From Pastor Brady
On Sunday morning we looked at Mark 1:40-2:17. We continue to look more and more closely at the life of Jesus- his physical life here on earth. For us as Christians this is quite important because it informs how we see Jesus’ spiritual life being lived out inside of us. Did you know that you have the life of Jesus living in and through you?
Galatians 2:20 is one of my favorite verses. It says that we live by faith in the Christ who lives through us. In Mark’s gospel, a leper had faith that he could be healed. A cripple had faith that he could be healed and forgiven. They had faith in a promised Messiah with the power of God that could heal them and forgive them.
We are asked to have faith in the indwelling life of Christ. But what was Christ’s life like. What kind of life does he live through us? On Sunday we stressed two aspects of Christ’s life that are seen In Mark’s gospel but that also should be seen in our lives: Incarnation and Substitution.
I received an email after the sermon asking how we can substitute for someone else. Isn’t that something only Jesus can do? This is a great question.
When it comes to substituting for our sins as a perfect sacrifice, of course, only Jesus can do that. He alone is perfect. But Christ has given us his righteousness- his perfection. Knowing that I am judged as perfect (justified) and seated next to Christ (glorified) empowers me to be able to live a life of substitution for others as a picture of Christ’s ultimate substitution for them.
One of the most important ways that we substitute for each other is in forgiveness. As we’ve said a few times, when we forgive, someone is still paying the debt. Each time you forgive someone you have taken, as a substitute, their debt upon yourself. You have agreed to feel the pain of the insult, or pay the damage for the broken window, or having to do the hard work or restoring your reputation.
Another way we can substitute for each other is by bearing a burden (Gal. 6:2). When we come alongside another person and do for them what they could never do for themselves, we fulfill the “Law of Christ.” We reflect Christ in those moments- the substitution of Christ. Jesus did for us what we could never do. Often in life someone is stuck. They will never figure it out on their own, without help. Maybe it is grief. Or addiction. Or depression. Or an actual task, like helping someone fix a car who would never be able to do it without help.
One more way we can substitute for others is through empathy. On Sunday I mentioned the example of not telling a young mom with a crying baby to take her baby out of church. That kind of reaction is not substitution. It is selfishness. Why? Because you are doing what is best for yourself, the thing that makes you most comfortable, rather than empathizing with her and lending a hand or simply being quiet about it and not making that mom feel bad. You are substituting when you are taking the discomfort upon yourself and protecting her from having more discomfort in that moment. You are substituting like Christ who said “let the children come to me,” when the disciples were uncomfortable.
What are some other ways you can think of that we could substitute like Christ for each other?