I spent some time on the internet yesterday watching parts of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and I had a very profound moment in my thoughts of Jesus and my sin. The Bible teaches us that Jesus was fully God and fully man on earth and that He managed to live without sin in every aspect of His life. I’ve always known that to be true but the full magnitude of that truth hit me while I was watching those clips. In particular, the scene where Jesus is carrying His cross on the way to Golgatha. Our Lord has already been beaten severely and has had a crown of thorns pressed onto His head. He is barely recognizable from the torture and is now forced to carry an immensely heavy piece of lumber for several hundred yards. All the while angry mobs follow Him and shout profanities at Him and try to get their hands on Him to strike Him. Jesus collapses under the weight of the cross several times and barely has the strength to get back on His feet. Here is where my moment came: so pervasive is the nature of sin and so desperately it tries to gain mastery over us that it penetrates every aspect of our lives. Not just our actions and deeds, but our thought as well. The success of the atonement depends on one crucial element: that Jesus be guilty of no sin Himself.
The concept of substitution is one man’s guilt-free life for another’s guilty life. I’m sure Satan was trying desperately to gain control over Jesus’ mind during that long walk to Golgatha, because if he did the redemptive mission of Jesus’ life would amount to nothing. All that needed to happen was for Jesus to think one unrighteous thought towards the angry mob or His torturers in malice, hatred, self-righteousness, or pride and the mission would have been a failure. There would have been no atonement for sins, no resurrection, no forgiveness of sins, and mankind would be forever lost and without hope for all eternity. Because if the Son of God had a single stain of sin on Him He would never be able to atone for anything and He Himself would be damned as well. But this reminds me that the power of sin is great and terrible, but the power of God is far greater than sin and it overcomes sin and Satan.
My own sin is constantly waging war against me and fighting to gain mastery over my soul (while I was writing this I got angry at my web browser and WordPress because every time it tried to save this post my computer froze up) and it follows me around wherever I go. But Jesus Christ conquered my sin on the cross because He lived with no sin. He was silent before His accusers like a lamb is silent before its shearers. 2 Cor. 5:21 says,
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him
Let your soul rejoice today in the knowledge that Jesus overcame your curse because He Himself was cursed by God in order that you might go free and come to know your Savior! His unfailing love for us sustained Him in His darkest moments before His death and now in light of all that His death has accomplished for us, let your most intimate love for Him carry you through your darkest moments and your happiest of days, through all your peaks and valleys!