Jesus - Our Judge and Defender
Why He stands alone among the world religions
It is nearing 3:16 PM, and you have been sitting in your seat for nearly three hours to hear the conclusion of the case. The words you've been waiting to hear for months are finally about to be spoken in the air. A close friend of yours was wronged beyond imagination and the person who committed the horrendous act is standing approximately 15 feet away from you towards your left standing completely still.
The tension in the room has created a stillness in the air. So much so that you can hear footsteps in the distance slowly getting closer, step after step. Your anticipation rises to a climax as you hear the creaking of the judges door open as he returns from his chambers, making his way to be seated at the bench.
Being confident that justice will be done, you look forward to hearing every word spoken of out of the judges mouth. It is finally time, the judge gathers himself to present his final decision:
"After hearing all the evidence for this case, from not only the victim and the defendant, but as well as eyewitnesses and close friends and relatives, I have made a accumulative decision based on everything I've determined to be true. Now while the defendant did something truly unspeakable, I cannot deny all the good I have heard this person do, and after weighing the scales, I have found that this persons good has clearly out weighed the bad. From this conclusion, I have decided to find in favor of the defendant to be released from all charges (the gavel slams)."
(a gasp is heard throughout the audience)
Being morally outraged, you cannot believe what you just heard. You know deep down inside that justice should have prevailed, that there is this innate intrinsic value for each and every human being to receive justice when it is due. For the life you, you cannot understand how the judge came to his decision.
Do you realize that we are all in the defendant stand before God before receiving Jesus? Do we allow ourselves to be rightly convicted before a Holy and just God for the sins we have committed against Him? Or do we reconcile ourselves by saying that we are a good person because of our own works?
Jesus stands alone among the other religions who say to rightly weigh the scales of good and evil, and to make sure you have done more good than bad in this life. Is this how we conduct ourselves justly in a court of law? Bearing the image of God, is this how we project this image into our reality?
Our good works cannot save us. If we step before a judge, being guilty of a crime, the judge will not judge us by the good that we have done, but rather the crimes we have committed. If we as fallen humanity, created in God's image, pose this type of justice, how much more a perfect, righteous, and Holy God?
God has brought down His moral law's through the 10 commandments given to Moses at Mt. Siani. These laws were not given so we may be justified, rather that we may see the need for a savior. They are the mirror of God's character of what He has put in each and every one of us, with our conscious bearing witness that we know that it is wrong to steal, lie, dishonor our parents, and so forth.
We can try and follow the moral laws of the 10 commandments, but we will never catch up to them to be justified before a Holy God. That same word of the law given to Moses became flesh over 2000 years ago in the body of Jesus Christ. He came to be our justification by fulfilling the law, living a sinless perfect life that only God could fulfill.
The gap between us and the law can never be reconciled by our own merit, but the arm of Jesus is stretched out by the grace and mercy of God. And if we are to grab on, through faith in Him, He will pull us up being the one to justify us. As in the court of law, if someone steps in and pays our fine, even though we are guilty, the judge can do what is legal and just and let us go free. That is what Jesus did almost 2000 years ago on the cross. It was a legal transaction being fulfilled in the spiritual realm by the shedding of His blood.
Would it surprise you to hear that Jesus says no one is good but God alone?
"So He (Jesus) said to him, 'Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments'" (Matthew 19:17).
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
You may compare yourself to others by saying you're not as bad as that or this person, and that you've never done something so bad as to murder someone. Why is this reasoning invalid? It is all about the backdrop of how we view ourselves. In the backdrop of other people, it can be easy to perceive ourselves as a good person. How about in the backdrop of a holy God? Here is a good illustration to get the point across.
Imagine this. A young girl is out in a field during the day with green grass and clear blue skies. She is staring at a sheep out in the pasture feeding on grass. She thinks to her self how beautiful and fluffy the sheep's white fur coat is. Now let's take that same girl and same sheep, but now let's change the backdrop. This time the girl is out in the field during winter time, during a fresh snow fall, and as she looks at the sheep, she now notices how dirty and filthy his white coat of fur is against the backdrop of a snowfall. What has changed in this analogy? The backdrop. The same person is starring at the same white fur coat of a sheep.
Taking this analogy and apply ourselves to how we look at ourselves in the backdrop of people, but then in the backdrop of pure, Holy, and righteous God. Do we still believe we are a good person in comparison? Not even close.
Now you may ask, why would God send others to eternal damnation for committing finite crimes? First off, the reward is equally as great, and plus, how can you test humanity endowed with freewill to see who is righteous or wicked in an eternal state? It would never end, and thus the judgement would not come for the just and the wicked. Simple answer. Because He alone is good, and very very good, eternally at that. That may not be an easy answer to understand. Allow me to share another illustration to get my point across.
Let's take what many perceive to be a petty crime, and ramp up who it is being acted towards. Kyle goes up and takes a swing at his brother and misses, and they both just laugh it off. Now Kyle goes and takes a swing at his father, and now it gets more serious. Kyle now goes and takes a swing at a cop. He now is sitting in a cell awaiting his trial. Kyle then goes to take a swing at the judge. He is now facing three months in jail. When Kyle finishes his sentence, he goes to a presidential rally. Having the opportunity to be close to the president, he charges towards him and takes a swing and gets shot by the secret service.
What is changing in these scenarios? Not the act of taking a swing with his fist, but the person of authority that the act is being conducted towards. Now imagine taking a swing at the one who gave us life, the only one who is good. And not only that, but is the highest authority! The same who came down from His throne, willing to take on suffering Himself, the suffering that we deserved, all the way to death on the cross.
This is why we need to fear God, because His love is so great. For if we were to reject His love that was demonstrated upon the cross, how equally great will the consequences be?
You may argue that you did not ask to choose this life, but the deception there is you know life is good. The reason why you get up every morning and move forward is because the goodness of God being revealed in His creation. The devil has deceived us in twisting this understanding around having us point the finger at God.
Jesus - The Great Attorney
Making a way of escape through His great mercy
Now why did Jesus have to die for us?
Because God is Holy and just, the wrath that we deserve could not go unnoticed. Through the perfect righteousness and justice of God's character, it must be dealt with, it must be quenched, it must be satisfied.
For God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23). This is why in Isaiah chapter 53, where it speaks of the coming Messiah and His soul being a sacrifice for our sins, why it says it pleased God to crush His only begotten Son.
This is because the wrath that we deserve was justified by being poured out upon His Son. If that wrath was poured out on us, we would all die and go to hell. God created a way of escape by pouring it out on His Son whose soul could not be left in Hades, but was raised and seated at the right hand of God in power.
So now when we put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14), God no longer sees the person who deserves His wrath, but rather the glorious image of His perfect Son dwelling in us, justifying us as if we received the wrath we deserve, making a way of escape from the curse of death.
Now what we must do is repent and put our trust and faith in the savior, confessing and forsaking our sins. This is not just a head knowledge of believing in Jesus, but rather receiving His words, taking them to heart, so that we may truly be transformed into the image of God. Where we no longer live to practice sin, but rather turn from our sins and practice righteousness through faith in Him:
Here it is. You are now the defendant in your court case standing completely still before the bench of a holy God. You hear foot steps getting closer and closer as the judge opens his chamber doors and sits at his bench. He gathers himself and then He says these words:
My child, not because of your righteousness, but because you received the righteousness of my only begotten Son. For you have chosen to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and when I look at you, I no longer see the person who once deserved my justice, my wrath, but the glorious image of my Son dwelling in you.
For He has paid your fine:
"After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit" (John 19:28-30).
Or in other words, the debt has been paid in the spiritual realm by the shedding of His blood. Will Jesus be your great defense attorney or judge on that Day?
Will Jesus be standing beside you or against you on that day?