Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 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 5:20-21
There are many Christians who don't know any English history, but still know the name of James I.
That's because James I is the fellow who was responsible for the translation of the Bible that bears his name. If he had done nothing else, for this reason alone, King James would be remembered. But James I is remembered for other reasons too. James, you see, was a double monarch. Not only was he James I of England, he was also James the VI of Scotland.
Wearing two crowns could easily go to a person's head. It certainly could if you believed, as James did, that the Lord had put you on the throne. Now, that's okay for the most part. But, where James' logic took him ... that's where the ice gets thin. James figured if God is behind me, then He is also behind my decisions. If God is behind my decisions, then if somebody doesn't like me or what I've done or what I've said or the laws I've enacted, then they're really not criticizing me, they're criticizing God. To criticize God is a very bad thing, indeed.
Now, that kind of thinking didn't make James the most popular kid on the block.
Because of this "divine right of kings" thing, James was disliked by a lot of common folk. I'm sure he was disliked by William Murray. Let me explain a bit about William Murray. James figured if God was behind him, God was also behind his son, Charles, which brought about a problem.
James didn't want his son to be a spoiled brat, but he also didn't want his son being spanked by some commoner. That's where William Murray came in. William was Charles' whipping boy. When Prince Charles got overly silly, sassy or lazy, William got punished. Then, when the punishment was over, the disciplinarian turned from William to Charles and asked, "Now, don't you feel bad?"
I don't know how Charles felt, but I imagine William Murray thought the whole thing pretty unjust.
What whipping boy wouldn't feel that way?
Actually, I know of one: Jesus Christ.
You see, Jesus Christ was our whipping boy. He is God's Son who was punished for our transgressions, who had to fulfill the Law for us, who gave His life upon the cross so we might be saved.
Yes, Jesus gave Himself so we might be forgiven of our sins and become not just better people, but God's redeemed people. And, amazingly, Jesus did it without complaining.
Go ahead, read the Gospels. Never will you hear Jesus gripe about how unfair His situation was. Yes, He did pray that if it were possible the cup of suffering might pass from Him, but that is hardly the same as accusing the Heavenly Father of being unfair.
Now, Jesus did what He did, He suffered and died as He did, so we might be forgiven, so we might be better. The question is -- are we? Are we better? I pray that each of us can answer that question and say, "Because of Jesus I have been changed. My thoughts, my speech, my actions are different because I have seen my whipping boy suffer for me.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that Jesus gave Himself for me. May my life be lived in appreciation of His suffering and sacrifice. This I ask in His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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