This is my first blog post, so I am a bit nervous. Bear with me please.
This picture was taken when I was finishing my degree at Michigan State University in the summer of 2010. I was waiting at the bus stop to get back to my truck so I could go home and look for a way to make some money to survive.
In a land where people claimed to be compassionate and caring, he was being ignored. He smelled bad. He was drunk…his bag had vodka in it. He told me that he was trying to get to the hospital. He had no money for the bus, and nobody would give the man 75 cents. I would have given him money, but had none.
So here comes my core belief. I believe that it is what Jesus came here for.
Most Christians will tell you that Jesus came here to save us from our sins, so that we could spend eternity with Him in heaven.
I do believe Jesus died on the cross. I do believe that His death was the sacrifice that saved us from eternity in hell.
But that’s it?
Sounds kinda cheap to me. I mean if God created the rules to follow, and we violate them, i.e. sinning, then why did he die? God forgave David before the death on the cross. Jesus forgave the woman at the well. There are plenty of instances where there was forgiveness of sins prior to His death. In fact, the Lords prayer, Jesus said that if we forgive each other, He will forgive us our sins.
Now, I don’t claim to have all the answers, and I may be wrong. But it seems to me that a death on the cross wasn’t necessary for the forgiveness of sins.
And…does this mean that if we don’t forgive others of their sins against us, then we won’t have our sins forgiven by God? I think so.
So why did Jesus die?
Well, I’ve thought about that a lot.
I think that if you lead a group of people around for three years, that the last words you say to them before you die will be the most important ones. We find that in Matthew 25.
The sheep and the goats.
The hungry and thirsty, the stranger, the naked and the sick.
When we take care of those who are hungry and thirsty, strangers, naked and sick, we are taking care of Jesus.
So what was Jesus doing on the cross? He was showing us how to live sacrificially for others. He was showing us the ultimate example of how we should treat our fellow man.
As sinners, we are the hungry and thirsty, the stranger, naked and sick.
The cross is much more than a ticket to heaven. It is a way of life. That’s what is meant by picking up our cross. The church today has largely forgotten this message. It teaches things like sin, healing and tithing. It teaches how to have a good marriage. It teaches us how to evangelize. It teaches us how to improve ourselves.
But it doesn’t teach the most powerful message of all time. The message of caring for those who are suffering. This message is more powerful than Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. It was the most selfless act ever done.
Isn’t that then, how we should then live?
So, next time you see someone who is wearing their whole wardrobe, has a bag full of vodka, stinks, is drunk, and is begging for some money, don’t be repulsed by them.
Instead, see them for who they are.
Jesus is a bum.