(Recycled from Sunday's sermon, but posted here for those who don't listen to me preach)
This photo was taken last week, when I visited my sister and future brother-in-law in Virginia. On Saturday we visited my other sister Lindsay (far right), who is a student at George Washington University and had just gotten back from spring break in Hilton Head with my dad (next to Lindsay).
I have been to the White House before, but I was particularly struck this time at how difficult it is to get even remotely close to the President of the United States. Police cars block the street, so that cars are unable to get near the White House. If you look at the picture, you'll notice that we are standing in front of one large fence and a smaller blockade to keep us away from even the fence of the White House. There were armed guards and watchdogs at every entrance, and snipers on the roof of the White House.
As I took all this in, I couldn't help but feel small and insignificant. The whole experience gave me this impression: there is someone very important in that house, and I am not worthy to even come near his presence.
It's true that the office of president is a very important position, one of power and great dignity. Yet in comparison to Jesus Christ, the President is nothing more than a grasshopper, or a drop in a bucket. For Jesus is the King of kings, and Lord of lords. And as I looked, from afar, at the White House, I found myself marveling at the greatness of Jesus Christ: that though He is the Lord of the entire cosmos, He is filled with such love for me that He would personally leave His heavenly throne and descend to earth, cutting through all the fences and barriers which I had created by my sin, and rescue me from His righteous judgment, enlisting me in His service as His ambassador.
I have never, to my knowledge, committed an act of treason against my nation or the President. Nevertheless, fences, dogs, snipers and blockades keep me so distant from him. Yet I have committed cosmic treason against Jesus, the King of kings, by turning away from Him to be my own lord and master. Sin is treason, at the cosmic level. It is an attempt to rip away from God the glory and honor that He is due so that I can have it for myself. It is evil beyond our wildest imagination.
But what grace Jesus brings, that though I had made myself His enemy, yet in love He would come and personally bear my wrath and judgment, so that I can be declared innocent in the courtroom of heaven and eternally adopted into His family, as a co-heir of His Kingdom!
I am glad that whichever relative of mine it was decided to get a photo at the White House last week. In addition to reminding me of an enjoyable weekend with my family, it is an ongoing reminder of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ:
"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." (Ephesians 2:13)
Because of my innate rebellion, I deserve to be much farther away from the King of kings than I was from the President on that Saturday evening. But because of Christ's life, death and resurrection, the Lord of the cosmos brings me through all the gates, guards and snipers and seats me at His table in eternal fellowship with Him, the King of kings.
That is amazing grace!