Sermon from 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10 “Jesus the Sinner”
The Bible is full of the idea of substitutes
God raises up a younger child instead of an older child
God appoints an offering for sin
God allows the ransom of a firstborn by the presentation of a sacrifice
God sets aside priests and Levites who assist in worship, a group of people who represent the whole nation
Who is going to take the place of the soul who sins?
The soul who sins must die
All have sinned and come short of the glory of God
There is none righteous
We confess, having the ashes placed upon our heads.
From our reading in 2 Corinthians 5-6 we certainly don’t look like we are the righteousness of God.
seem to be abused, not honored
seem to labor, not rest
don’t seem that bold, articulate, respected
quote vv. 8b-10 (NIV 1984) “genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”
As with so many other elements of life, reality isn’t what it seems. And in this case it isn’t what it seems because God in Christ has himself become our substitute. Jesus has taken our place. In the words of the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us” (NIV 1984).
If Jesus is the sinner, then what am I? All of a sudden I’m God’s righteousness. He takes the shame, I take the glory. He takes the death, I get the life. He is rejected and obscure, but we his people are accepted and noteworthy. He takes the sorrow, we get the rejoicing. He becomes poor, we are rich in him. He possesses nothing but he gives all things to us. Jesus becomes sin for us and we become the righteousness of God.
If we think about it then, what many people have always done with that cross of ashes is kind of backwards. We put it on very purposely before confession and absolution this evening. We confessed to our Lord in ashes. Many people leave the ashes on for the rest of the day. But what has Jesus promised? What does Jesus do in absolution? What does Jesus do as he delivers his Word to us? What does Jesus do in the sacrament? He forgives us. He purifies us. He cleanses us. It might be more appropriate if we came to church with ashes on us and we presented ourselves for communion and the pastor wiped them off. That’s what Jesus is doing. He makes us the righteousness of God.
How will we receive him in these 40 days of Lent?
Jesus, the one who knew no sin became sin for us.
Jesus calls us to pray and do works of righteousness quietly.
Jesus calls us to look to him in secret and receive our reward.