Archive for September, 2012

06
Sep
12

TRADING PLACES

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.  Romans 5:10-11

The movie “The Hunger Games”, based on the bestselling book of the same name, has captured the attention of many people in various age categories.  It is the story of a people who struggle in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic North America.  Each year the 12 divisions, or “Districts”, of the nation of Panem, are kept in line by being forced to send two tributes each to participate in the Hunger Games.  The tributes, who are aged 12 to 18, fight each other to the death with the whole nation watching on television.  Being chosen as a tribute in the random drawing is considered a sentence of death.

The book’s heroine, Katniss Everdeen, is 16 years old when her 12 year old sister, Prim, is chosen at District 12’s tribute in her first year in the “reaping.”  Below are excerpts from the book that describe Katniss’ reactions:

That’s how I feel now, trying to remember how to breathe, unable to speak, totally stunned as the name bounces around the inside of my skull.

There must have been some mistake.  This can’t be happening.  Prim was one slip of paper in thousands!  Her chances of being chosen are so remote that I’d not even bothered to worry about her.  One slip.  One slip in thousands.

Somewhere far away, I can hear the crowd murmuring unhappily as they always do when a 12 year old get chosen because no one thinks this is fair.  And then I see her, the bold drained from her face, hand clenched in fists at her sides, walking with stiff, small steps up toward the stage, passing me…

“Prim!”  The strangled cry comes out of my throat…  “Prim!”  The other kids make way immediately allowing me a straight path to the stage.  I reach her just as she is about to mount the steps.  With one sweep of my arm, I push her behind me.

“I volunteer!” I gasp.  “I volunteer as tribute!”

In the scripture we look at today, there are two words that should jump out: reconciled and atonement.  Speaking about atonement, the AMG Encyclopedia of Bible Facts explains, “simply stated the word means ‘at-one-ment,’ that is, being at one or being reconciled. So atonement is reconciliation. Atonement describes the result of Jesus’ death.”

The Old Testament explains the amazing Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16.  In short, it was the one day of the year that the high priest would sacrifice a bull and a goat, enter the most holy place, the holy of holies, in order to atone for the sins of the whole nation.  The people deserved death for their sin (Romans 3:23); the bull and the goat took the place of the people and died as their substitute.

Later on in the New Testament, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is compared to the bull and the goat as taking our place in the punishment for sin when 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

I’m sure that just as Katniss saw her sister in a pitiful, helpless condition, Jesus, Himself, saw us in our helpless, pitiful condition and had compassion on us.  I can just picture His reaction, much like Katniss, as with one sweep of His arm, he pushed us behind Him.  He volunteered to take on our hell so we could know the full glory of God one day.  What a beautiful picture of a loving Savior!

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