Wednesday, December 23, 2020

God Was In Christ: An Advent Reading Of Luke 23

 Day 23 Luke Chapter 23

And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong” {v.41 NASB}.

Jesus was born in a manger and died on a cross. He came to redeem mankind from our fallenness, darkness, sin, and rebellion. He was the only perfect sacrifice for sin and the only mediator we will ever need {1 Timothy 2:5-6}. He was declared innocent by seven different people that day. Seven times Jesus was examined, judged, and found to be without sin. God is a detail-oriented God. Each sacrifice brought to the Tabernacle was to be carefully observed by the priest to ensure the offering being presented was without spot or blemish. Everything in the law in Israel was observed, in Christ, they are fulfilled, in the church (believers) they are applied. Christ fulfilled every Old Testament Scripture concerning the Messiah.

Jesus’ innocence was so apparent that even a thief dying on the cross next to Him could see the truth. Though Luke’s Gospel gives the impression that one thief mocked Him and one did not, Matthew and Mark’s Gospels give the full account. Matthew 27:44 and Mark 15:32 reveal that both criminals mocked Jesus.

Though both mocked Him, hours spent being crucified next to the King of kings taught him to think better of his behavior. He began to see Jesus for who He was and put his faith and trust in the Jewish carpenter from Nazareth. In this Chronos, the condemned thief and criminal who was a rebel against God became a child of God. What a difference one moment can make in one life. He was no longer on his way to hell, but rather on his way to paradise. One moment he was a criminal who did not deserve mercy but was welcomed into the Lord’s bosom that very day. What mercy. What grace. What a price Christ paid to bridge that gulf between God and man; life and death.

That is what the innocent babe in the manger came for; to seek and save the lost {Lk. 19:10}. The same mercy and grace He extended to that dying, repentant thief is available to you and me. He was innocent of sin at His birth; He was innocent of sin at His death. That is what He took on His shoulders for you and me.

I know I have made much use of Bonhoeffer in my Advent musings, but he says it so eloquently:

The Great Turning Point Of All Things

What kings and leaders of nations, philosophers and artists, founders of religion and teachers of morals have tried in vain to do—that now happens through a newborn child. Putting to shame the most powerful human efforts and accomplishments, a child is placed here at the midpoint of world history—a child born of human beings, a Son given by God {Is. 9:6}. That is the mystery of the redemption of the world; everything past and everything future is encompassed here. The infinite mercy of the Almighty God comes to us, descends to us in the form of a child, his Son. That this child is born for us, this son is given to us, that this human child and Son of God belongs to me, that I know him, have him, love him, that I am his and he is mine—on this alone my life now depends. A child has our life in his hands.[1]




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[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is In The Manger (Westminster: John Knox Press., 2010), 56.

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