Jesus Christ is my redeemer, my savior, my only hope; my hope is in his blood and righteousness.
Writing that sentence doesn’t begin to capture the importance and centrality of Jesus to me. Using superlatives, listing out how important he is, making a rational argument—I do all of these things as a pastor, but it still seems hard to take in.
In some sense that’s because it is just hard to take in. The reason it is hard is in part the difficulty of language, and in part the competing truths that surround that central one, threatening to drown it out.
There are many other truths people take out of the Bible, lots of principles and propositions that are proclaimed. While not untrue, as a whole those truths can drown out the nuclear-bomb-sized truth of Jesus, the center of the gospel.
I was struck last week by one particular way that Scripture highlights the main, life-altering truth. I saw it in Matthew’s gospel, particularly in chapter 27. He uses something called “dramatic irony.” Dramatic irony occurs when the reader knows something that the characters in the story don’t know.
What truth do we want to yell out as Judas realizes that he’s “betrayed innocent blood”? What central key truth is he missing as he goes and hangs himself?
What do we want to shout at Pilate as he wants nothing to do with Jesus’ sacrifice. “My hands are clean of this innocent blood,” he says.
What do we shake our heads and marvel at as the crowd proclaims “his blood be on us and on our children”? As they cry out to crucify Jesus?
Isn’t it all dramatic irony—they don’t realize that Jesus Christ is our redeemer, our savior, our only hope, and that our hope is in his blood and righteousness.
Judas has betrayed innocent blood, and that innocent blood is his only hope.
Pilate’s hands are stained with the innocent blood of Jesus, and Christ’s sacrifice is his only hope.
The crowd accepts the guilt of the wrongful death of Jesus—yet his wrongful death is their only hope for the removal of guilt and eternal life.
Judas doesn’t know this truth. He realizes he has “betrayed innocent blood.” He is so guilt-stricken and sad that he goes and hangs himself. He doesn’t see that the innocent blood of Jesus is actually his only hope.
In a world that focuses on moral improvement, social betterment, and accumulation of power and wealth, we need every tool we can get to drive into our own hearts the most important of truths: that our salvation is in Christ alone, by his blood alone, of his love alone.
And after seeing what the characters don’t in the true story of Jesus’ death, that truth is driven deeper still: Christ alone, his blood alone, his love alone, his death for mine. Hold on to the depth of what Jesus Christ has done. He’s our only hope.