The Master Marksman
In Switzerland there is a famous story told of a man who was an expert marksman. At the time the Habsburg Emperors were seeking to dominate Uri, the newly appointed magistrate raised his hat on the top of a pole smack in the middle of the village square. He demanded that all would bow before the pole. While this was going on the marksman passed by without bowing and was immediately arrested. He received the punishment of being forced to shoot an apple off the head of his own son. If he refused to do so the result would be the execution of both of them.
At this point many of us are familiar with the legend of William Tell who won the freedom of himself and his son, Walter Tell, when he split the apple off of his sons head with one arrow. In Switzerland today William Tell is considered a hero.
In the Bible, the word for sin in the Greek is “hamartia” which means “Missing the mark”. It speaks of an archer or bowman aiming to hit the mark of a target, bulls eye, or perhaps an apple. If the Archer were to miss the mark his ability would be considered imperfect and if the stakes were as high as that of William Tell it wouldn’t go so well.
The truth is that the stakes are pretty high when it comes to our ability of perfection or lack thereof. I’m not talking about apples or bows and arrows; I’m talking about Holiness and Sin. The standard of abiding with God in heaven is perfect holiness. The Bible tells us, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” If William Tell had an off day, which I’m sure he had at one time or another when practicing to be a marksman, his son would have died. When it comes to our spiritual life the same is true, due to an imperfect ability to gain salvation we face the consequence of death, it says in the book of Romans, “For the wages of Sin is death.” This isn’t good news for us.
“But Dan, I haven’t missed any marks, I’m a pretty good person” You claim.
To be a pretty good person doesn’t cut it, just like being an alright shot wouldn’t have cut it for Ol’ Willy Tell. You see, according to the Bible if anyone has broken the Law (also known as the 10 commandments) any law, even if it was once, then you have missed the mark, you’ve sinned, you’re guilty.
What if I don’t believe in Bible and the Ten Commandments Dan?
Your belief in the Law doesn’t void it from being the Law just like me not believing in a speed limit doesn’t get me out of a ticket when I’m caught and justice is served.
Don’t get bummed out though…there is good news!
That verse that I just quoted from Romans has a second part to it.
It tells us, “The gift of God is eternal life.” Just like Walter Tell’s dad won his life and freed, so too our heavenly daddy won our life and freedom by sending His only Son to this world to die on the cross and pay the penalty of our sin.
That’s it…Jesus is a master marksman, being fully God and fully man He was perfect and worthy to cover the consequences of our sin. When we as sons and daughters of God had the apple of Sin hanging over our heads, Jesus came and split our sin in two, not stretching out His hands for a bow and arrow, but for a few nails. He shed His blood for our punishment, saving our lives and raising His own life up, becoming the hero of our salvation.
If you wish to receive this free gift that was paid for you on the cross all you have to do is simply “believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, and confess with your mouth that He died on the cross for your sins.” (Romans 10:9-12)
I know when it comes down to a life and death target shot, I wouldn’t trust my life into anyone’s hands that were less than perfect, I’d want the highest standard of perfection deciding my outcome. Jesus has done that. He has completed the work saying, “It is finished”. And for those who have received that free gift have also received their freedom and eternal life.