May 1, 2014

Benevolent Malefactor

I never have seen the play or the movie version of Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables”

The whole idea of sitting for that many hours as people sing everything was more than I ever cared to sit through; and, there are way too many other things on my bucket list!.

Now, before you rant back at me that it was your favorite play or movie, I did hear a handful of sermons that quoted several parts of it; so I think that I am OK with going through eternity and never having watched it.

That being said, one of the phrases that Victor Hugo uses to describe one of the main characters is; “Benevolent Malefactor”. I like that term.

When I heard that phrase, I thought of what Isaiah wrote in chapter 53 where he is describing Jesus’ crucifixion:
“…And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12b NKJV)

Did you catch that? “He was numbered with the transgressors”; or another way to say that would be; He was numbered with the “outcasts”. That’s us folks! Eugene Peterson, in his translation, writes it this way:
“… Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch, because he embraced the company of the lowest. He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many, he took up the cause of all the black sheep.” (Isaiah 53:12b MSG)

Isaiah is saying that Jesus was a Benevolent Malefactor. He chose to identify Himself with sinners, transgressors

And He allowed it!

Jesus allowed Himself to be ranked with sinners, and yet offered Himself to be an intercessor for sinners. He was not condemned as a malefactor, but He was executed in the company with two notorious malefactors. And He was set in the middle as though He had been the worst of the three.

The Pharisees and Sadducees numbered Him with the transgressors throughout His whole ministry. He was called a drunkard, one who broke the Sabbath, and a friend to tax collectors, whores, and sinners.

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV)

“How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 MSG)

He not only identified with sinners, He also took on their sin when He was on the cross, and then interceded by crying out;
“Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34 NKJV)

He did it to let us know that He paid for each of our sins and ever lives to make intercession for sinners who seek His forgiveness:

 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16 NKJV)

Jesus, our “Benevolent Malefactor” longs for you to call out to Him today.

He is waiting for you to respond to His mercy and grace that has already been extended to you through Jesus Christ. And you can; today. And it can make all the difference in the world as you look for hope in your present world. Let Him be your Benevolent Malefactor.

Need further help? Someone is waiting to talk with you. Call either:
1-888-NEED HIM  or  1-877-2GRAHAM (1-877-247-2426).

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved." 

Scripture taken from The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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