The servant of God said, “I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.” – Isaiah 50:6
Jesus also suffered outside the city gate. Let us then go to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. – Hebrews 13:12–13
I had the opportunity to share the essence of the gospel on Saturday with the students and their families who participated in our Operation Backpack event. We prepared 340 backpacks to give to students who registered for the event. Part of the process allowed me to use the EvangeCube to tell the story of God’s redemption by means of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
It occurred to me that the suffering and death of Jesus as the means of our salvation means vey little if there is no concept of our sinfulness and God’s justice. In other words, the death of Jesus is more than a martyr’s execution. Jesus didn’t die just because he refused to give in to the religious leaders of his day.
This was the plan and offering of God for the sins of the world. We need a redeemer who is willing to suffer and die to rescue us from our sins. We need someone to balance the scales of justice that are tilted dramatically away from our acceptance by God. That would require that Jesus would give his back to those who would flail him and inflict untold suffering on him. But this was nothing compared to God’s justice being brought to bear on Jesus. This is the price Jesus is willing to pay is beyond our comprehension.
Going to Jesus “outside the camp” means that we accept his suffering for us, and are willing to acknowledge our need for such a savior and salvation. The abuse we endure is not necessarily physical, but it is real nonetheless. To admit that we are sinners, and that we need a Suffering Servant Savior requires humility and faith. It requires that we acknowledge the justice of God and rejoice in his mercy and grace. It means that we will not be left outside the realm of his grace and salvation when we face eternity.