At The Cross Jesus Took Our Punishment

          Several years ago, a young man in Utah woke up to water splashing his face. He jumped out of bed and stepped onto a water-logged floor. He immediately called the land lord, who told him to rent a water vac and vacuum the water before his floor was ruined.

          So he rushed out to his car and discovered he had a flat tire. He ran back into his apartment to use the land line (No cell phones yet!), sloshed through increasing water, picked up the phone and it shocked him so badly he ripped the phone off the wall.

          He decided to go back down to his car but when he tried to get out the door, the door had swollen and wouldn’t open. He screamed for help until someone came and kicked in the door.

          He rushed to his car and quickly changed the tire but forgot he needed gas. He made it two blocks before he sputtered to a stop. Some good Samaritans helped him push his car back to his apartment.

          Then he remembered his ROTC graduation ceremony. Grabbing his bayonet, he threw it into his car and ran upstairs to dress. Rushing into his apartment, he saw falling plaster had crushed his canary cage, killing his bird. As he dashed over to where the cage lay, he slipped on the wet carpet and wrenched his back.

          He finally got up, dressed and rushed down to his car. Painfully struggling into the driver’s seat, he forgot about the bayonet and sat down on it, cutting his backside. Instead of graduating, he headed to the emergency room for stitches.

          About that time, somehow a newspaper reporter appeared and asked him, “How can you explain a day like this?”

          The only thing the fellow could say was, “Well, it looks like God was trying to kill me, but He just kept missing.”

          Have you ever had a day like that? Jesus said, “In the world, you will have tribulation . . .” We deal with trials because we live in a fallen world.

          Sometimes we create our own stress with poor decisions or ungodly living and then wonder, “Why is God doing this to me?” All God is doing is letting you reap what you sow.

          A trial is not a consequence but, instead, is something we wouldn’t choose, didn’t cause and cannot stop. We should pause and ask, “Is what I’m going through a trial or a consequence?”

          Occasionally, as life crashes in, someone will ask, “What have I done to deserve this? Is God punishing me?”

          Mark it down: God is not punishing you for your sin. He may allow us to suffer the consequences of our sin because every decision brings about a consequence and He may use the situation to teach us some important lessons.

          However, all the punishment for your sin was placed on Jesus at the cross.

Mark 15:24 says, “They crucified Him.” Cicero said crucifixion was “the cruelest and most hideous punishment possible.” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 8, p. 779). With this cruel, tortuous death, Jesus bore our sin and paid the price for our sin once and for all.

          Jesus’ purpose was His sacrificial death on the cross. At the beginning of His ministry, John called Him “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

          Jesus Himself stated, “Even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

          Paul wrote, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10).

          Our sin separates us from God yet Christ, through His atoning work on the cross, brought reconciliation between God and man.

          Thankfully, Jesus didn’t just die in our place and for our sin, but also arose from the grave, conquering death and completing the work of reconciliation. Paul wrote, “If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; You are still in your sins!” (I Corinthians 15:17).

          No, God is not trying to punish you. Christ took our punishment on the cross. Rather, the cross and the empty tomb declare how much God loves you.

Dr. David Chancey