Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Jesus Will Take Your Jersey

It's old news now.  But, the image stuck with me.

It's been over a year since Ray Rice, a running back for the Baltimore Ravens, was caught beating his fiance on a surveillance camera.  In response, the Ravens offered any one who owned an official Ray Rice Jersey the opportunity to exchange it for the jersey of another Ravens player, at no cost.

On September 19th of 2014 over 7,000 people showed up to trade in Rice's jersey.  Stories published about the event included photos of a line of people stretching out away from the stadium, with Ray Rice jerseys in hand.

It's that image I still think about today.  It's still with me a year later.

Thousands of people were willing to wait in line for hours, some arriving as early as 4 am to get their place in line.  They didn't want to wear the name Rice on their backs anymore.  His name was tarnished.  He was a man who had beaten a woman.  There was too much shame in that name, too much guilt, too much disgust.

Who would be willing to wear that name on their back?


That's the shocking good news of the gospel.  Jesus was willing to take the guilt of our sin and make it his own.  That's what 2 Corinthians 5:21 means when it says, "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

It's as if Jesus said give me the jersey with your name on it.  I'll wear the one that says Brooks - with all the guilt of your pride, jealousy, hatred, anger, lying, and selfishness.  I'll put that on my shoulders and I'll take the judgment from my Father that you deserve.

Imagine if the line at the stadium that day was filled with people wearing a jersey with their own name on it, representing all the guilt of all their past sins.  And, when they get to the front of the line, Jesus is there and he says, "Give me your jersey.  I'll bear the guilt and take the punishment you deserve."  Jersey after jersey after jersey - he puts them all on.  He puts on every single one, bearing all the sin and guilt of every name of every person who comes to him.

And, with each jersey he puts on his shoulders, he reaches into a box and gives out the cleanest, brightest, white jersey you've ever seen with the name JESUS stitched on the back.  He wears all the guilt of your name and you get to wear all the righteousness of his.  

That's the great exchange of the Gospel.  Jesus gets our sin, we get his perfect life.  Jesus endures the cross, we gain eternity full of joy in his presence.

1 comment:

Kim Brooks said...

I like this post about exchanging jerseys a lot. Easy to visualize and completely captures the truth of the Gospel. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. PS... your profile bio can now be changed to say "father of 5"!