3rd Wednesday of Lent
In the name of Jesus, the Shepherd who died for sheep that loved to wander, friends in Christ, (read text)
“It’s just not fair!! She got more ice cream than me! It’s not fair he got to play with toy longer than me! It’s not fair, the ref made a bad call! It’s not fair that she gets to go out with him! It’s not fair, I deserve the promotion way more than him! It’s not fair that they get the new car and the new house and the new boat and I can barely scrape by. It’s not fair that bad guys always seem to win while the good guys lose and suffer. Where is the fairness? Where is justice? Where’s the rightness? Why doesn’t God do something?
Heard those things before? Said those things before? Thought those things before? Why isn’t life fair? Asking those questions leads to just a small step towards this one: Where is a good God when there’s so much injustice in the world? Why isn’t God fair? Well, let’s think about that for a little bit. God is totally holy and totally perfect. He rightly hates sin and everything that fails to meet His standard of perfection. He rightly expects every human being, every one of His creatures to be holy as He is holy and anyone who fails to be holy deserves punishment, deserves eternal death. Who is holy? Only the one who praises God every moment of his or her life, constantly thinks about God, is always interested I the best interests of everyone else, putting himself second to everyone else all the time, never once has a bad thought, never looks down on someone else, never uses his or her words to tell lies or tear others down, but always uses his words to build others up, to praise God, to pray to Him all the time. Have you done that? Have I? Has anyone? To be fair God ought to punish each of us, send each and every one of us to hell forever. That’s fairness, that would be justice, that would be perfectly right. But is that what we want?
Instead what do we see? I mean, we complain about things not being “fair” in our lives. But really you can’t top this one. The ONLY innocent person who has ever walked the face of this earth, the ONLY one who could stand before God and say, “I deserve heaven for I’ve never sinned once,” the ONLY perfect person, and what happens? “But they kept shouting, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ ‘Why? What crimes has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand.” And what happens next? A murderer, an insurrectionist is pardoned and innocent one is condemned! You can’t have a greater injustice in life than this! This tops them all!
But let’s not point our fingers. The hymn writer was right: “Whence come these sorrows, whence this mortal anguish? It is MY sins for which you, Lord, must languish.” It was my sins and your sins that caused this great injustice. We are the sheep for whom the Shepherd must die. We are the servants for whom the Master must pay the debt! Finally, you and I, along with all of sinful humanity are guilty of causing the greatest injustice of world history.
But it is justice. God’s wrath against sin is satisfied not against you and me, but against His own Son. The Son of God dies in sadness so that you and I might live in gladness. By His commitment to die, we are acquitted! Sinners like you and me who deserve death eternal get life eternal as a gift! God’s justice against sin is satisfied in such a way that God lays open His heart of mercy, grace, and love for us humans! May we think upon His mercy without ceasing!
Where is justice? Where is fairness in the world? We don’t understand all of God’s ways. As creatures, we’re in no place to question our Creator and His ways. But think about this, a God who satisfies His justice in such a way as also being loving and merciful and gracious to His creatures, He is a God we can trust to be in control and do what is best no matter what.