For a television program, Lost deals a surprising amount with the idea of sin. All the characters on the show have a past, and in many cases they’ve done things they’re not proud of, things they’re still feeling the negative impact of, actions they’re either trying to forget or else wishing to atone for.
That’s why Lost’s portrayal of Jesus as a sinner is such an egregious thing (see “Welcome to my Blog” below). For one thing, it’s a slap in the face to the holiness of Christ, to the holiness of God. Jesus was not a sinner. He was and is different from us in that way. And he deserves to receive the credit He’s due for having lived a perfect sinless life. (For more on the importance of holiness, see “Lost in Translation 3” below.)
I understand that the idea of a Christ who was a sinner just like the rest of us is appealing, because it would seem to make Him more accessible. If Jesus was a sinner then we may feel as though we can relate to him better. No longer does He seem like the angry God, out to punish us for our sins. If Jesus is a sinner, then maybe He’ll be compassionate instead of judging us.
The problem is, a Jesus who sinned cannot save us. What good is He to us then? In that case, Jesus was just another one of us. He might be able to relate to us, but He can’t help us. If Jesus was a sinner, then we’re all still in our sins, and therefore still under the wrath of God.
Yet thankfully, thought Jesus was a person like us, he wasn’t a sinner but lived the perfect, sinless life, and therefore was a suitable sacrifice capable of being substituted in our place. On the cross He received the punishment we deserved for our sins. Because of this, we’re no longer subject to the wrath of God if we place our trust in Him. And this was God’s plan and purpose all along in sending Christ, to provide a way for us to escape the wrath we deserve because of sin. As 2 Cor. 5:19 says, “…in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them.” (RSV) It was God’s plan all along to redeem us and save us from punishment for our sin.
However, if Jesus was and is sinless, and righteous, and holy, then it might seem as though he cannot relate to us who are sinners. How can He possibly understand us? Won’t He be harsh with us?
The Bible addresses this issue. We find these comforting words in the book of Hebrews:
Heb 4:14-16 ~ 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Jesus never sinned, but He was made just like us, which means He was subject to temptation, and the Word says He was indeed tempted, “in every way, just as we are,” and is therefore able to “sympathize with our weaknesses”. Jesus is able to relate to our weaknesses and temptations. Yet because He never succumbed to temptation, He is also capable of saving us!
This is the good news of the Christian message, that our sins can be redeemed, because of what Jesus Christ did in his death on the cross and in His resurrection. This is why the fact that Jesus was not a sinner is so important. And yet at the same time, because Jesus was a human being like us, He is able to relate to us in every way. That’s very comforting news, I think. Don’t you?
Thanks for reading today’s blog. My next topic will be: Good, Bad, or Ugly? The Eclectic Spirituality on Lost. Till then, be blessed!