God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Have I got a deal for you.
Give me your gold, and I will give you some iron.
Any takers? I thought not. Still, history records a moment when people did exactly that.
The time was the 19th century and the Prussian ruler, Frederick William III, was at war. It was a war that was difficult to sustain since his treasury was empty, and there were no resources available to replenish the empty coffers.
After careful thought the monarch decided to approach the women of his country and ask them to bring their gold and silver jewelry to be melted down, so it could be made into money. Frederick also resolved that for each gold or silver ornament given, he would present the donor with a bronze or iron decoration, as a token of his gratitude. Each decoration would bear the inscription, "I gave gold for iron, 1813."
The response was overwhelming. It is a matter of history that it became unfashionable for women to wear any other ornament other than a cross of iron. That instance being noted, I can't think of any other time when people have traded their valuable gold for worthless iron.
Of course, history notes a trade that was even more unbelievable.
That trade took place when God showed His love for us in sending His perfect Son into this world to take our place under the Law, resist all temptation, and die the death our transgressions had earned. As I said, it was an unbelievable thing for God to do.
In sending Jesus to become one of us, the Lord traded the Innocent for the guilty; the Perfect for the flawed; the Free for the condemned; the Son for the out-of-favor servant. It was something you and I would never consider doing. Even so, while we were yet sinners, that is what God did.
One would think humanity would be most appreciative for this unprecedented act of charity. One might think it, but one would be wrong.
Rather than applauding and accepting God's Son, humankind hated Him, tried Him, beat Him, whipped Him, mocked Him, and murdered Him.
For God's Son -- a Gift more precious than gold -- humankind offered a cross of wood. Still, in spite of our mistreatment of His generous Gift, God used Jesus' life, death and resurrection to rescue and redeem us. Now, because of what Jesus has done, all who have Holy Spirit-given faith in Him are saved.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, You traded Your Son for sinners. I give thanks You did what I would never think of doing. Now, may I show my appreciation for Your gracious generosity. In Jesus' Name I ask for this living faith. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries