My car door opened and in stepped a young man I had agreed to take to court that day. His slender build, and traffic violation, reminded me a little of myself at his age. “Morning,” the young man said, “I sure appreciate you taking the time to go with me.”
As he closed the door, I couldn’t help but notice the dress shirt and tie he had on. Though he had followed my advice to wear them, he had not taken the time to iron the blue cotton shirt that was looking really rough.
It was obvious he had borrowed it from someone, and in his own mind was doing good just to have it on. Though glad to see him wearing it, I knew that its extremely wrinkled condition was not going to help him as he stood before the judge.
As we drove, I looked for a tactful way to address and fix the problem. Finally, I found it. In a sensitive yet straightforward manner, I let him know how good it was to see him wearing a shirt and tie. “The Judge is sure to take notice of it,” I told him, “but it really is extremely wrinkled. How about I let you wear mine, seeing you’re the one that’s going to stand before the judge today?” “Ok,” he said, “whatever you think is best.”
So, into a nearby McDonald’s bathroom we went and made the exchange. His much-wrinkled shirt for my ironed one. I don’t know what people thought as we walked in one way and came out another, but one thing was for sure, there had been a change.
The young man looked great and was ready to face his problems head-on. As for me, well ……let’s just say there have been times I’ve looked better. Though I’m by no means a perfectionist when it comes to my clothing, I have to admit I was a little self-conscious about the condition of the shirt I was now wearing.
Sitting side by side in the front row of the courtroom, we patiently waited until they finally called his name. It was then that I heard Jesus calling mine. “That’s what I did for you,” He said. “I took your messed up wrinkled life, and in exchange gave you mine. I put on your shame and let you put on my righteousness so that you might be accepted in the eyes of the judge.”
Somehow, in that moment, any discomfort I was feeling because of my outward appearance fled away. I could literally feel the love of God for all of us who one day must stand before Him in judgment.
On one hand, He is a God of justice requiring that every wrong deed be made right. On the other hand, however, He’s a God of great mercy and has provided a way for us to stand before Him in an acceptable manner.
This, plain and simple is the good news of Jesus Christ. He took on our sin and shame and we get to take on His righteousness.
As for me, I’m so glad that over twenty years ago Jesus stopped by to pick me up and convinced me I needed to change my clothes.
“Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.” – Proverbs 21:21
If you something inside of you spoke while reading this, please re-share.