This week’s theme has been about freedom, specifically freedom from sin, the past, and society’s standards to just name a few. However, how often do we think about the price of that freedom?
I was reading a passage from Deuteronomy 5 this week. Most of the chapter is Moses teaching the Law to the new generation of Israelites who have been wandering in the wilderness. When it gets to verses 24-27, the perspective switches from God’s to the people’s perspective:
And you said, ‘Behold, the Lord our God has shown us His glory and greatness, and we have heard His voice out of the midst of the fire. This day we have seen God speak with man, and man still live. Now therefore why should we die? For this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of fire as we have, and has still lived? Go near and hear all that the Lord our God will say, and speak to us all that the Lord our God will speak to you, and we will hear and do it.’
I felt like during the years of wandering in the wilderness, Israel mainly knew how to grumble and complain. When I first read that passage, I just wanted to shout for joy because the people of Israel were doing something right for once. They were actually seeing God for who He really was and actually wanted to listen and obey Him! Then I read verse 29, and it just broke my heart:
Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear Me and to keep all My commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!
Even as God spoke those words, He knew. God knew that His people would constantly cheat on Him, run away from Him, and conveniently return when they needed Him. He knew the same exact thing about me. The most horrifying realization is that all those things don’t even COMPARE to the next passage:
And the soldiers led Him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion.And they clothed Him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on Him. And they began to salute Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they were striking His head with a reed and spitting on Him and kneeling down in homage to Him. And when they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the purple cloak and put His own clothes on Him. And they led Him out to crucify Him. Mark 15:16-20
If you have a chance, read Deuteronomy 5 and Mark 15 back to back. When I did, I was just completely floored. The sheer contrast between the two chapters is still beyond my comprehension. In one time and place, God was being glorified because His creation recognized who He was. Then in another time and place, the Son of God was shamed, abused, and spit on.
This small mind of mine just can’t get past that disgusting and horrifying scene. Even though God spoke to His people of the Law that would ultimately condemn them, the people still revered and obeyed Him. When He stepped down into humanity to rescue us from the condemnation of sin and death, the people stripped Him and treated the King of kings no better than a criminal. How messed up are we?
In order to free us, He allowed Himself to be captured and killed. In order to pay our ransom and release the chains that held us captive, Christ paid the price with His life. These familiar lyrics come to mind, “Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe.” Do you understand the gravity of that? Freedom is one of many pleasures that we get to experience thanks to Jesus. Don’t let it go to waste.