Isaiah 1:18: “‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’”

I love how God interacts with people – “Come now, let’s settle this,” is a very gracious and inviting manner to address our shortcomings. We usually don’t like to talk about our failures, but ignoring our mistakes and sweeping everything under the rug has spiritual consequences; we will get corrupted, which means:

  • We get dirty. Crimson red is a strong color. You would have to use a lot of bleach to turn a crimson red shirt into a white one. We all know that it’s always easier to stain a shirt than to get the stain out. Similarly our mind can harbor dirty thoughts, which are just as tough to remove.
  • We break up. Divorce represents brokenness. What formerly belonged together is now broken apart, and this is what happened between God and mankind and also explains political unrest, wars and division.
  • We lose our roots. Besides having an actual roof over our heads, the term “home” represents so much more. Home is where our heart is. Homelessness is devastating and we are homeless when we lose our roots in God. We all come from God and this is where we belong.

In Jesus God became flesh and blood. He moved from heaven into our neighborhood and became as involved in the mundane and ordinary life as can be – like growing a beard and cutting finger nails. He rolled up His sleeves and worked in a wood shop. The last three years of his life He abandoned His trade and traveled around the country. People were drawn to Him. He became a celebrity. Speaking publicly about the kingdom of God, He filled these words with new meaning by living out what He talked about for everyone to see. Whether He walked dusty desert highways, the streets of Jerusalem, or entered somebody’s home, everywhere He went He profoundly touched people, gave them hope, and taught them God’s values. And even though people loved and admired Jesus, He experienced firsthand how it feels to be singled out, rejected, misunderstood, ridiculed, tortured, and killed. Facing an unjust trial at the end of His life, he left an amazing legacy: He opened the door for us so we can pick up where we left off in the Garden of Eden and find our way back home to God.

The Lord’s life and mission on earth was to create the antidote to our separation from the Trinity and from each other. Somehow – and only God knows how – Jesus’s capital punishment became a stand-in. When He went through a torturous execution He represented all people and took all their punishment upon Himself. Although He was completely innocent and did not deserve to be executed, Jesus was not a victim. He chose to die that way.

God’s invitation still stands: “Come, let us settle this”, He says to you and me. What an extraordinary effort had to be made behind the scenes for this almost casual-sounding invitation! Quite the understatement isn’t it? And what about God’s question – ‘let us settle this’? Isn’t it God who does all the clean up? And yet, He respectfully seeks our approval first; He genuinely reaches out before approaching us.

So here is the Million Dollar Question: Are we willing to settle the issue that came between us and the Almighty? The answer lies inside of us, the battleground of all battlegrounds: the human heart.

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