I wish I had a story this morning that put me in a good light in this situation, but, I don’t.
Something bad happened. I was guilty. It was my idea, my plan, I was even the one committing the crime. But I ran and hid. I thought I had gotten away with it. I could taste freedom and the thrill of not getting caught. But then I watched as my friend, who was just an innocent bystander, got blamed and questioned.
They never told them it was me. Punishment was sure to happen.
Could I be brave enough to step up and admit the truth? Could I confess?
See, that was the thing. I realized I was guilty but there was no way I would confess. Even if I saw my friend get the punishment I deserved. I knew it was because of me they were there in the first place, but, I just couldn’t.
I remained quiet.
“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?” (Mark 15:34)
Jesus is nailed to the cross. He has been beaten to the point where He is almost unrecognizable. Every stripe stripped away flesh and revealed bone. Blood streamed from every wound. Written above His head was His crime, but the truth was, He wasn’t guilty. He was innocent.
The time was upon Him to die and in that moment, He cried out those 4 words, translated to say, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
What was happening in that moment?
Jesus was bearing the sin of all the people in the world. Every sin was upon Him as if He were the one who committed it. God is Holy and righteous, He could not look upon sin. Here was His only Son and He turned His face away from Him.
Jesus and God were separated for the first time.
This is why Christ cried out those words.
He asked desperately, why Lord?
But He knew. He knew the reason.
And we do, too.
It was me. It was you. We did that.
It was our sin that He took upon Himself. He bore the blame. And what do we do in return?
Do we confess? Do we say, “God! It’s me! I know what I did! I know I’m the one who deserves this! God please forgive me?”
Or do we sit by the sidelines and watch?
Jesus has already paid the debt we owe. But unless we confess our sin to the Lord, we will still have to face the judgment.
See, we too are separated from God because of our sin. But, Christ’s death on the cross provided a bridge from us to God. But we have to decide to cross it. We have to recognize that it was our sin that caused that divide and that only through Christ can we have a restored relationship with the Father.
Do that today. We don’t know what tomorrow holds. But today… today is the day of salvation.
If you have done that, and you’re still reading, maybe you’re like me and you feel the weight of your own guilt. Remember, God has forgiven you if you have put your faith in Him. But being saved from punishment isn’t the end. It’s only the beginning. As a Follower of Christ, we must learn what that means to look like Jesus, act like Him, and serve and love like He did. It’s a choice we make every day to be devoted to not only learning about Him and His ways to better ourselves, but how we can share that with others so they too can do the same.