The Apostle Paul uses this strange language that Christ was made sin. How can a holy God be made sin? Is the Apostle Paul just trying to shock us for no reason? Is Paul laying out some sort of heresy? What can the Apostle possibly mean by this language?
There is no doubt that Christ is the standard of wisdom. He is the embodiment of wisdom and so we would expect his followers to embrace him. We find that not only do the pharisees question Christ’s credibility, but so do John’s disciples. What basis do they have to question them? Did Christ do something wrong or are they out of line?
We are a sinful people confirmed in sin and have no hope apart from the Grace of God. It is a blessing that the Lord shows his grace to us, but how do we know that his grace in enough? How do we know that the promises of the Gospel are enough to save? How do we know that having Christ as our priest is enough for our entrance into heaven?
Christ comes to the other side of the sea and is in his home town and district. It would seem that everything is going to go well because now Christ is among his own people who should embrace him. We find that Christ announces the significance of his office by forgiving sins. Christ came to redeem us from our sins so why would Christ’s forgiving sins be so controversial?
God is a just God, and God cannot overlook an offense. This is pretty serious considering we have heard that we naturally hate God and our neighbor. So, how did we get in this position? Is there a way to escape this place where we find ourselves?
When Christ goes outside the land we would expect Christ to be embraced with open arms, but that is not the case. In fact, Christ encounters satanic forces, and then the men of the city affirm the satanic rebellion. What does this tell us about the status of man? What does this tell us about man’s nature desire for God? What does this tell us about the grace of Christ?
If we were left with the news that we are a people who naturally hate God and our neighbor then there is no reason to continue to move forward in life. In fact, our lives would be meaningless without any purpose at all. However, the message of the gospel is not something where we just hope we will arrive. If we are sinful, if we naturally hate God and our neighbor, then how do we really turn to the Lord?
Our catechism uses strong language that we naturally hate God and our neighbor. Do we really want to say that we naturally hate God? Do we really want to say that we naturally hate all people? Are we really that sinful? How can we find any way out of this sinful way of life?
When we consider the message of Matthew’s gospel the concern is that we discern whether or not we are insiders seeking to do the Lord’s will. However, if I am not genetically tied to the Israelite people, Abraham is not a direct genetic descendant in my family tree, and I am not genetically tied to the prophets then can I be an insider? What if my faith is not as strong as it should be does that mean I am excluded from the inside? How do I know if I am an insider who possesses the Gospel promises?
Matthew is writing a Gospel not just to confirm that Christ is the Messiah, but to call people to embrace the true Messiah in faith. So, is this a Gospel that is merely rebuking the Israelites for not embracing their God? Is this a Gospel that is excessive for one race? Who can be an insider?