In the movie Tristan & Isolde, set in the Middle Ages where the Brits and Irish hate one another, the assumed dead son of an English king floats ashore an Irish beach. The daughter of the Irish king happens to stumble upon the boat and sees a man inside the boat. She checks the man’s pulse and finds that he is still alive, but freezing. She moves the man into a small hut near the beach and she removes her clothes in order to provide warmth from her body to the near dead, unconscious, and freezing English body (James Franco). She instructs her servant to do the same. After she finds that the man has been poisoned, knowing how to cure this poison, she helps to bring him back to good health and the man completely recovers from his being poisoned and the cold temperatures at sea.
I couldn’t help but notice the similarities to the atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ in this story.
How often we hear about stories of people who have been saved from pneumonia or who have been nearly frozen, but have been saved by the transfer of body heat of another.
What purpose would someone have in trying to save a person they hate, who is near death, and who could likely put them in a position to be killed?
That is what was going on in this story with Isolde, the daughter of the Irish king who found Tristan, the adopted son of an English ruler. The Irish hated the English and the English hated the Irish. This man who floated ashore in Ireland was near death already and freezing. Helping someone who was an enemy of the country was to commit an act of treason, but Isolde was willing to take that chance. She was willing to make that sacrifice of making Tristan’s illness her illness. She was willing to become an enemy to the world for the sake of loving someone she should hate. She was willing to take the risk of dying upon herself in order that Tristan might live.
Isolde’s warmth was transferred to Tristan so that he might be warm and live. Similarly, Christ’s righteousness is transferred to those who are saved by grace through faith in him in order that we might no longer be slaves unto death, but alive unto Christ.
Christ has taken our illness, sin, upon himself even though he is perfect and sinless. Christ has loved those he could justifiably hate considering those who sin are enemies of God and are children of wrath, not of grace. Christ not only took the risk of dying so that others might live, but Christ humbly and obediently went to the cross, suffered, and actually died. Then, on the third day Jesus was raised from the dead because death could not hold him. How much greater is our Lord who has victory over death in the resurrection! How much greater are the promises of God if the one who has already overcome death promises everlasting life to those who truly believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ and obey the commands of our Lord! His victory is our victory as Christians.
Jesus who knew no sin became sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).
Jesus has already paid the penalty of our sins, however, not all are granted entrance into the narrow gate. Some hear this message and rejoice because they are already Christians/believers. Some hear this message and repent and believe thus, becoming Christians/believers. Yet, others hear this message and are not moved to rejoice because they think they have already gained entrance into the new Kingdom. There are some others who hear this message and do not care about the sacrificial, substitutionary death of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, who has died for their sins. There are others still who hear this message of the great work of reconciliation through Jesus Christ and will not believe.
I do not often do this, especially on a blog, but I do encourage you who are reading this to search your hearts. God has sent his son into this world to pay the penalty of all sin past, present, and future; that means all oppression, injustice, suffering, and evil still exist until Jesus returns for his complete victory though the initial victory is over sin beginning in our hearts – changing and renewing them. God promises to send his Spirit into the hearts of those who would believe in him to have fellowship with him because those who believe are not alone. A great encouragement to those of the faith are the promises of God because of who God is (faithful, steadfast, righteous, good, loving, etc…) and what he has done (created the heavens and the earth, released his people from Egypt through Moses, brought Abraham and Sarah a son when they were well beyond the normal years of children and all hope seemed lost, brought Joseph from persecution to slavery to ruling in Egypt, brought Israel from slavery to the promised land and granted them a king of their own, and despite all of Israel’s unfaithfulness God provided deliverance throughout their history).
I mentioned before that I do not often do this, but God provides deliverance for you in his son Jesus Christ who is both God and man. This deliverance is not one from financial debt, social prosperity, nor from physical bodily ailments, but is a real deliverance from permanent spiritual debt, for the eternal prosperity of a God who saves, and from spiritual ailments such as sin, guilt, and shame. I pray that you will rejoice in the power of the cross of Christ and that if you have not a reason to rejoice in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that you will search your hearts and find a church near you where you can discuss these things with a local pastor/priest because the Truth is that there is great cause to rejoice in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ is the Truth. It is by this Truth that we are able to love God and others more fully without selfish motivations and in so doing, take on the infirmities of others as Christ has taken on our infirmities himself.
Take heart, for Jesus Christ is our righteousness and apart from him you can truly do nothing. Amen.