Day 6: The Scandal of Grace


Mark 15:25,27

Good Friday is the day we remember how Jesus, the perfect Son of God, took the responsibility for the sins of the world on His shoulders, was arrested, unjustly tried, falsely convicted, beaten, mocked, crucified, and killed. That was the day the sinless chose to die for the sinful.


In 1 Timothy 1:15 (NIV), it says, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” The word for save here (sōsai) means “to rescue; to deliver out of danger; to rescue from destruction and bring into safety.” What is it that Jesus has died to rescue us from? Death. 

You see, Romans 5:12 (NIV) says, “…sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” And as Romans 6:23 (NIV) states, “The wages of sin is death.”


But because God loves us so deeply, He didn’t leave us bound in sin and doomed to die. No! He sent His Son into the world to “give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 NIV) “in order to rescue us” (Galatians 1:4 NIV). Paul puts it so well in telling the church in Rome, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NIV). Jesus gave His life to save us! 


Some call the events of this day a “scandal of grace,” as the innocent was killed in place of the guilty. By its definition, grace is the unmerited favor and love that God freely extends to us. And we must quickly add that though His grace is free to us, it cost Him dearly. It cost Him the shed blood of His Son. His grace is precious. His grace is beyond our comprehension. So how can His grace be scandalous?


We have no problem understanding the concept of scandal. Scandal is “an action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong and causing general public outrage.” Our daily news is overflowing with reports of scandal – involving leaders in every strata and arena of society – political, business, education, medical, military, entertainment, sports – even the church – to name just a few. 


Scandal has become so widespread that as a society we are becoming increasingly unaffected by it. And as our moral and legal norms change, our perspective on what is scandalous changes – most often, not for the better.


We could rightly say that scandal has absolutely nothing to do with grace. In our world today, it is most often the result of unbridled selfish ambition and the lust for power, pleasure, and riches. It stems from the idea that “I am exempt from the norms”, “I am above them” (either those of God or man), or “I make my own norms.” We tell ourselves that we are in charge of our lives and we are the ones who should decide how they are to be lived.


When Jesus came on the scene, He consistently violated those norms. He dined with tax collectors and sinners. He not only healed those who were diseased, but He physically touched. And as He raised the dead to life, He took them by the hand.


Jesus Himself said that He had come to “seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10 NIV). He had come to extend His saving grace to those with whom the religious leaders said it was scandalous to have contact. And the reality was, and is, that none are righteous except Him. By choosing to extend grace to the unrighteous, Jesus was being scandalous. If we have turned to Him, repented of our sin and received His forgiveness through baptism, we are in fact recipients of His scandalous grace.


There are still many today who believe they have no need for Jesus’ grace, much like the religious leaders of His day. There are also still many who mistakenly believe that they can never receive His grace. They are correct when they believe they are undeserving of His grace. Yet they are incorrect when they believe they are disqualified from His grace. 

What is the scandal of grace? Jesus’ grace is scandalous by its very nature – it is undeserved and unmerited. By His grace He gave His all. God shows His love – and extends His scandalous grace “in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NIV).


1.        Become aware of the presence of God.

        Breathe in deeply and silently pray, “You are here, God.” Then breathe out and pray, “I am here with You, 

        God.” Do this until you are focused on God and are aware of His presence. 

2.        Give thanks

        Review your day while grounded in the peace of God’s presence. Give thanks for each detail you can 

        recall, each gift, and even each difficulty.

3.        Become aware of your emotions

        Think over how you feel here and now, and why. Name the emotions and give those emotions to God. If 

        what you have learned from today’s devotion, rejoice! If you closed your heart to what God has been

        saying to you, confess and plan to make amends.

4.        Pick one thing that happened today and pray.

        Choose a joy or a sorrow that you experienced today and turn your heart towards prayer over it. Pray with 

        boldness and confidence that the Father will heal and respond as He desires.

5.        Look with hope towards what tomorrow brings.

        As you close out your day, commit the coming day to the Lord with trust and hope.

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