In the events leading up to Jesus' crucifixion, we find Jesus praying in a garden (Matthew 26:36-45). Externally, the picture seems still. Abruptly, the quiet setting is interrupted by the sound of soldiers who have come to arrest Jesus. And stillness becomes commotion.
Jesus is betrayed by one of His followers. He’s abandoned by those that stood with Him for 3 years. He’s denied three times by one of His closest disciples. Jesus stands trial and is unjustly condemned to death. And He does so alone.
As I've been reflecting on these events, I can't shake the reality that each of these actions and reactions swirling around Jesus' arrest - the betrayal, the abandonment, the denial - give us a window into how we should understand our own sin still today.
We can’t talk about the cross and everything that happens on Good Friday and not realize how big of a deal sin is. Sin isn’t cute or small. The magnitude of the problem of sin is seen in the magnitude of its solution: Nothing less than the death of God’s own Son could deal with our sin. That’s how serious sin is.
Isaiah 53:5-6 drives all of this home:
…he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
If so much of sin is turning away from God in abandonment and denial - and since we are ALL sinners (Romans 3:23) - we need to give careful thought to what it looks like to turn TO GOD in light of your sin. We don’t have to do this in a fearful or cowering way. Instead, as we own up to our sin with convicted hearts and as want God more than our sin, God is eager to hear us and receive us and forgive us.
This means we take confession seriously - where you own up to sins you know you’ve been ignoring; sins that are wreaking havoc inside of you. Confess these sins to God, look to Jesus, and trust His forgiveness.
This focuses the expression of our gratitude - where you acknowledge very directly how thankful you are that Jesus bore your punishment. Where you say “thanks” that His unjust punishment brought you peace with God.
Sin is big. But God's grace is bigger. Let's all lean into the grace Jesus offers by dying FOR US on the cross, with fresh expressions of confession, gratitude, and dependence.
Christian. Husband. Father. Pastor. Learner. Contributor. Reader.