Why did Jesus have to die? How does the cross work? How did Jesus dying solve things? And if he took the sins of the world, why didn’t he suffer eternally? How did he rise again if he bore our sin? Here are some thoughts I wrote down this morning:
In Leviticus 16 it writes about how every year on the “day of atonement” the High Priest of the people of Israel would make atonement for the people (make right all of their sin and wrongdoing), by making some sacrifices and then (very) carefully entering the Most Holy Place of the temple, while holding incense so he wouldnt die in God’s presence, to sprinkle the blood on the atonement cover. The animals died in the place of those who deserved to die, the people. Then the priest put his hand on the head of another goat called the “scapegoat”, and confessed all of the sins of the people and placing them on the goat, and it was driven into the dry, baren desert. The animals suffered for the people. The same happed with Jesus when he was crucified.
As Christ died he took the sins of the world upon himself. Clothing with our unrighteousness he suffered and perished under the fearsome wrath of God. Judging sin in himself, he offered himself in order to punish sin & bring justice. Yet at the same time, by offering himself in perfect mercy for the sins of others, her performed the most perfec, selfless act of undeserved grace and mercy that as ever been offered.
“Greater love has no-one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
And so through this perfect act of love, substituting himself in our place, not only was he clothed with our sin, dying in our place, becoming sin for us, but he was also shinging forth the full glory of the eternal God, worshipping the Father in pure spotless perfection, being utterly righteous and displaying the image of God in all its fullness! He was truely “made perfect through suffering” (Hebrews 2:10), as his condemnation in our place became the source of eternal glory and righteousness that will never cease or fade. He truely “had to suffer these things and then enter his glory” (Luke 24:26).
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
His love was such that even though he was becoming “sin for us“, suffering our condemnation, it could not defat him, because for every sin he bore, he was also crowned with the pure righteousness of bearing that sin for another. Our unrighteousness could never conquer him, because his righteous mercy in being condemned for us was sufficient to cover every one. His love is such that he could not be overcome. By chosing to suffer innocently for the wrongs of others, in their place, being blighted with their unrightousness, he could not be made unrighteous. No! The more rin he bore, the more righteous he became. With every sin he endured, the more his own rightousness in covering that sin surpassed all glory and understanding. “By his knowledge [he] justified many” (Isaiah 53:11) and he has now become “the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” (Hebrews 5:9).
Taking the place of the guilty can never lead to condemnation, but only to glory, because the glory of loving someone so much much as to ensure their punishment must ALWAYS exceed the shame of their guilt and punishment itself. The act of selfless sacrifice must always overcome the guilt of the one for which it was given. The act of selfless sacrifice converts shame into glory. So he could not fail, he had to rise again. Death was conquered, it could have “no more mastery over him” (Romans 6:9). For every accusation the Accuser made, his accusations turned to praise for the Son as they met the ears of the Father. For every one of our crimes the Devil accused him of, the Son became more beautiful and glorious as he chose to die in place of the perpetrator. Thus our sin was literally anihalated by His righteousness. He could never fail. However great our sin, the creature’s unrighteousness could NEVER exceed the righteousness and perfection of the Creator.
And so we became His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). For every one of our crimes, he became its Forgiver. All of our guilt became His glory. I was created so he could die for me. In order for God’s glory to be revealed in the Son, there had to be wretched and unworthy sinners for whom he could choose to die. The Son has been made perfect forever. As the sin of the world increased, so his grace increased all the more.
“The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” (Romans 5:20)
And so we are His righteousness. The Son was born from all eternity, by redeeming the guilt of mankind. Dying for us before the foundation of the world, yet appearing now to reveal himself to us, and bring salvation to all who will believe. He has been from the beginning and he always will be. He is “a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:4). Our unrighteousness became His Glory. And so He was “vindicated by the Spirit” (1 Timothy 3:16) from the grave, the most perfect man, and lifted up to the most Holy Place, the Throne of God. This is what happened at the cross: God’s glory, His character and image, were perfectly displayed in His infinite compassion and mercy, and the Son entered His Glory. Thus he now shines eternally: the pure radiance of God, His very being perfectly displayed, all because of that cross, that death, that work. Unending realms of ineffable glory now proceed from His throne, because He is the “little lamb, looking as if it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6), “the Lamb of God who takes away the son of the world!” (John 1:29)
The seeming paradox of the cross, defeated death, annihilated sin, as the righteousness of Christ, that of suffering the punishment for another, could never be overcome by the guilt itself. So his righteousness in dying for our sin tended to infinity, and thus forced the sin he was dying for to become nil. The two could not coabide. That is why he couldnt suffer eternally. He rose three days later because our sin, was no more. It was gone, utterly vanished, conquered through perfect love.
“See, my servant will act wisely;
he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him—
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man
and his form marred beyond human likeness—
15 so will he sprinkle many nations,
and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
and what they have not heard, they will understand.” (Isaiah 52:13-15)
The wisdom of God is non retaliation and willing self sacrifice. The world can not understand it without the Spirit; it seems like foolishness to them.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)
The Devil thought he’d won. He thought he’d destroyed the Son, but with every injury Jesus submitted to, the greater His glory eventual strength became, such that “ALL authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to [Him]” (Matthew 28:18) for ever and ever. The Devil could never have won. The wisdom of God is far greater, more awesome and perfect because “God is Love” (1 John 4:16). The Devil will never understand, because he cannot understand the power of love!
So every sin I, and the whole world, has ever committed has only served to increase His righteousness and Glory!
“After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied ;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:11-12)
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (Isaiah 25:8)
His scars are now His Glory. Now that’s amazing!
Want to be forgiven? Want to become a Christian? Then believe in Him, and ask Him. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Joel 2:32, Romans 10:13).
And check this out: Two ways to live.