“When you reflect upon Jesus Christ hanging on the cross of shame, you understand the depth and weight of human sin. How do we measure the size of a fire? By the number of firefighters and fire engines sent to fight against it. How do we measure the seriousness of a medical condition? By the amount of risk the doctors take in prescribing dangerous antibiotics or surgical procedures. How do we measure the gravity of sin and the incomparable vastness of God’s love for us? By looking at the magnitude of what God has done for us in Jesus, who became like a common criminal for our sake and in our place” (Fleming Rutledge, The Undoing of Death).
When you think about it, every sin that you and I commit is ultimately against God, more so that it is against ourselves or other people. I read a quote that said that the essence of sin is us substituting ourselves for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting Himself for us. That’s the crux of it.
In Old Testament Israel, sin required blood and the death of an innocent animal. All that was pointing to the ultimate sacrifice made once for all time by Jesus on the cross. In other words, sin isn’t something God winks at and shoves under the proverbial rug. Sin is deadly serious.
Jesus taking our place is the ultimate display of love. It’s more romantic feelings that we see displayed on the silver screen. It’s even more than climbing mountains and crossing oceans for the one you love. It’s laying down your life for the beloved.
In Jesus’ case, it was laying down His life for us while we were still sinners and His enemies. While we were yet putting ourselves in the place of God and rejecting God’s better design for our lives.
That is the measure of true love.