I recently was invited to travel to Kansas City and preach the chapel service at Midwestern Seminary (MBTS). I enjoyed the day there and the time spent visiting with President Jason Allen about the important role MBTS plays in the theological education and training of many Oklahoma Baptists’ ministers. I am grateful for our ministry partnership.
On this trip, I arrived to my hotel the night before I preached in chapel. I got settled in my room and sat down to read and think through some biblical texts for an upcoming message/lecture I have been asked to give on the great cost and sufficiency of Christ’s substitutionary atonement.
Some of these texts include Isa. 53:1-12, 1 Cor. 6:20, 2 Cor. 5:21, Gal. 4:4-5, Phil. 2:5-8, and 1 Pet. 3:18, which speak to God’s providential timing and incalculable cost of sending His Son to be the sacrifice for our sin. As I was working through these texts, I took a break to make sure I had everything ready for chapel in the morning when I made a terrible discovery. I had brought from home my suit, shoes, belt, and tie—but I forgot to bring a dress shirt. I couldn’t believe my oversight!
I looked at the time, and it was 10:30 p.m. I found a store that was open until 11, a few minutes away from the hotel and hustled over there. Fortunately, I found a white dress shirt. It was inexpensive and didn’t fit me very well, but it would serve as a substitute to get me through one day. I brought the shirt back to my hotel room, and as I was ironing it, the thought occurred to me that God had just allowed me to experience something of an illustration to what I had just been studying in the Bible.
The shirt I found was a cheap, ill-fitting substitute bought at the last minute, which barely suited my needs. However, God sent Jesus “in the fullness of time” at the great “price” of being “despised…rejected…stricken…afflicted…pierced…crushed for our iniquities” to the extent of the “point of death, even death on a cross” so perfect and sufficient that “in Him we might become the righteousness of God” and so powerful that he needed only to “suffer once for sins.”
As our substitute on the cross, there was nothing hasty, cheap or inadequate in His life and death on our behalf. How grateful we should be that, in Jesus, God provided perfectly for our greatest need to forgive us of sin and give to us eternal life.