When Jesus came down, He said, “You know what? I’m God! I can tell people how to live.” But He knew He needed to do more than that. He knew that when it comes to human beings, it’s not enough to tell us how to live. We need to be shown.
The first time God told us how to live, the result was chaos. That was Old Testament. He gave the people the Ten Commandments, and those commandments said, “This is how you’re supposed to live.” The law said, “These things are sins,” and God included instructions for giving offerings to atone for sin. And what happened? God ended up saying, “Man! You guys give offerings on these days for these sins, and then once you give that offering, you go out and do the same thing again! And I know why you do that. It’s because later, all you’re going to do is give another offering, and you’ll be fine.”
David talked about this in the Psalms.
O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:15-17
David tells God, “You don’t care about offerings. You care about the heart. You care about the heart of man.” And the heart of man was being corrupted because we had no purpose. God told us what to do, but He didn’t show us. And since we weren’t shown, we didn’t necessarily see how positive it is to do loving and sacrificial things for other people.
Then Jesus came down, and He said, “I’m going to show them how to live.” Now Jesus had tons of people around Him. The Bible calls them sinners, but I think what happened is that people who didn’t believe in God just loved to hang out with Jesus. And people who were living in sin loved to hang out with Him. They loved to be around Him because they saw how He forgave people. They saw how He loved people. And they said, “Man, it is so fulfilling to be around this guy!”
Time with Jesus helped them see that there had been an emptiness inside of them that didn’t make sense. They were drowning that emptiness in sin, but they continued to go further and further down. “But when I’m with this guy,” they said, “I feel normal. With this guy, I feel fulfilled. Now I understand the life I should be living.”
And Jesus heard that and said, “Yes, that’s why I’m here. I’m not only here to die for you. I want to show you how to live. And once I show you how to live, I’m going to redeem you and give you a second chance.”
That’s what He did when He died. More on this next time. See you Wednesday.