Forgive – that beautiful and impossible word came at a huge cost. And yet it is also free.
How does that make sense?
If you have not read the Scriptures or are unaware of the good news Jesus came to preach, I would heartily encourage you to read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Then I would encourage the reading of Romans and Hebrews and of course, the whole of Scripture.
But to explain in my limited way, let me attempt to tell you why Jesus came.
If you accept the teachings of Genesis – of a world made by a Creator, of a man and woman who disobeyed that Creator and brought sin and brokenness into the world, then you will understand that when something is broken it needs to be fixed. That’s our desire, isn’t it? When something that we value breaks, we either wish we could undo what happened or repair the damage.
We can’t ever undo what’s been done and though God could have undone Adam’s choice and rewound time (because He’s God and He can do what He pleases), He chose not to. He didn’t allow Himself to go against the laws of nature that He had already put into play. And He did not undo the consequences that He had laid out should the man and woman go against those laws.
So when they did, the only choice left (besides people suffering the consequences) was to fix and repair the damage. Actually, in God’s case, He did more than fix. He promised to remake the world and wipe out the suffering.
That’s why Jesus came. Back in Genesis He was there creating the world and in Matthew He entered that creation with the express purpose of fixing it all. That fix required a cost because the unfortunate nature of consequences is that they tend to last. And in sin’s case, it became imbedded in the DNA of humanity to the point that it cannot be eradicated. Not without divine intervention. Not without a divine sacrifice.
You see–all of those sacrifices people have offered to various gods over time and even the sacrifices God required of His people Israel could never eradicate sin. The blood of goats and bulls can’t wash a human heart clean. Even people who sacrificed their own children on ancient altars couldn’t find forgiveness in the blood of their child. Because their children, though innocent, were still flawed.
So God put on human skin and stepped into the world and did what was required to make things right again. The cost was much more than dying a cruel unjust death. His actions, His sacrifice caused a rip in the divine fabric, in the very relationship of Father and Son. All because they determined to bring the creation back to what it was meant to be. To offer forgiveness for the sin that tore it apart.
On a much simpler scale–imagine being given a gift you don’t deserve and could never repay–and this gift came from the one person in the world that you have hurt the most. It’s the father offering his best ring and robe to a wayward child, even though that child did his best (or worst) to cause his father pain. It’s the shepherd searching valleys and canyons and pits and the base of cliffs, getting tangled in brambles and suffering cuts and bruises to rescue a rascally, rebellious lamb. It’s a man selling all he has to buy a precious jewel and then giving it to his enemy.
That’s what Jesus did. He offers the ring and robe, he searches the deepest pits for his lost sheep, he gave up all he had so his enemies could be forgiven. Bought back. Remade.
That’s the good news as best as I can explain it.
A gift that’s ours without cost and yet the most expensive treasure we could ever own. If we accept it.