Monday, February 12, 2018

“The Innocent One”

"The Innocent One"

   I was once ticketed for not completely coming to a stop at a stop sign.  I chose to attend traffic school to keep the matter off my record.   As the meeting began, the officer who conducted the school introduced himself and said in a sympathetic tone, "There may be some of you here today who are not actually guilty of the infraction for which you were ticketed. The officer made a mistake."  He let the thought sink in, acknowledged a few nods, and then continued with a smile.  "If you're one of those folks, you're here today for those times when you were guilty of a traffic violation, but weren't caught!"  This drew much laughter, and sheepish acknowledgement by all of our shared culpability.

   "Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Peter 1:18-19).
   "We have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15).
   "Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust" (I Peter 3:18).

    Only one innocent human being has ever lived on this planet marked by the footsteps of the guilty.  Indeed, when thinking the Lord Jesus Christ with accolade, affirmation, and adoration, the remembrance that He was tempted more than any of us, but never once succumbed to sin, should lead us to our knees and faces.  Indeed, pardon me for a moment…

    ...Our Savior nevertheless suffered accusation, and ultimately, a criminal's death.  "This man is a sinner!" declared the religious leaders threatened by the innocence of the Lord Jesus as well as His message (John 9:24).  How would that have felt to Him?  How does it feel to us when we are innocent regarding specific accusations, but also possessed of a long record of both witnessed and unwitnessed failures?  It hurts to be unfairly accused, even with our history of failure.  What would it feel like to a Heart pristinely pure and without fault?  Only the Lord Jesus suffered accusation in the spiritual and emotional context of complete innocence.  Moreover, He felt it as a human being "touched with the feeling of our infirmities."  Touched more.  Let us never imagine that pain, whether of heart or body, was not pain to our blessed Lord.  No amount of perfect faith and devotion excluded the difficult realities of humanity from the Savior's experience.  "He is... a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).  Thus, He knew and He knows what it means to be unfairly accused, and knows it far more intensely than we can ever comprehend or feel.

    When we find ourselves the victims of unjust accusation, the pain of such experience must lead us to the Throne of grace.  Thereupon sits the One who well knows what we feel.  He can therefore do something about it.  He can comfort and strengthen our hearts, and He can enable us to walk in loving grace toward our accusers.  Remembering our capability in many things and His innocence in all things leads us yet again to our knees and faces.  The Innocent One, the only innocent one, beckons us to know the grace of His heart because He so well knows the pains of our hearts.

"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."
(Luke 23:39-41)

Weekly Memory Verse
   Rejoice the soul of Thy servant: for unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
(Psalm 86:4)


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