A Bridge of Exchange- Maundy Thursday 3-24-16
A bridge of Exchange 2 Cor. 5:21 Isaiah 53:12; Mark 10:45; Hebrews 9:28 Maundy Thursday 3-24-16
There is a movie that recently came out on DVD called, “Bridge of Spies” based on the true story of a Soviet spy, Rudolf Able, the lawyer who defended him, James B. Donovan. Most Americans, including the judge, the police, and the public vilified Donovan for defending the spy, who he saved from the electric chair in the hopes of a prisoner exchange. But the drama of the story came when the lawyer was picked to negotiate and take part in a prisoner exchange in Berlin on the Glienicke Bridge (pictured on your bulletin) for an American pilot (Gary Powers) shot down over Soviet air space. In this kind of exchange, people always wonder if it was worth it. The lawyer was the one who risked everything in this exchange- his reputation, his family, and his life.
The Bible says that Jesus was exchanged for us- Hebrews 9:28 says, “Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people.” Mark 10:45 says, “Even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for sins.” 18For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was the ransom that freed us. The difference is the advocate/lawyer freely gave Himself for us the guilty party. If we cannot understand the concept of ransom- or an exchange- we will have a hard time understanding the concept that Christ can somehow pay for our sins.
In 2012 Rachel and Paul Chandler, a British yachting couple were captured by Somali Pirates. 600,000 pounds ($847k) was given in exchange for their lives. While the United States and the UK as a government has said it will not negotiate with terrorists, continental European nations- like Italy, Germany, Spain, and France have paid ransoms. It is estimated that $128 million was given between 2008 and 2013 to Al Qaida by these nations. But this raises a different question- “How much is a human being worth?” To pay money for a human being seems to us very unfair and similar to slave trading. If it was your loved one- a child, a spouse, a grandchild, how much would it be worth to you?
On Maundy Thursday we remember Jesus talked of this specific exchange- this is my body given/broken for you; This is my blood poured out for the remission of your sins. Do you hear the language of exchange there? Jesus, the Lord and Maker of the Universe. The One who showed this by healing every disease set before Him, turning water into wine, making five fishes feed five thousand, calming storms, walking on water, and rising from even death- this Jesus- Lord of the universe- gave himself in exchange for us. It is truly not fair.
There was another exchange done in Afghanistan. A marine private, Bowe Berdahl, wandered off his base in 2009 and was captured. He was exchanged for five known terrorists leaders held in Guantanamo Bay Cuba. He was treated as a hero by the executive branch of the government. Immediately cries came out by some in his own outfit that he went AWOL of his own accord, and some wondered if he did not try to give information or give his services to the enemy. Most Americans believe Bergdahl did not deserve this exchange and three of the five released have tried to go back to the Taliban. That debate will go on for a long time. Here is my main point. Jesus is not a fair exchange for us. We wander off from God- and we do this on purpose. We stray not just ethically by doing bad things and by not doing what we should be doing; but also in our beliefs. We harden our hearts to God. By saying we are followers yet going our own way- going astray- we betray the kingdom cause of God. The sheep betray the shepherd when they do not listen to his voice but wander off. But the shepherd lays down his life for the wandering sheep. Is it fair for a shepherd to die in an effort to rescue wandering sheep? If your son was the shepherd, would you tell him to do this? Yet this is the cross. All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned everyone to our own way- yet the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all. The sheep are given life by the shepherd who died to save them. An exchange has been made for you. Will you go back to your old ways, or will you seek to give yourself fully to the One who gave Himself for you?