Last week we considered how Jesus’ death involved physical pain and suffering. But more awful than the pain of physical suffering that Jesus endured was the psychological pain of bearing the guilt for our sin.
As Christians we know a little of what it is to feel guilty for our sin. David knew that guilt when he writes in Psalm 32: ‘When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.’ Feeling guilt for sin is torment. It is depressing – David could feel God’s hand pressing down upon him as though it was crushing him. In Psalm 38 David speaks of the guilt of sin and its painful effects even more clearly: ‘For your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down upon me. Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; my bones have no soundness because of my sin. My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly.’ David’s guilt for his sin made his whole body feel like it was wounded and broken.
When you feel guilty for what you have done you can sympathise with David. Yet you must remember that you do not feel as guilty as you should. You are not completely holy and so although you understand something of how terrible your sin is, you still do not see it as completely evil and so you do not feel the guilt as much as you should.
On the other hand, Jesus was sinless and hated sin with his entire being. Therefore when he took your sin upon him it would have weighed him down more than it ever could have weighed you down. But that is what he did so that you might be saved. The Bible says ‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God’ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus who had never sinned himself became sin and this would have been absolute torture. Someone who never sinned was now considered guilty for the sins of many and experienced the crushing guilt. What this cost him we cannot imagine. But Jesus did this for all those who believe so that they would no longer have to feel the guilt for their sin. If you have believed, continue to remember that you are forgiven and gratefully serve him as guiltless servants. If you have not believed, recognise your sinfulness today and then confess it to Christ so that you may no longer be guilty of your evil.