I venture to say that we never understand Jesus Christ and His work until we recognize this as its prominent purpose, to cleanse us from sin.  An inadequate conception of what we need – shallow, superficial views of the gravity and universality, and obstinacy of, the fact of sin – is an impenetrable veil between us and all real understanding of Jesus Christ.  There is no adequate motive for such an astounding fact as the incarnation and sacrifice of the Son of God except the purpose of redeeming the world.  If you do not believe that you – you, individually, and all of us, your brethren – need to be cleansed, you will find it hard to believe in the divinity and atonement of Jesus Christ.  If you have been down into the depths of your own heart and found out what tremendous, diabolic power your own evil nature and sin have upon you, then you will not be content with anything less than the incarnate God, who stoops from heaven to bear the burden of your sin and to take it all away.  If you want to understand why He laid aside His garments and took the servile form of our manhood, the appeal of man’s sin to His love and the answer of His divine condescension are the only explanation. – Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910), from a meditation on John 13.3-5.


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