Numbered With The Transgressors
Open Your Bible
Luke 23:32-33, Luke 23:39-43, Mark 15:27-32, Isaiah 53:12
Text: Luke 23:32-33, 39-43, Mark 15:27-32, Isaiah 53:12
It’s become a standard part of my day now. Every afternoon, around 5:15, I take my place in the slow-moving right hand lane of I-65 North, and I repent.
The She Reads Truth office is a solid 50-minute drive from my house in light traffic, so on the way home it’s a totally different monster. There’s a section of road on 65 North, a mile or so preceding the exits to the 440 bypass, where I am daily and rather begrudgingly reminded I’m a sinner. It’s like God gives me a glimpse, via Nashville’s going-home traffic, of the filthy soot of sin that lines the edges of my heart like a chimney. I’m a new woman in Christ, God’s Word says (2 Cor. 5:17), but there’s still plenty of the “old woman” tendencies sticking around to cause a ruckus.
It’s not a road rage thing; it’s much more subtle for me. I sit in my white minivan, with my satellite radio and calm demeanor, letting the occasional driver from the lane left of mine squeeze in front of me. And in my head, I silently make two lists of people: the Nice Ones, those who get into the far right lane as early as possible to wait their turn for the I-440 East on-ramp, and the Rotten Ones, who take advantage of the lighter traffic in the left lanes to speed by us patient, orderly folk and then dart over in front of us at the last possible minute. I give an annoyed grumble and say condescending things to them in my head, while secretly wondering how much time this strategy shaves off their commute.
And there’s the rub: I sin when I judge the Rotten Ones and think myself better than them. And I sin when I stay in the left lane longer than I ought, playing innocent when I’m the one needing to sneak a notch or two to the right. I sin when I’m convinced my schedule is more important than theirs, that these hundreds of humans traveling the interstate are just characters in my story instead of their own.
I’m a sinner. A sinner who has a LOT of time to think on her drive home from work.
We do this, don’t we? We organize people into lists in our head—who’s kind and who’s not, who’s selfless and who’s selfish, who’s a hard worker and who’s lazy, who we’d like to hang out with and who we’d like to avoid.
When it comes to who among us is entitled to God’s love, we’re all on the Not Worthy list.
The Worthy list is made up of only one name: Jesus.
And it would stay this way forever, were it not for the Cross.
The Cross is the sacred place where Jesus—Son of God, Worthy Lamb, the Sinless One—is “numbered with the transgressors.” He is placed on the list of those deserving God’s holy wrath, taking the death due their sin— our sin. Christ becomes our substitute, exchanging His righteousness for our sinfulness.
Because of Jesus—and only Jesus—we are forgiven, our unworthiness erased. Because of Him, we have have been made worthy, our names permanently placed on the list of those held forever close to our holy, loving God, never again to be separated from Him.
Whether you’ve been in the lane of faith and repentance for miles or you squeezed over at the last minute, God’s grace is effective for you.
You, daughter of God who puts her trust in Jesus—your name is on the Worthy list. And it cannot, will not be erased.
“Who can be afraid of one who is written in the same list with us? Surely we may come boldly to Him, and confess our guilt. He who is numbered with us cannot condemn us. Was He not put down in the transgressor’s list that we might be written in the red roll of the saints? He was holy, and written among the holy; we were guilty, and numbered among the guilty; He transfers His name from yonder list to this black indictment, and our names are taken from the indictment and written in the roll of acceptance, for there is a complete transfer made between Jesus and His people. All our estate of misery and sin Jesus has taken; and all that Jesus has comes to us.”
– C.H. Spurgeon