My Shadow Borne by Another – Day 37

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

When I was in seminary, I had the privilege of preaching for several months at a small Baptist church in Massachusetts. The first Easter service I preached there, my first ever, was in the style of a “Whodunnit.” Who killed Jesus? The answer echoed yesterday’s devotional. There are a lot of answers that can be given, but at the end of the day, as the great hymn states, “It was my sin that held him there.”[1] Christ died for me. For you. For all of humanity.

That night, my wife came out of the bedroom where she was putting our three-year-old son to bed.

She said, “You need to talk to your son.”

You know there’s a problem when a mother says “your son” instead of “my son,” or at least “our son.”

I went in expecting he wanted another glass of water or another story, but he had a question.

“Dad, was Jesus God?”

“Yes, son. Now you need to go to sleep.”

“One more question, Dad. Was Jesus God on the cross?”

“Yes, son, Jesus was God on the cross. Good night.”

“Dad? One more question? Was Jesus God when he died?”

“Yes, son, Jesus was God when he died. No more questions; you have to go to sleep.”

“But, Dad, what happened to the Trinity when Jesus died?”

“Go to sleep, son, and we will talk about it in the morning.”

If I would have been honest with him, I would have told him, “I don’t know. I have no idea.”

But you don’t admit those things to a three-year-old!

I’ve read some good things in that question since that Easter evening. I’m not sure that any of them answer the question completely. Maybe that’s the point. When it comes to shadows, there’s always mystery.

God, who is perfect and cannot know sin in the person of Jesus Christ, became sin for me. In that moment, when the Father turned his face away, something beyond description happened. I’m still not sure exactly what happened to the Trinity in that moment, but I thank God that it happened. In the shadow of the cross, an exchange took place. My curse for his blessing. My sin for his righteousness. He bore my shadow and invited me into his wonderful light.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your mysterious love that does things beyond my understanding or even my imagination. Thank you for the exchange of my sin for the righteousness of the Son. Thank you for bearing the shadow of my curse. In Jesus’s name, amen.

[1] Townsend, Stuart. “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us.” Church Hymnary, 2005.