Bible Reading: Mark 15:1-26
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
Okay, so you are riding down the road and you see a group of men working along the roadside and they are all wearing bright orange jumpsuits. Do you know who they are? Their clothing tells you that they are prisoners. Let’s say that you see someone with black-and-white striped shirt and pants on. Do you know who they are? Same thing…prisoners. But why are they wearing those clothes? They have been put in jail, or prison, because they broke the law. But now, they are on some kind of a minimum security work program. They are wearing those clothes because the authorities want the people in the community to be able to easily identify them as prisoners for a couple of reasons. First, in case they try to escape. If you saw a person dressed like that and running down a road…you would probably know that they were trying to get away from the guard. And second, when we see them wearing those clothes and working on the roadside with an armed guard…it is supposed to make us stop and think that we would never want to be in their situation…so, don’t break the law.
Years ago, they had another way to show the community the consequences of breaking the law. It was called “stocks”. You may have seen a picture of someone in stocks. Sometimes they would be sitting on the ground and their feet would be sticking through two holes in a piece of wood. The wood was actually made from two pieces…a top and a bottom with a hinge on one end and a lock on the other end…with two half holes on each piece. You put your foot through the half holes on the bottom piece up to your ankle and then the top piece was pulled down over your ankle and the two pieces were locked together. You couldn’t pull your foot back through because it was too big to get through the hole. There was another kind of stock that worked the same way but, instead of your feet going through the holes in the wood, you would stand up and put your hands and head through three holes in the wood. The stocks were put in a very public place so that everyone in town could see you. It was intended to stop people from breaking the law. How? Well, it was embarrassing to you and you’d never want to be there, again. And, other people would see how embarrassing it was and they wouldn’t want to be there, either. So…don’t break the law.
That is similar to what happened to Jesus. However, Jesus was not put in stocks…but on a cross. When people were put in stocks…they usually thought that after a while, when they had served their punishment, they would be let go. But it wasn’t that way with a cross. A cross was a place to die. They put you on a cross because your punishment was death.
So, why was Jesus put on a cross? He didn’t break God’s Law. He didn’t do anything worthy of the punishment of death. In order to understand why, we must see it from two different perspectives. One, is the human perspective, and two, is God’s perspective.
From a human perspective, the Jewish leaders had decided that Jesus was a threat to their authority. He was too popular with the people. They were afraid that if His popularity continued to grow then the people would revolt against them. Then the Romans (who had overthrown their country and were ruling over them) would respond by fighting back and taking control away from the Jewish leaders. That was the one thing that they did not want to happen. They didn’t want to give up their control. And Jesus was a threat to their control. So, in their minds, Jesus had to die. And they were going to do so in a very public way…by crucifixion. That way, anyone else who ever thought about leading a revolt against them would be afraid to do so because they could end up being crucified, as well.
Then there is God’s perspective. Jesus had done nothing wrong. He had never once broken God’s Law, never once sinned. That is the reason why God had sent Him…to live a perfect, sinless life…so that He could offer His life as a payment for our sin. But how would He do that? How could Jesus be the payment for our sin? By being crucified. You see, in the Old Testament, God had said that anyone who was crucified, was “cursed” (Deuteronomy 21:23). The word “cursed” meant that they had been judged, found guilty, sentenced, and punished for a crime. When Jesus was crucified…it wasn’t for His sin…it was for ours. The Bible says that the result of our sin is death. That is the curse, the judgment for sin. So, Jesus died on the cross…in our place. He took our curse, our punishment for us (Galatians 3:10-13). He died in our place. God used the Jewish leaders to accomplish His purpose.
So today, as you are in school, as you are playing with friends…stop for a moment and remember that Jesus died…so that you could live. He gave His life in place of your life. He gave His sinlessness to you…and you gave your sin to Him. What a trade. What a deal. Thank Him for it. Don’t ever forget it. Now, go back to having fun and enjoying all that God has given you…when He gave you Jesus.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,