Christ, who is God over all, forever praised. ~ Romans 9:5 (NIV)
Writer Allan Peterson tells the story of a man looking back on his childhood. The story goes something like this. When the man was a boy, he’d fallen into the bad habit of being late for his family’s evening meal. One day his mother warned him yet again not to be late. But once again the boy was careless and ignored the time. When he finally got home, his parents were sitting at the table waiting for him. His mother had prepared one of his favorite meals. His father’s plate was full, and it looked as though he was about to dive in with his knife and fork.
Then the boy looked at his own plate. There on his plate was a piece of dry, un-buttered bread. The boy teared up, swallowed hard, and sat down in front of the meal he knew he deserved.
Then the father did something the boy would never forget. He silently took the boy’s plate and replaced it with his own. Then, with no one saying a word, the boy watched as his father carefully ate the one piece of bread.
Years later, that boy, now a man, said this: “All my life I’ve known what God is like by what my father did that night.”
You and I deserve a meal far worse than a dry piece of bread. For all of the times you and I have conveniently forgotten God and his will for our lives, we deserve to choke down the bitter plate of abandonment, despair, death and hell. But in the Person of Jesus Christ, God quietly took the plate we deserved and replaced it with his own. Then, at the cross, he swallowed the horror on our plate, piece by piece, until our plate was clean.
And because he did, you and I now have before us a plate of forgiveness, peace, joy, heaven.
The boy never forgot what his father had done. You and I will never forget what our God has done. Christ, who is God over all, is forever praised.
Dear Jesus, you took away the plate of my punishment and replaced it with a meal of sweet forgiveness. Move me never to forget what you have done. Amen.