The Sweet Exchange at the gallows of death

“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”

In A Tale of Two Cities There are two men,

A virtuous man, Charles Darnay & a repugnant man, Sydney Carton.

They have only these two things in common: they both possess a
profound love for the same woman, Lucie & they share an uncanny
physical resemblance to one another.

Throughout the novel Darnay plays the hero while Carton does nothing
to endear himself to the reader.

He is a vulgar, insolent, irresponsible, indifferent, alcoholic lawyer.
But, in the third to last chapter Carton’s actions completely reverse
our feelings for the man.

Darnay is sentenced to death in the French Revolution. With Darnay’s death
Carton would be able to marry Lucie. Carton visits Darnay in prison the day
before the execution & drugs Darnay, who falls asleep.
Carton then changes clothes with Darnay & calls the guards to remove him.

By exploiting his physical resemblance to the prisoner, Carton enables the
unconscious Darnay to be carried out to freed. Carton bravely takes the place
of his rival at the guillotine & dies in his stead, thus securing for Darnay
not only life, but happiness in marriage to Lucie.

It is the idea of exchanging one person’s life & penalty for another’s is amazing

Jesus committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth.
When he was reviled, He did not revile in return;
when He suffered,
He did not threaten,
but continued entrusting himself to Him who judges justly.
1 Peter 2: 22-23

Who deserves heaven?

You must be perfect, as Your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matt 5:48

But, Everyone has sinned & fallen short of the glory of God
Romans 3: 23

We miss the mark on a target & God’s will is the bulls-eye.
Every time we think a thought we are taking a shot at the bulls-eye.
Every time we say or write a word we are taking a shot at the bulls-eye.
And every time we make a decision we are taking a shot at it.

Now let me ask you, honestly: Have you ever missed the mark? Have you ever sinned?

But, that’s the bad news.

The good news is found in verse 22 “Jesus committed no sin…”

Jesus did it. He achieved the perfect standard.
He hit the bulls-eye.
This is why we worship him.

Every thought Jesus had,
every word Jesus said
every deed Jesus did fit snugly in the center of Gods’ will.

If Jesus took a thousand shots at God’s target, they would all be in the dead center.

Jesus achieved perfection. Because Jesus is beautifully perfect.

Jesus bore our sins in His body on the tree,
that we might die to sin & live to righteousness.
By Jesus wounds You have been healed.

1 Peter 2: 24

So what did Jesus do with his perfection?

He did not give it away –

Jesus exchanged it for something else.

Christ earned what no man could ever earn,
Then He promptly exchanged it for our package of sin & guilt
Jesus took our loathsome wickedness.
He was crushed under its weight. And why?

Because this was the only way for us to be saved:

Jesus arranged a swap.

Our sin was transferred to Christs body,
Jesus righteousness is transferred into our
record at the moment we trusted him to save us.

“Our Lord assumed our sins as one takes our weight upon His shoulders—
and when the sins were there, He was carrying our burdens”
Spurgeon

We can believe in Jesus as a good man,

We can believe in Jesus as a wise teacher,

We can believe in Jesus as an example of love & compassion.

But if we don’t accept Jesus role as our sin-bearer,
We have missed the point of Jesus Christ.

He came to die. He came to take our place of judgement

This was predicted thousands of years before Jesus birth:

Surely he has borne our griefs & carried our sorrows;

We esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God & afflicted.

But Jesus was wounded for our transgressions;
He was crushed for our iniquities;

On Him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

It’s through Jesus stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Isa 53: 4-6

This is the sweet exchange, Jesus’ righteousness for our sin.

Adapted from Clint Archer

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