Capernaum • Devotion #3: I will Take the Tab

I love food. I feel after just three words, I got a resounding praiseworthy “amen.” However, I still have a 497-word quota to meet. I love Thai food. The thing I love about Thai food is it hits all five major tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and hot) all in one bite. A few years ago, my wife and I were on a date (totally off-topic, but dudes go on dates with your wife!), and we were at our favorite Thai spot in Grand Blanc, enjoying each other’s company. We saw a friend of ours who attends The River Church. We waved, smiled, and told each other that we would “see each other Sunday.” He left, and my wife and I continued our night. When it was time to get our bill, our waitress just told us, “that man told us he would take your tab.” I was beyond blessed at his generosity, and I gave him a big hug the next time I saw him.    

Humanity has a major issue. We have this thing called sin. Because of sin, we all are owed God’s wrath to be poured out on us. An all-powerful, all-knowing, all-holy, and perfectly just creator of the universe does not take kindly to His creation’s rebellion. Thankfully, this all-powerful, all-knowing, all-holy, and perfectly just creator of the universe loves us more than we can comprehend. The only means of totally fulfilling the price of this rebellion is that God Himself had to take this punishment. Isaiah 53:12 says, “Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” God sent His Son to be the one who would bear the weight and shame of our sin.

Luke 23:34 records the moment when Jesus paid the price for mankind’s sin. It reads, “And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And they cast lots to divide his garments.” Even in the last moments of Jesus’ life, the people leading in His crucifixion were gambling off His clothes. At this pivotal moment for all of humanity, while sin and darkness seemed to be victorious, God’s perfect Son sacrificed Himself and interceded for our sins. Intercession means to intervene on behalf of someone else. Jesus intervened for all of humanity. Jesus bore the punishment for every sin ever committed by every person who ever walked on this Earth. That is the ultimate, “I will pick up their tab.”  

Love is purposeful. You cannot love accidentally. Love is a choice. You cannot force love. Jesus loves you, regardless if you reject that notion or not. He proved how much He loved humanity when He bore our sins on that cross. It is such a mind-boggling feeling to know that Jesus chose to pick up my tab. I have done so many horrible things in my life. 

Luckily for me, the guy who paid for my Thai food was a friend. I can grasp that concept of him loving me enough to bless me. However, Jesus took my tab when I was an enemy of God, lived a rebellious life of sin, and my only focus was on myself. Prophecy can be a hard thing to understand, but amazingly God picking up our tab was His plan from the very beginning. Take some time to thank God for paying the debt you could not pay, and be gracious to the truth that His love was purposeful. Jesus paid your tab to bring you back to Him. Let us never forget that.

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