I felt like I was watching a reality TV show unfold right before my very eyes. I found myself glued to the window as a young woman was handcuffed and patted down right on my very street.
I live near a busy road and have seen many police stops. But never in my life have I witnessed someone being arrested–until now. It was kind of addicting, watching this woman being hauled off to jail. I felt awful, but I couldn’t pry my eyes away. I have no idea what she’d done, and it really wasn’t any of my business.
So why couldn’t I stop watching?
Eventually I went on with the rest of my day as usual. And that’s when God reminded me of something.
With Easter weekend just fading off of the calendar, images of the cross and Jesus’ death and resurrection are still fresh in many of our minds. However, I think that a lot of us tend to forget that our Lord and Savior died the death of a lowly criminal.
And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified. (Matthew 27:28-31 NKJV)
Jesus was bruised, mocked, and beaten. He was stripped and humiliated. He was hung on the cross between two criminals.
Jesus took my place.
Jesus took your place.
Jesus took the place of the woman I’d seen being arrested.
Our God chose to die a lowly criminal’s death so we don’t have to. Even though we all mess up and sin, our eternity with God is secure if we believe in Jesus (Romans 10:9).
Watching that woman being arrested is a lot like the drama in our culture that most of us tend to feed off of. Things like reality TV, tabloids, and celebrity gossip. Can I get an amen, lovely reader?
As I started to ponder all of this, I wondered how I would have felt if I were in that woman’s place. Of course, I don’t know what she did, and I am thankful for our justice system for keeping us safe. But I wondered how humiliating it must have been for even a guilty person to be arrested in broad daylight in the middle of a quiet suburb.
And then I wondered how awful it must have been for our sinless and perfect Jesus to go through some of the roughest torture a prisoner could go through. I’m telling you, experiencing God’s selfless love will change your perspective on humanity.
Though I am far from perfect, I am gratefully covered by God’s grace and freedom. And I want to extend this grace to all human beings, and sometimes this means putting my lust for entertainment aside in order to give a person going through a rough time their dignity.
We all tend to go about our lives, unaware or unsympathetic toward those who are lost and broken. But Jesus is always in the midst of these messy people, calling them His beloved children. And you know what? I’m so thankful God gets into the middle of my messy life to call me His daughter.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:3-4 NIV)
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