I sent him to his room and came in shortly after. I stood him in front of me at eye level and went through the disobedient talk. He was able to answer why he was in trouble, what he had done, and even what he deserved. He said he was disobedient for throwing his toys after I told him not to and that he deserved a spanking.
I decided to show grace and told him that I wasn’t going to spank him. His eyes lit up. I then went on to explain that I was going to take his spanking for him. I could tell he was simply just excited not to be getting a spanking.
I began explaining the gospel in easy terms and explained that my example of taking his spanking is like what Jesus did for us. He took our punishment for us, even though we deserved it. I used all my great theological training to exposit the theology of Christ’s atoning substitutionary sacrifice and how we receive redemption, regeneration, and reconciliation through his propitious justifying work on the cross. Of course, not in so many words.
Even though I was clearly explaining the gospel in a kid friendly way, my boy was distracted. He would see a book on the floor he wanted to read. He would find a fuzzy on my shirt or hear a noise in the hallway. Then, after the usual time of prayer where he says sorry to me and to God in prayer by asking forgiveness from the one he truly offends, he was ready to go. Towards the door he went.
But I stopped him. I said, wait a minute. I still have to take your spanking. He turned around to see me raise my hand high in the sky and smack myself on the leg as hard as I could. And let me tell you….it was a good swat. I was still feeling it 20 minutes later.
When he saw me haul off and whack myself, his face went blank and his eyes grew wide in an instant. He was in shock.
I began to think about how true this example is for us as it relates to Christ taking our punishment. We are so excited about what God has done for us through his Son. We think about Christ’s work on the cross and we are happy not to get a spanking. We are excited to get to go to heaven and not have to take the punishment we deserve.
Then we go about our lives with all the distractions going on around us, even now in this Christmas season where we focus on Christ. The Christmas season upon us is full of distractions. But even if we work hard to keep in mind the “reason for the season” we often still miss what that “reason” did for us.
He took the full weight of our sin upon himself and gave himself for us. He took all the punishment we deserve to take and gave us His righteousness, which we don’t deserve. When we stop to think about him taking that enormous punishment on our behalf, the faces of our hearts should be in shock. When we think of him taking the major blow for us, our eyes should bulge and our mouths should stand open wide.
For Jesus came as a baby, not to be served, not to get gifts. But to serve and give the greatest gift of all, His very life on our behalf. Stand amazed!