All Roads Lead To Jesus - Judges

Reading - Judges 2, Matthew 1:21, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, Isaiah 61:10

“No justice! No peace! No justice! No peace!” I had never been part of a protest march outside of one I had attended when I was a child when my mom was marching against the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970’s or the March for Life in Washington D.C. when I was in high school. The first time I had heard this battle cry was when I watched Los Angeles burning after police officers had been acquitted of wrongdoing in the beating of Rodney King. Now, here I was, marching for civil rights. “Black lives matter! White lives matter! Blue lives matter!” The police officers marched and chanted alongside of us. This was not the scene the media had been painting all week long. How as it that white people, brown people, black people, Asian people, and Law Enforcement were joining arms in unity? Because they all knew justice had not been done and that we had a common cause to fight for justice.

We continued to walk. “Amazing grace. How sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me.” I could not sing. I could only listen. These were my brothers and sisters in Christ that were crying for justice. We were not conservatives or liberals. We were not black or white. We were following Jesus. Jesus alone our perfect Judge delivers us from injustice.

The fight for justice is central to the story of redemption. God is perfectly just. His heart is broken when we don’t seek justice. His heart is broken when we are unjust to one another.

What is injustice according to the Bible? It is inequality, unfairness, prejudice, bias, discrimination or a miscarriage of justice for any reason. We know it when we see it – sometimes. There are other times that we don’t see injustice because of our own prejudice or bias. But God always sees injustice. His heart always breaks over injustice.

In the book of Judges, Israel was in a bad place. They were sort of hungover from the victories of Joshua. They had partially inhabited the Promised Land but they didn’t have the wherewithal to finish the job. They were content with settling down in portions of the land alongside of their enemies. They did not have a King and now Joshua had died. There was a leadership vacuum. God placed Judges over the people. These Judges were not kings but they were intermediaries between God and his people.

Every single judge had issues. Some were fearful. Others were disobedient. Some gave into the vices of the enemies of God. As a result, everyone in Israel did what was right in their own eyes. Each person felt that they were entitled to their own opinions. They worshipped their own gods. They did things their way. As a result, Israel was stuck. They had no direction and they had no justice. Everyone did what was right in their own eyes.

There will be a time when criminals and corrupt politicians, or abusive law enforcement agents will no longer be able to hide from true justice. Jesus is coming to judge the quick and the dead and he will do so perfectly. But here is the real scandal of the Gospel. Those same criminals and lawbreakers can have perfect peace should they repent and turn to Christ for salvation. The grace of the Gospel extends to all people everywhere. And God is perfectly just when he offers salvation to all sinners. How is this possible?

Matthew 1:21 says that Jesus was born to save his people from their sins. 2 Corinthians 5 tells us how this happens. Jesus in perfect righteousness became our sin. As our sin, he died on a cross that we deserved. God’s wrath is satisfied in the sacrifice of Jesus. God’s judgment has been poured out and Jesus has absorbed that wrath in our place.

In Judges 2 the writer says that God placed judges over Israel. These judges continually saved Israel from their enemies. Even so, Israel continued to worship others, gods. Yet God, in His covenant mercy and love for His people, continued to extend grace to His people. In a much more perfect way than the Judges who were placed over Israel, Jesus is our judge and he will judge us by the standard of God’s righteousness.

The problem is, like Israel, we can’t live up to that standard. That is why Jesus’ righteousness is so important to us. That is why the exchange of our sin for the righteousness of Christ is so important to us. We will all be judged by Jesus Christ one day. We must meet the requirement of God’s Law.

Here is the good news. If we have put our faith in Christ we are clothed in His righteousness. That means that we will not be judged by our own self-righteousness but instead by the perfect righteousness of Christ. The prophet Isaiah rejoiced in this realization when he wrote,

‘I will rejoice greatly in the Lord,
My soul will exult in my God;
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

God continued to show grace to Israel because of His Covenant with them was one of grace. But each of those judges looked forward to the Perfect Judge. In Jesus, we can rest assured that there will be perfect justice and that God’s Kingdom will be perfectly just.

The greater news in that civil rights march came from the words of Amazing Grace. The justice and peace we all want is found only in the justice and peace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. It is good to fight for justice. It is required that we seek mercy. The book of Judges reminds us that we can’t have justice and peace without God’s intercession. Thank God He has secured our peace and justice through the life, death, resurrection, and intercession of His son Jesus.

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