“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)
I love to get mail! Well, I love to get MOST mail. Today a surprising piece of mail arrived at my home. It was a violation notice for not paying the toll at the Tobin Bridge on Monday, March 8, 2010. The plate number of the violator was listed as “280”. Yup, that’s my plate: 280. But I wanted to shout, “I DIDN’T DO IT!” And I didn’t. I inherited my parents’ 1989 Volkswagen Golf in late 2000 and along with it, I inherited Massachusetts plate #280. My father had plate #280 because he had been a Registry of Motor Vehicles Supervisor. In fact, it was awarded to him by then Registrar Alan Mackey on the occasion of his retirement.
COULD I have been up at the Tobin bridge on March 8 and forgotten about it? Or could someone else have driven my car up there that day? No! On Monday, February 8, I had NO BRAKES in the Volkswagen in downtown Framingham. It was pretty terrifying. I aimed the car into a snow bank and that stopped it. I called AAA and had the car towed to my driveway where it has sat ever since. I did not want to take any chances with losing plate #280 so I kept the registration and insurance on the Volkswagen active. Just yesterday, I transferred plate #280 to our 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan. (That meant 2 trips to the Milford Registry and 2 trips to our insurance agency.) Bottom line: The VW with plate #280 sat dead in my driveway on March 8. I didn’t do it. I sent off an appeal letter to the Violations officer explaining all of that and I trust the $50 ticket will be dismissed.
This week, Christians remember the Crucifixion and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. A few years ago, a lot of people were “grossed out” by Mel Gibson’s film, “The Passion of the Christ”. In fact, the REAL crucifixion was more bloody and gory even than Mel’s film. Mel Gibson himself has stated that he actually TONED DOWN the look of Jesus Christ on the Cross because if the film portrayed it with extreme accuracy no one would want to look at the film and it would make them sick. The amazing thing is that Jesus Christ endured that horrible suffering and death; he was executed as a criminal but HE DIDN’T DO IT! I am so humbled when I think that Jesus was silent. What words he DID speak on that Good Friday were mostly words of love, grace, and wisdom. He hung there on the Cross in obedience to His Heavenly Father. He was completely innocent. But he did NOT cry out, “I didn’t do it.” Was Jesus Christ weak? No! He was STRONG!
I will have to change the names to protect the innocent here, but a little over ten years ago the employee of a friend of mine was arrested and charged with child molestation. This all happened at the workplace. A woman who worked there as a secretary would bring her little girl in to work, and sometimes a single guy who worked there would “take her into his office and baby-sit her”. She later confided to her mother that the office baby-sitter had touched her inappropriately. I’ll call the office baby-sitter Zach. Zach tried to brush off the charges saying, “Oh we were just playing. Oh I might sit her on my lap...” etc.
My friend Fred who employed Zach and Charlene (the secretary) could not understand how Zach could be so blasé and casual about the charges against him.
"I would be yelling, 'I DIDN’T DO IT!'" said Fred. So would I. That’s because we would never molest a child. Zach didn’t yell that because he did it and he went to jail for it.
Back to Jesus Christ: no, He didn’t do it. But I did it. I did it. So did you. No, I didn’t molest children! And, no, I didn’t fail to pay a toll at the Tobin Bridge. But the Bible teaches that my sins and your sins are what put the holy, sinless Jesus Christ on that Cross. That may sound old-fashioned and gory, but it’s the direct message of pretty much the entire New Testament, and it’s also (usually in more subtle forms) found in the Old Testament (the Jewish Scriptures).
Isaiah 53 that I quote from above is a remarkable passage. It was written roughly 700 years before Jesus’ crucifixion. Yet, if you read Isaiah 53 in ANY Bible....Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, or whatever....it is clearly talking about Jesus Christ dying on the Cross. It’s an amazing piece of prophecy.
If what I’m writing sounds “off the wall”, I challenge you to read Isaiah 53 this week. And read from the New Testament this week, especially the Gospel of John, the Book of Ephesians, and the Book of Romans. God’s standard for heaven is PERFECTION. I have never lived up to that standard for even one day of my life. Neither have you. But Jesus Christ DID. And HE paid the penalty for our sins so we would NOT have to spend eternity in Hell. And, He rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. He conquered death and the devil. (See I Corinthians 15, among other chapters.)
I was not happy to receive that violation notice today, nor was I happy to have to write my appeal letter and mail it off. But it got me thinking about what I’ve written here today, so (for you mature Christians) I guess this was a Romans 8:28 situation!
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