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Death of Jesus absorbed sins of man

The story is told of Franciszek Gajowniczek who was a Nazi prisoner in Auschwitz when a fellow inmate escaped. The standard discipline when anyone escaped was to select 10 men at random and place them in a cell where they were left to starve to death.

When Gajowniczek heard his name read, he sobbed, “My wife and my children!”

At that moment, a Franciscan priest and fellow inmate named Koble stepped forward and said, “I will die in his place. I have no wife or children.” The camp commandant granted his request.

Since that time, Gajowniczek has gone back every year to Auschwitz on Aug. 14 to remember the man who died for him that day in 1941. And in his yard, he has placed a plaque to honor this priest and to remind others of his great sacrifice.

That story is a close example of what Jesus did for us, He died in our place for sins He did not commit.

The Bible tells us in 1 John 2:1-2: “If anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Webster’s Dictionary defines the word ‘propitiation’ as “appeasement; avoiding divine retribution.” That concept is hard for some folks to understand (it took me a long time to fully grasp it). But then I came across something that helped put it in perspective for me.

On NASA’s space shuttle, there is a heat shield that some call the propitiation shield.

Why is a propitiation shield necessary? Because when the shuttle re-enters the earth’s atmosphere, it hits a temperature of 3,000 degrees F. In comparison, water boils at 212 degrees F!

The shield absorbs everything that’s harmful, deflecting the blast so that the astronauts inside the space shuttle are saved from certain death.

Likewise, Jesus absorbed the judgment of God and every bad thing that would have killed you, so you can live!

Paul Lee Tan illustrated this point beautifully when he told the story of an old corner house known as “The House of a Thousand Terrors.” The house stood for many years in the marketplace of Rotterdam, Holland.

During the sixteenth century, the Dutch people rose in revolt against the cruel King Philip II of Spain.

The king sent a great army under the Duke of Alva to suppress the rebellion. Rotterdam held out for a long time but finally capitulated.

From house to house the victors went, searching out citizens and then killing them in their homes. A group of men, women, and children were hiding in a corner house when they heard soldiers approaching.

A thousand terrors gripped their hearts.

A young man had an idea, he took a goat in the house, killed it, and with a broom swept the blood under the doorway out into the street.

The soldiers reached the house and began to batter down the door. Noticing the blood coming out from under the door, the soldier said, “Come away, the work is already done. Look at the blood beneath the door.” Thus, the people inside the house escaped.

Similarly, Jesus Christ did the same for us.

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 9:12, “Not by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”

In other words, when a person commits their life to Jesus Christ every sin, shame and mistake is forgiven because He died on the cross in their place.

On judgment day, God will look at that person and, instead of seeing sin, He will only see the blood of Christ. He will say, “The work is already done,” and that person will escape judgment!

Salvation is free and redemption is yours for the asking. All you have to do is trust in the Propitiator!

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia