But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 (emphasis added)
"Does she or doesn't she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure."
Some of the Daily Devotion readers might remember that famous line from the Breck hair color commercials of years gone by. (It really is Clairol, not Breck. -- Pastor Klaus' proofreader, Rose)
Right now, in Washington, they are asking a different question. People want to know this: "Will he, or won't he?" The answer to that question is only the president knows for sure.
The question is motivated by the fact that, according to Article II, section 2 of the Constitution, the president can pardon just about anybody he wants to pardon.
Think about that for a moment. Almost any criminal, for just about any crime, can be set free by the president. It's the kind of thing that can give a prisoner hope and make victims of that prisoner's crimes cringe.
Now, past presidents have generally been discriminating in awarding a pardon -- still they have been given a great deal of power.
As I thought about the power to set someone free, I thought of the pardon the Lord has given to me. For all my sins -- transgressions of thought, word, and deed -- I have been given forgiveness.
But there is a difference between a presidential pardon and the forgiveness God gives. No president has gone to jail for the crime of another; no child of a president has ever been beaten, or spit upon, or crowned with thorns, so another might be released.
It would be too unfair for an innocent person to be punished for the guilty.
Still, that is the unfairness our Savior endured to grant us pardon from our sins. Isaiah understood when he wrote, Jesus "was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed."
I don't know who, if anyone, will receive a pardon from the president, but I am most thankful that I have, because of Jesus, been pardoned of my sinful past.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, for having suffered the punishment, pain, and death, which my sins deserved, I owe You undying gratitude. During this Advent season of repentance, may I truly be sorrowful for my sin and grateful for Your suffering. In Your Name. Amen.
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In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries