By Joe Slater
The song is right – burdens really are lifted at Calvary! Our Savior Himself invited, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus didn’t shed His blood and die on the cross so you could carry your sin around like a ball and chain for the rest of your life. He offers rest!
Jesus made a point of saying “heavy laden.” He
extends His grace to those who have committed “big” sins as well as transgressors in less extreme ways. Even as life was draining from Him, Jesus lifted the burden of a violent criminal who, only a short time before, had mocked Him. Jesus told him, “Today you will be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
Sometime later Jesus lifted the burden of Saul of Tarsus, a man who absolutely hated Him and was doing everything in his power to destroy the church. Innumerable disciples of Jesus had suffered arrest, torture, imprisonment, and even death at this man’s behest. So awful were his crimes that he later referred to himself as the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). Yet Jesus lifted even Saul’s enormous burden of sin! “For this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life” (1 Timothy 1:16). If I may paraphrase, “If Jesus can save me (and He did) then He can save anyone!”
Even before the cross, God’s people found relief from sin because Christ’s blood reached back to them just as it reaches forward to us. David’s burden made him feel lifeless and crushed until “I acknowledged my sin to You . . . and You forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:3-5).
So often we react to our sin with self-loathing and beating ourselves up. While such responses are understandable, they can never “fix” the problem! Only Jesus can do that.Burdens are lifted at Calvary!