanour 4 thousand years earlier than the killing. I find human sacrifice repulsive. At the moment, you see, I am firmly of the opinion that the religious texts are myth, fantasy and lies, and I chose those words carefully.
My attempt at an answer to this question was:
Not that I have all the answers, but my understanding is that we are all too focused on our little contribution to this life and on what we think we know. When they say that Jesus died for our sins all those years ago, they are talking about the fact that He gave His life in order to “purchase” salvation for all who would live on this earth. Without his sacrifice, we would not experience the freedom and grace that we now have. Though many fail to see these gifts, they do exist just in the fact that we are all still living and weren’t somehow devoured by a great flood or other catastrophe sent by God to wipe out an unredeemable remnant of mankind. By dying on the cross, Jesus said to God, “Spare them.” Jesus was God’s word in the flesh. He was the ideal, the standard that we should all live by. Jesus had the right reaction, the right answer, the right idea about every single thing in this world. We can choose to follow His lead and experience the love and mercy of God as granted to us freely or we can ignore it and go about our business as though ours is the only existence that matters. It’s a chance I’m not willing to take, but surprisingly most people would opt to have no faith and therefore never know the peace of God.
With that said, I must also say that it alarms me to hear people state with such confidence that they simply do not believe Jesus existed, that He died for our sins, that He was resurrected, or that He was in any way significant. If you read the Bible and take it as God’s word, there is absolutely no room for doubting that Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus was the lamb who walked the earth to provide the example to us of how God’s love is to be manifested in our relationships and dealings with one another. If we can’t see that, it’s got to be because for some reason we just don’t want to see it. Maybe it stirs up feelings of guilt in us. Maybe it makes us feel inadequate to admit that there is no perfection that we can achieve as humans that will ever match what He was. This saddens me. Partly because it means that for some people, Jesus’s gift of salvation is basically not being accepted. It is likened to an ugly sweater that we feel we must return because it doesn’t fit or is the wrong color or texture. Likening Jesus’s death for us to an ugly sweater means that His love is somehow “out of fashion” or subject to the whims of society’s idea of trendy or important.
I know of no more valuable gift than the gift that God gave with the sacrifice of His only Son. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No one reaches the Father except through Him. We are not nearly as important in this moment as His sacrifice has always been and will always be. No matter what we think we know or how much we think we’ve done here, there is no such thing as VIP status in heaven.
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”