Today I took my brothers to Chuck. E. Cheese. It was a fun experience, albeit it was a little crazy and hectic in this children’s casino. Caleb and Matthew each played their arcade games and tried to garner as many tickets as possible in order to get some prize at the end of our afternoon. Matthew came up with 121 tickets, and Caleb only came up with 84 (he was obsessed with the pure chance style games). We walked over to the counter to pick out toys, and they each laid eyes on their ideal toy. Caleb wanted an emoji glow stick (yes, it is as stupid looking as it sounds) and Matthew wanted a Rubik cube (Chuck. E. Cheese. themed).
Both of those toys were 400 tickets a piece.
They were way short.
Matthew may have done better in the arcade than Caleb, but they were both going home empty handed.
Now unbeknownst to my brothers there was a nifty little rule at the toy counter that allowed someone to purchase tickets for a penny a pop. So lo and behold, Matthew and Caleb both got their toys that will be broken or lost within the week (I got me one single Cherry Airhead for what seemed like a bajillion tickets, which was a tremendous rip-off).
Now, let me tell you, my sacrifice for Caleb and Matthew was puny. It was a handful of dollars. But it is a teeny tiny example of the gospel message.
Bear with me.
I have sickness. I have pain. I have rebelled against God. I have sinned against God. I have countless grievances committed against God.
Yet every ounce of that has been covered by the blood of Jesus Christ upon the cross. Every ounce of it.
While reading this afternoon, I came to the passage from Isaiah 53 that is likely well known to you if you have a church background. I was amazed by the consistent refrain of ‘He. . . Our.’ Look at the passage with me and see what I mean.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like someone people turned away from; he was despised, and we didn’t value him. Yet he himself bore our sicknesses, and he carried our pains; but we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds. We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished him for the iniquity of us all. – Isaiah 53:3-6
How does that not evoke worship in your heart? I’m drawn to the edge of tears when I think deeply about this passage. I read it over and over again this afternoon, underlining and highlighting different aspects of it.
One thing that’s cool about this passage is that it reminds us that the Old Testament foreshadows Christ as being the sacrificial Lamb of God. This passage should also remind us that the righteousness that we are given by God came at an immense price. Look at the unfairness of this situation.
He bore our sicknesses
He carried our pains
He was pierced for our rebellion
He was crushed for our iniquities
The Lord punished him for the iniquities of us all
Jesus paid an incredible price for us to obtain forgiveness of sins and peace with God (v. 5).
What’s even crazier is that none of us could ever receive this righteousness, this forgiveness, this peace on our own. Verse six paints an immensely clear portrait of our tendency as humans. We all have strayed, we all have turned to our own way. Now this passage wasn’t written to us 21st century Christians, but I think it’s safe to say that we also are in the same boat of none of us being able to measure up to the perfect standard of God’s holiness. Romans chapter three makes this pretty clear, so take a look at that chapter if you are wary of my proclamation.
None of us could ever measure up. We all despise and reject Jesus when we fall into sin, and every single one of us has fallen into sin. Some of us may think we’re better than others in our pursuit of perfection, but even if that was the case, we would still all fall short. Just like Matthew performed better than Caleb and still came up short.
Every one of us comes up short.
How grateful we should be.
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Christ lived the life I could not, and He paid the sin debt I was unable to pay.
I don’t want to belittle the gospel with this illustration at all, but I can’t help but think of entrance into heaven like that prize counter at Chuck. E. Cheese. The cost for the ‘prize’ of eternal life with God is an insurmountable debt that I cannot pay. I see myself holding in my hands the ragged tickets I’ve garnered in my life, realizing I don’t stack up at all with the cost of eternal life. I picture Jesus tapping me on the shoulder and telling me ‘I got this.’
The people who read this passage in the days of Isaiah were likely given a sweet and ferocious anticipation for the coming Messiah.
I know that He has come. Jesus Christ paid my debt. He took all of my sins, pains, rebellions, and grievances. He was my substitute sacrifice. He paid my debt.
You can either reject this gospel or you can receive it. You can either reject Jesus as your substitute sacrifice or you can receive him.
Receive what he has done for you.
– In His Name,
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*The Christian walk is not one of achievement or earnings, this was simply an illustration.