Besides preaching that the kingdom of God
was at hand, Jesus also would bring sinners into
it by dying in their place and for
their sin: taking their punishment on Himself and securing forgiveness for
them, making them righteous in God’s sight and qualifying them to share in the
inheritance of the kingdom.
giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the
inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
In John 1:29 John the Baptist said, “Behold,
the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
The lamb of God goes back to the
Passover when the Angel of Death would sweep across Egypt killing the first
born unless they had blood from a lamb without defect or blemish on the door
frame of their house. If they did, God promised, the angel would see the blood
and “pass over” the house sparing them the judgment of death.
The Passover feast, and especially
the Passover lamb, became a powerful symbol of the idea that the penalty of
death for one’s sins could be paid by the death of another. This idea of “penal
substitution” in fact, grounded the entire system of Old Testament sacrifices.
Every year on the Day of Atonement the High Priest would go into the center of
the Holy of Holies and kill an unblemished animal as payment for the peoples’
Jesus came not only to preach
God’s kingdom, but to die as a substitutionary sacrifice for His people. The
“once and for all” sacrifice.
Jesus knew it from the beginning.
And He foretold His death many times:
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to
give his life as a ransom for many.
26:28 This is my blood of the
covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
John 10:15, 18 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my
life for the sheep. No one takes it from
me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and
authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.
He did it willingly and out of love for His
The early Christians knew what He
accomplished on the cross.
Paul said in Galatians 3:13-14 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law
by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung
on a pole.”14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to
Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we
might receive the promise of the Spirit.
And also in 2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for
us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
And Peter said in 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also
suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
And in 1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might
die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
Jesus did not die for punishment
of His own sins. He didn’t have any! It was punishment for His people’s sins!
All their (and our) rebellion, disobedience and sin were on His shoulders when
He hung on the cross. And the curse that God had pronounced in Eden – the sentence of death – struck.
Matthew 27:46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out
in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema
sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you
At that moment, God, His Father,
who is Holy and righteous, whose eyes are too pure even to look on evil, looked
at His Son and saw the sins of His Son’s people resting on His shoulders and
looked away while His wrath poured down on Jesus. Darkness covered the earth for 3 hours. The
darkness of judgment.
Isaiah prophesized about this 7
Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 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.
Our sins! His punishment! His death!
And of course all this is true and
good news only because King Jesus rose from the dead and lives!
Luke 24:5-6 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground,
but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He
is not here; he has risen!
Romans 8:33-34 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God
who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one.
Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right
hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Jesus sits at God’s right hand
right now interceding for His people while He awaits His glorious return.
Who are His People? Christians.
The definition of a Christian is one who turns away from his sin and trusts in
the Lord Jesus Christ – and nothing else – to save him from sin and the coming
Labels: evangelism, God's plan