Saturday, January 3, 2015

"My Sins, His Agony"

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…

"My Sins, His Agony"
    I wish I had been the person working at the counter of the car-rental agency.

    A fairly well known preacher visited our city many years ago, arriving by plane, and immediately heading to the aforementioned agency to rent a car for his stay in Mobile.  "I'm sorry, sir", said the girl at the counter.  "All our cars are reserved today."

     The preacher smiled condescendingly as he looked into the girl's eyes.  "Young lady," he said said after clearing his throat for dramatic effect.  "Young lady, do you know who I am?"

    The girl did not.  I did, however, or more to the point, I do.  Moreover, I know the perfect response to the haughtiness of the man's rhetorical inquiry (although as an employee of the company, I couldn't have expressed it).  In my fantasy regarding the moment, I would love to have responded, "Why, yes sir, I know exactly who you are."  Pausing for my own throat-clearing moment of effect, I would have looked into the man's eyes.  "Yes sir, you're the man whose sins made necessary the suffering, forsakenness, and death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary."  Another pause, and then a reiteration of "All our cars are reserved today.  Next, please…"

    So long as every human being is included in the indictment that "Christ died for all," there will never be a justification for arrogant self-importance among preachers, or anyone else, for that matter (II Corinthians 15:4).  In and of ourselves, we are members of a guilty race laden with sins, the greatest of which includes the tortured murder of our very Creator.  No trace of pride can rightly occupy the smallest nook or cranny of our hearts.  Preachers should be especially aware of such culpability.  When and if we are not, we forfeit our God-given role of seeking to exemplify and communicate the Gospel of He who "made Himself of no reputation" (Philippians 2:7).  The Apostle Paul confessed himself as the "chief" of sinners (I Timothy 1:15).  We all do well to keep such an attitude, remembering the grace we have personally received - and continue to receive - as the heart-humbling truth whereby we remember that my sins led to His agony.

   "Do you know who I am?!"  The man at the car rental agency apparently didn't know the answer to his own inquiry.  Or perhaps he simply forgot, as do we all, that we were no less the wielder of scourge, thorns, hammer and nails than those who subjected the Lamb of God to slaughter.  The old hymn well raises the inquiry - "Were you there when they crucified our Lord?"  Yes, we were.  Yes, I was.

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely hHth borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to His own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
(Isaiah 53:6)

Weekly Memory Verse
    What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.
(Psalm 56:3)

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