Crucified, Dead, Buried

Lou Lotz

READ : Mark 15:6-15

So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. (v. 15)

Whipping boys were common during the monarchies of 16th- century England. A prince could not be punished by human hands. So a whipping boy was assigned to a young prince, and when he misbehaved, the whipping boy was punished (whipped). One person is punished for another person’s sins—it is the very definition of injustice.

Jesus was no whipping boy. God did not lay the burden of our sinfulness on a third party but on himself—God’s own self—in the person of his only son. God himself, and none other, bore the punishment for our sins. We are all like Barabbas, who is sentenced to die for his own sins, yet at the last minute, through no merit of his own, he is spared, and another man takes his place on the cross. That other man—for Barabbas and for us—is Jesus Christ, God in human form.

Now and then, members of a quasi-Christian cult will visit my neighborhood, going house to house, knocking on doors and distributing literature. They are polite but persistent. One fellow, wanting to assure me that his belief was altogether biblical, said: “We believe that Jesus was the Son of God.” I replied: “Yes, but you do not belief that Jesus was God the Son, and that makes all the difference.”

God himself, his very self, accepts the punishment for our sins. “God punishes himself,” said Luther. “Who can understand it!”

PRAYER

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of salvation.