I sat and listened to a dear friend yesterday, and it was almost as if the thought that has been blossoming that entire day had a place in what she had to say, and later on after it came out of my mouth. I want to talk about how Christ is a replacement for us, and we for him.
Do you remember the parable of the Prodigal son? Where a father welcomes home his son who was long lost with a feast and banquet? The king calls us home, but if Christ hadn’t switched his destiny for ours and ours for his, the story wouldn’t end that way. As a Church, we emphasize how Christ died for us and redeemed us, but to do that, he actually gifted us his own destiny.
Think about it. He was the Son of God, part of who God is, destined forever to sit at God’s right hand in perfect unity with the Holy Spirit for all of time. When Christ came down to earth, he did it to offer a gift which was his own life, both mortal and eternal. He took our weakness, giving us the cloak of his strength. He gave us his dignity and noble spirit, while his body was broken for us. All the gifts that we recieve were once part of Jesus. His glorious and upright character. His forgiveness, and humility. He took our fear, physical illness, spiritual paralysis, and gave us all healing and peace to put on. Raising us up, he allowed us to slander him, break him, bereave his character. And yet his very life was always ensured to be a gift. Every ounce of perfection sacrificed and traded for us, including his perfect, spiritual access to what is healing. There is nothing held back from us, so long as we ask for us. Like the best of all star baseball players, traded for us. Thw essence of who he is is sacrifice and a love greater than oneself, because he retained nothing of himself in order that we could inherit all that we are (under grace). Absolute rejection to absolute provision. All because part of God died.
He lives on in us, and will return. But for the time being, who he is lives in us, as his physical body on the earth (the Church). Can you imagine absolute and complete ransom? He kept nothing to himself.
So here he is, our Great Replacement. He took our destiny, but what did we recieve?
We recieved forgiveness. His holy character and perfection through the Holy Spirit and grace. Restoration. The consolation of God. Eternity. Peace. Life. Perfect love. And new life, whose name is freedom. We recieved all that the Son would recieve in his homecoming. He took our place in order to give us his. Like sharing your cookies and being granted more and more and more until you have enough to share with all of us (ie the baskets of bread loaves and fish; what do you think that was about??). We recieve more provision every time we give more away in his spirit, otherwise missionaries wouldn’t have a way to exist. Because he gave everything, we want for nothing.
He encourages us to rely on him and his spirit in the face of men. He tells the apostles to only eat what they are given and take refuge with those who will welcome them. Good news is recieved in places that care to hear it, and his messengers are taken care of out of the abundance of his grace and the spirit of passion and fervor people have to support the gospel. That’s it. But it is and it continues on among us, because God provides.
He loves us, and he knows how to give good gifts. We recieve his destiny as all of himself as a bloodied sacrifice, to rewrite and complete all of history. All our existence has ever been was a love story. Made and saved only to demonstrate the perfect depths from which God loves us.