Summary: What implications does Jesus’ death on the Cross have for my lifestyle?
What implications does Jesus’ death on the Cross have for my lifestyle
2 Cor. 5:20-6:10
Story: A Korean Pastor told me this story many years years ago, when he came to Switzerland.
In the 4th century AD in Korea a man had two sons.
The elder rose to become Chief Justice in the land and the younger became an infamous bandit.
The elder brother loved his younger brother but was unable to persuade him to change his ways.
Eventually the younger son was caught and brought to Court before his brother, the Chief Justice.
Everyone in the courtroom thought it would be a stitch up and that the younger brother would get off - because it was well known that the Chief Justice loved his younger brother.
But at then end of the trial, the Chief Justice sentenced his brother to the mandatory sentence for murder - death.
People gasped int e courtroom
On the day of the execution, the elder brother came to the prison and said to his brother “Let’s swap places”.
The younger brother agreed - thinking that once they realised that it was the elder brother, the execution would not go forward.
So he went up on the hill overlooking the prison to watch proceedings.
His brother was brought out at dawn and to his horror executed.
Filled with remorse, the younger brother ran down the hill. Hehammered on the gates of the prison, told the guards his name and that he was the criminal who should have been executed.
The guards however replied:
“There is no sentence outstanding on anyone with that name”
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent when we prepare for the Church’s most important festival – Easter
It is a time for reflection and prayer
And I was intrigued by the epistle reading set for today: 2 Cor 5:20—6:10.
In it, Paul tells us that - in the same way as there was no longer any sentence outstanding against the younger brother – so it is with us.
In God’s sight - because to the death of Jesus, there is no sentence outstanding. As St Paul puts it so succtinctly:
21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
But St Paul tells us that there is a responsibility to being a Christian.
The key to the Christian lifestyle can be found in a short verse in Gal 2: verse 20, where Paul writes:
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Story: There is an ancient legend about Jesus’ ascension into heaven.
He is met by the angel Gabriel who asks him, "Now that your work is finished, what plans have you made to insure that the truth that you brought to earth will spread throughout the world?"
Jesus answered, "I have called some fishermen and tax-collectors to walk along with me as I did my Father’s will."
"Yes, I know about them," said Gabriel, "but what other plans have you made? "
Jesus replied, "I taught Peter, James and John about the kingdom of God; I taught Thomas about faith; and all of them were with me as I healed and preached to the multitudes."
Gabriel replied. "But you know how unreliable that lot was. Surely you must have other plans to make sure your work was not in vain."
Jesus quietly replied to Gabriel "I have no other plans. I am depending on them!! "
If we receive the gift of God which is the consequence of Good Friday and Easter Sunday for ourselves – we will be changed people. St Paul put it like this:
17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
We are called to promote the Kingdom of God.
Every Christian has a ministry
Sometimes, like Paul we are called to minister and there was a cost to it.
St Paul had to endure much:
In 2 Corinthians 11 we read some of the hardships Paul went through for the Gospel – so that you and me can sit here in church today – worshipping God. Paul writes:
I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.
24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.
25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,
26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.