Christ Died for Jerks

Rev. Eric Brown

[Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins, and not ours only but also for the sins of the whole world - 1 John 2:2

Insofar as we are still sinful human beings living in our flesh, we have a love/hate relationship with sin. On the one hand, we can love the tar out of our own pet sins. On the other, man, we hate it and get indignant when someone sins against us. We will rant and rave, complain, hate, gossip, tear down over the slightest little thing--drama at the drop of a hat as soon as someone displeases us.

And this love/hate relationship we have with sin spills out in a strange way for us as Christians. See, we hear the Good News that Christ Jesus has died for our sins, and then we deal with that. You have all that wonderful Law-Gospel dynamic, where we see that even the sins that we love are bad (and that annoys us), but then there is that even greater good news that we are forgiven by Christ. That lousy love of sin has a much better, bigger love put in its place: Christ's love.

But here's the kicker. For us Christians, there can sometimes be a tendency to forget or overlook (or even be downright mad about) the fact that Christ's love and forgiveness trumps the sins that we hate--the sins that other people do. The sins they do to us. Jesus died for that person who is a jerk to you. Really.

And in the moment, we can get really absolutely indignant. But let's pause for a second. It's good that Jesus died for that jerk. You know why? Because often enough, you are someone else's jerk, and Jesus still died for you.

This is the great thing. Jesus died for all sins. Everyone's sin. That means all my sin. It means everything that my neighbor has done to me, Jesus has died for, too. And thus I see their sin differently. Yeah, it hurts. So what? Jesus died for it. That person is mean. So what? Jesus died for them.

And seeing that, we get to do something awesome and earth shattering. We proclaim that Jesus died for them, and that they are forgiven. And that is literally earth shattering--Jesus died and there were earthquakes and saints raised from the dead and other wild stuff. Because even as strong as those sins are, even as big of jerk as that person is (or you are sometimes), it can't stop the bigger and more awesome truth that Christ Jesus, God Almighty Himself, died for the sins of the world.

Don't let someone's sin lead you into a giant drama ball. Christ freed you from that. Christ died for you and for them, and so you are free to simply point to Christ, in all times and in all places and for all people. Yes, and that means even for the folks who are almost as big of sinners as you are, because the saying is faithful, Christ died for sinners, of whom I am the chief (1 Timothy 1:15). And if Christ died for me, He certainly died for this fellow who's been a jerk to me lately, and that is nothing less than awesome.

Rev. Eric Brown is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Herscher, Illinois.

Created: March 23rd, 2016