Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Justice and Mercy of a Father

I have been going back and forth today between two topics, both great studies and I will tackle the other one tomorrow, but today's study is just going to scratch the surface.  In my Sunday School class this morning the story was the death and resurrection of Christ.  As I was studying the story yesterday in preparation, and mulling over yesterday's study I thought it would be an appropriate topic.

In the story of Adam and Eve we saw that God in His mercy did not give Adam and Eve the ultimate consequence that they deserved; instead, He gave them the promise of a Savior. Now we are going to look at that promise fulfilled.

Gen 2:17  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.  

The consequence for the sin that Adam committed was death.  That price had to be paid, but God in His mercy was going to provide One that could pay that price.

2Co 5:17-21  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.   For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

These verses show us God's mercy, through His son Jesus Christ, He reconciled (restored) our relationship with Him.  No longer are we condemned to death; we can be made righteous through Christ.  That reconciliation occurred because of Christ's death on the cross, the fulfillment of God's justice.

The fulfillment of God's justice was not a pretty sight, in fact far from it, but it is something we should ponder.  The full and total consequences of sin were poured out on Christ.

He was betrayed by one of his disciples
Mat 26:14-16  Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.  And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him. Mat 26:47  And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.
Mat 26:48-49  Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.  And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.

He was forsaken by his disciples
Mar 14:50  And they all forsook him, and fled.

He was falsely accused
Mar 14:53, 55-59  And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes.  And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none.  For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together.  And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.   But neither so did their witness agree together.

He was hit and spat upon
Mar 14:65  And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.

He was denied by Peter.
Mat 26:69-75  Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.  But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.   And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.  And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.   Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.  And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.

He was falsely accused and mocked in front of Herod
Luk 23:8-11  And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.   And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.

He was scourged, beaten and mocked.
Mar 15:15-20  And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.  And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head,  And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews!  And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him.   And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.
Mat 27:28-30  And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.  And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!  And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

He was crucified on the cross.
Joh 19:16-18  Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.  And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:  Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

Even while he was on the cross he was mocked.
Luk 23:35-41  And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.  And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,  And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.  And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

His Father forsook Him
Mar 15:34  And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

He died.
Luk 23:46  And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

The story of Christ's death on the cross is the ultimate example of God's justice.  The sin had been committed, the consequence had to be paid, and that consequence was paid by the only One who could pay it in full.  The story of Christ's death is also the ultimate example of God's mercy.  Every single thing that happened to Christ is what we deserve. Instead of making us suffer the consequences for our sins, God put the consequence on His Son.

So what is the challenge for us as parents?  How often do we stop to talk to our children about what Christ did for us?  Every time we talk to our children about their sin, do we talk about how that sin is why Christ had to die?  As Easter is coming up this week, have we taken the time to teach the Reason of Easter, or do our kids think that it is all about the Easter bunny and the Easter egg hunt?

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