1Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. – Isaiah 53:1-5

Similar to a few other sports, the game of baseball has a way of affirming your effort on the field. Everybody knows that a dirty uniform means that you gave it all. Whether that was laying out for a ball or sliding into a base, putting your body on the ground means something in sports. There is a sense of satisfaction when your jersey is covered in dirt, grass, and even blood stains after the game. At the same time, there tends to be tension when a player covered in stains sees a teammate who played with a clean jersey. The effort doesn’t seem mutual and the player with the dirty jersey can feel like their teammate didn’t have their back.

This imagery came to me as I thought of the life of Jesus, particularly His birth and death. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came and dwelled among us by being born in a stable in the little town of Bethlehem. Quite literally, the birth of Jesus was God getting His hands and feet dirty. Jesus didn’t keep His uniform clean but stepped off His throne to be born in a manger for the salvation of you and me. Fast-forward to the end of His life and Jesus doesn’t only come to walk among us, but He lays it all on the line and puts His body on the ground. His garments, before they cast lots for them, certainly had dirt, grass and blood stains.

To be clear, the “game” of salvation and redemption was something we could never play. We cannot work hard enough or get our uniforms dirty enough to save ourselves. We weren’t just an underdog to sin, but rather we were dead in our sins until Jesus stepped into the dirt with us and offered us resurrection. Now we can put on His uniform – the one with dirt, grass and blood stains – and share in the satisfaction of His victory. The Heavenly Father looks down on us with delight and joy, not because we gave it all, but because we wear the jersey of the One who did. God has our back. He doesn’t sit back while His people suffer and toil about in the dirt. He came and got His hands dirty with us, offering us life and hope in the meantime.

  • Prayerfully reflect on the birth and death of Jesus. What did it look like?
  • Who’s “jersey” are you wearing? Ask God to clothe you in Christ’s righteousness.
  • Praise God for coming to us in Jesus Christ!