Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Set free from the witches hats - CROSS PURPOSES 136

Set free from the witches hats

These days whenever I observe something or experience different situations I tend to ask myself, “Is there a Gospel message in this?” Sometimes there is and they become useful anecdotes or illustrations for sermons or school Scripture lessons.

A few months ago I drove out of Brookvale Primary School onto Old Pittwater Road and joined the traffic facing west up the hill towards the intersection with Beacon Hill Road. I was about tenth in line from the lights but had a very good view of the intersection further up the hill.

A road maintenance crew was busy working at the intersection. The work required the lane next to the kerb going east down to Pittwater Road to be cordoned off. A young woman member of the crew dutifully set about placing witches hats along the dotted line to reduce access on the eastbound lanes to a single lane.

As I sat in my car watching her I was impressed with the care and precision she exercised in her work. Being a surveyor, I have a deep appreciation for precision, accuracy, symmetry and the like, and I couldn’t help but admire the way she carefully paced out the distance between each witches hat, placed them all very accurately on the line and then looked back to check her work to ensure all was in order.

No sooner had she finished her work the lights changed. The first three vehicles through the intersection were cars and had no difficulty negotiating the right hand turn into the single lane that was now available to them.

Then came a semi-trailer. Half-way through the intersection it was clear the driver had no possibility of negotiating the tighter turn. He took one look at the witches hats, looked at the maintenance crew, probably saw that the lights were about to change, and with an expression of, “Sorry guys, but I ain’t stoppin’ for no-one,” kept going, and in the process took out the complete line of witches hats. Not only that, as he came down the hill towards me I noticed the witches hats were being caught under his front axle, and so he didn’t just bowl them over, he took them with him all the way to Pittwater Rd at the bottom of the hill.

The look of horror on the young woman’s face was palpable. All her good work was undone in an instant. I really felt for her, but couldn’t help having a good laugh either. Of course, I said to myself, there has to be a Gospel message in this!

Indeed, it reminded me of how Satan – the prosecutor – stands before God always wanting to accuse us. He sets out our sins before God with the same precision and diligence the woman at the intersection exercised in setting out the witches hats. Satan sets out to prosecute our sins one after the other – a whole line of them – each one carefully, completely and comprehensively articulated so that no one can be in any doubt that we have failed miserably in meeting what God’s Law demands. Satan does have a point. We have sinned and we do sin, and do so often.

With Satan having set out the case for the prosecution, things look bad for the defendant. But then Jesus presents the case for the defence and things take a dramatic turn. He addresses our heavenly Father and asks, “Sins? What sins?”

“Oh, you mean the sins of the world – the sins that I as the Lamb of God took away when I shed my blood and gave my life on Calvary? You mean the sins which I forgive and absolve when the sinner comes to me in repentance and confesses me as Lord and Saviour? You mean the sins with which this devious prosecutor here on my left continually tries to burden the conscience by setting them out as reminders like bright red witches hats at a road maintenance site? You mean those sins?”

Yes those sins!

Well, Father, through your plan of salvation, fulfilled in my death and resurrection:
· You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins (Psalm 85:2).
· I bore the sin of many and made (and continue to make) intercession for the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12).
· You forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more (Jeremiah 31:34).
· You bless those, Father, who confess me as Lord and Saviour, and do not reckon their sin against them (Romans 4:8).
· Through the righteousness You grant believers for my sake, they have been set free from sin (Romans 6:18).
· You made me, who knew no sin, to be sin for them, so that in me they might become Your righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

And the list goes on. Every time Satan tries to accuse you with a long line of witches hats to remind you of your sin, just remember that our defender, our intercessor, our Saviour Jesus Christ has done the best maintenance job for you, on you, and in you that you could ever hope for. He cleans up witches hats like no semi-trailer driver ever could, although the fellow on Old Pittwater Road did give me a good insight on how well Jesus does it.

Be blessed

René van den Tol

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