"Criticisms and Compliments"
October 22, 2014
For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
Well, Columbus Day, which is the second Monday in October, has come and gone.
The explorer did not escape the celebration with his name unscathed or untarnished. This year the Seattle School Board agreed that while Columbus Day is a federal holiday they were obligated to have their own celebration, a celebration they call, "Indigenous Peoples' Day."
The resolution, at least in part, said, the board "recognizes the fact that Seattle is built upon the homelands and villages of the Indigenous Peoples ...." It also said the board has a "responsibility to oppose the systematic racism toward indigenous people in the United States which perpetuates high rates of poverty ...."
I could not discover if the board was willing to help reduce the poverty of the indigenous people upon whose land Seattle was built by paying them for the property which had been taken.
Now I would not have you think that Columbus is completely unappreciated in Seattle. Last month at a city council committee meeting, Italian Americans expressed their concerns about Columbus Day being replaced.
So there you have it, my friends.
Depending on who you ask, Columbus was a brigand, a pirate, a perpetrator of genocide, and a slaver -- or -- he is an intrepid explorer, a discoverer, a man who wished to bring lost souls to Jesus. Looking at him, Columbus is either a sinner or he is a saint.
The same could be said about each of us, since all of us do good things and we do bad things.
All of us, that is, except for the Savior. Because Jesus is God, He was perfect, and as the passage above tells us, He committed no sin. On the other hand, He carried all of ours. He took our trespasses to the cross and destroyed their penalties, even as He fulfilled God's laws and ancient prophecies, which had told how He would die.
Yes, Jesus was, is, and always will be perfect.
That doesn't mean this evil world will appreciate or applaud Him. It never has, it never will. When Jesus walked among us, He was labeled a Samaritan, a partyer, a devil. Today His teachings and work are contested, criticized and vilified. And what are the bad things people say about Jesus? Two thousand years ago they said, "This man receives and eats with sinners" (see Luke 15:2). Today they say Jesus is a "crutch for those who cannot stand on their own."
Amazingly, both criticisms are correct. Yes, Jesus did receive sinners and He does support those who recognize they are lost without Him. Yes, Jesus' critics are right in what they say, and all believers say, "Thank God they are right for if Jesus didn't seek and save sinners, how would we be saved?"
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I give thanks You have suffered to save sinners such as myself. May the world realize that, in this regard, their criticism is accurate and they are really paying you a compliment. For all You have done for me, You have my everlasting thanks. In Your Name I pray it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries