Monday, July 21, 2008

I John 4:10

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (KJV)

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (NIV)

I have been a substitute teacher for four years now, since I retired from being a public school teacher. During the last few months of the year and usually around Christmas, are when I get the most requests to substitute. I like to think I do a good job, and that is why they call me back so often. But I know that in most people’s minds, the substitute is usually very inferior to the regular teacher. I know I often thought that way when I was teaching and had to get a substitute.

So what does being a substitute have to do with our verse for this week? As a teenager, I had trouble understanding the big word “propitiation” in this verse. I was told that it meant “substitute.” Jesus was our substitute and took the penalty for us. That seemed to make sense for me at the time, but now I realize that “substitute” is not a strong enough word. Jesus did indeed take our place on that cross, but we could have never paid the penalty in full for ourselves – only Jesus could do that. He is more than an excellent substitute. He is our Master Teacher and our Lord and Saviour. He is our Rescuer! Our Redeemer!

Jesus is our Rescuer because he loves us. He wants us to be with Him in Paradise. That wasn’t going to happen unless the perfect Son of God became a human man and took the punishment each of us deserved. Yes, he was a kind of substitute, but more than that. Thank you Jesus for dying in my place, so I could live with you in eternity!

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