It’s that time of year again. The ones who have worked so hard and diligently to complete years of study are graduating. For mom and dad, it’s just a relief that their child has finally crossed the finish line. No more tuition to pay for!
Seriously, though, graduation is a great event in the life of a student. They celebrate the achievement of having persevered through progressively more challenging subjects and coursework to arrive at this day. And the degree is well-earned.
In life, there aren’t many events that top this. Graduation is one of those events that ranks just below getting married or having children. You remember it for all of your life. A sense of satisfaction and joy can be seen on the faces of all who have completed this journey.
That joy is amplified at the moment the student’s name is read. The university president hands the student their degree, gives them a handshake and a photographer snaps the photo for posterity. You can hear the relatives yelling for them from the crowd at that moment.
Not all people who receive degrees have worked for them, though. Universities sometimes confer degrees on those who have never even set foot on the campus before. These individuals might be a speaker at graduation who is given an ‘honorary doctorate’. They didn’t work for it. They didn’t stay up late at night cramming for exams. They didn’t earn it.
In truth, people who receive such honorary degrees have accomplished something that the university staff believes is an important accomplishment that needs to be recognized. The individual has struggled with great effort to achieve some great advancement.
Sometimes, you might think, “That person didn’t deserve it!” Their achievements don’t deserve that recognition and degree.
It is true with the grace of God, too. None of us earned Christ’s salvation. None of us achieved anything remotely important enough to receive that kind of recognition. Truth be told, even our best works are touched with sin. If anything, we deserved to be kicked out of ‘school’ forever.
But God. The Father recognized the dire straights you were in. It wouldn’t have resulted in a great day of graduation, but the sum total of your life would have ended in permanent expulsion from God’s Kingdom.
So the Father sends the Son. And the Son does everything the Father expects and demands of Him. He follows Him faithfully in all things. He follows His direction all the way to Golgotha. And instead of receiving a justly-deserved crown, Jesus received your sin and a cross of death.
That death was your death. He died it for you. No one else could accomplish this. Thanks God!
And on the third day after His death, Jesus Christ was raised. This proved that God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for your sin and mine. In this resurrection, you were conferred something greater than all of the honorary doctorates in the whole world; Justification. God made the ungodly to be godly in Him. That means that when God the Father looks at you, He sees His own son and loves you.
This Justification was conferred on you through baptismal waters. You didn’t deserve it, you didn’t earn it and you didn’t achieve it. All of it was accomplished by the savior who came to save sinners. All of it was accomplished by Jesus. He conferred upon you the righteousness of God. What a great and humbling honor! It reads, ‘Christ alone is my righteousness’. Thanks be to God.