Jesus Enters Into The Guilt of Human Beings

PLEASE NOTE:  This Advent season at Faith Lutheran we are using Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “God is in the Manger” devotional booklet for daily devotions and weekly sermon themes.  What follows has been taken from that booklet.

 

For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.  2 Corinthians 5:10

 

Jesus does not want to be the only perfect human being at the expense of humankind.  He does not want, as the only guiltless one, to ignore a humanity that is being destroyed by its guilt; he does not want some kind of human ideal to triumph over the ruins of a wrecked humanity.

 

Love for real people leads into the fellowship of human guilt.

 

Jesus does not want to exonerate himself from the guilt in which people he loves are living.  A love that left people alone in their guilt would not have real people as its object.

 

So, in vicarious responsibility for people and in his love for real human beings, Jesus becomes the one burdened by guilt – indeed, the one upon whom all human guilt ultimately falls and the one who does not turn away but bears it humbly and in eternal love.  As the one who acts responsibly in the historical existence of humankind, as the human being who has entered reality, Jesus becomes guilty.

 

But because his historical existence, his incarnation, has its sole basis in God’s love for human beings, it is the love of God that makes Jesus become guilty.  Out of selfless love for human beings, Jesus leaves his state as the one without sin and enters into the guilt of human beings.  He takes it upon himself.

 

Let us pray:  Stir up the wills of your faithful people, Lord God, and open our ears to the preaching of John, that, rejoicing in your salvation, we may bring forth the fruits of repentance; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

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