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Matthew 27:27-31

“Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.”

I’m fairly confident that most of these guys are burning in hell today. I mean, what are the odds that scumbags like them would ever see their sin, repent and turn to Jesus? There have been millions just like them over the centuries that seem to be beyond redemption, not to mention the REALLY evil ones like Attila the Hun, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot and Idi Amin. They will spend eternity in hell and deservedly so. Case closed.

Once again, it’s easy to look at these extreme examples and just write them off…but every one of them started off as a little baby. They were helpless and as “innocent” as a human can be. As they grew they most likely liked to play and run and jump and have fun. Somewhere along the line, however, it all took a terrible turn for the worse and the men I listed descended into unspeakable evil that cost the lives of over 100 million people.

It’s amazing to me that Jesus died for these folks as well as for garden-variety sinners like you and me. He died for the Roman soldiers that stripped Him, mocked Him, spat on Him, beat Him and led Him away to the cross. He died for the child molesters and the prostitutes and the swindlers and the porn peddlers and the sexual addicts and the drug dealers. How could He leave the majesty of Heaven to come down here and spend 33 years in our slop and then go to the cross to willingly accept the curse brought about by our depravity?

If you never ponder the unbelievable paradox that His form of love brings with it then you are missing the power of the cross and the heartbeat of the Gospel itself. “For God so loved the world” isn’t just some biblical platitude designed to make us feel warm and fuzzy about Christ. It’s a statement of fact that brings with it the only explanation for the disgusting disparity between His love and the sin of a Roman soldier…or a brutal dictator…or a scumbag like me.

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