The Purpose of His Passion
“Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:4-6
His Coming, Prophesied
Seven hundred years before Jesus Christ walked the shores of Galilee, the prophet Isaiah wrote these amazing prophecies about the Savior.
Does 700 years sound like a long time to you? Seven hundred years ago, the Black Plague was sweeping through Europe; the poet Chaucer was writing Canterbury Tales.
To put the miracle of Isaiah’s prophecy in context, it would be as though Chaucer in 1300 wrote with accuracy about the events of 2010. Yet this is what Isaiah did when he described the coming Messiah.
Fast-forward in your Bible from Isaiah to 1 Peter 3:18. Notice three key words in this verse and fill them in:
“For Christ also hath once suffered for _________, the _________ for the ______________, that He might bring us to God.” (KJV)
A CLOSER LOOK AT “THE JUST”
Peter said God is “the just.” What does that mean? God is perfectly, totally, completely righteous and holy. Being just, He cannot overlook sin. If you were to go through all the dictionaries in the world to find the best word to describe God, what do you think it would be? Most people would say “Love.” He is infinite, matchless, indescribable, fathomless love. But the best word would be “holy.” Isaiah caught a glimpse of God (Isa. 6:1-4) and immediately heard the angels around Him: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD God of hosts.” God is the compete antithesis of sin. He is holy, the just One.
In contrast, if you were to take just one word that would describe man by nature, it would have to be the word sin. The “unjust” encompasses every son or daughter born of Adam. We have come short of His glory. Look at Romans 3:23 for our diagnosis.
For ________have _______________and _________ ______________ of the glory of God.”
His Sacrifice, Purposeful
Not a Martyr
Jesus Christ did not die as a martyr. He was not a helpless victim. Read what He says about His own death in John 10:17-18:
“I ______ ________ My life that I might take it again. No man__________________ it from Me, but I lay it down ____ _________. I have__________ to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”
Not an Example
Nor did Jesus Christ die as an example, though it was the greatest example of sacrifice the world has ever known. Salvation does not come by learning lessons from the life of Christ, but by receiving life from the death of Christ.
But a Substitute
Jesus died upon the cross as a substitute. He took your place and mine. He died instead of us, “the just for the unjust.”
His Death, Problematic
We know the sinless Son of God died for us. Nevertheless, do you sometimes wonder why it had to be that way? Some might ask:
“After all, isn’t God a God of love? And isn’t God all-powerful? If He wanted to forgive sin, why couldn’t He just say, ‘Are you sorry for your sin? Okay, I forgive you.’”
God is holy and just. We are unholy, unjust. God cannot overlook sin. If He were to say, “My love allows your sin to go unpunished,” then (though some might call Him loving) God would be unjust, unholy. God Himself would have broken His own law:
“The wages of sin is _________.”(Romans 6:23)
“The soul that ________________, it will ______.” (Ezekiel 18:20)
God cannot merely overlook sin. But He is a God of infinite love. So we ponder, how could a holy God punish sin and love the sinner at the same time?
The Son, the Solution
The problem is solved by Calvary. Turn to 2 Corinthians 5:19. God allowed His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to take our sins upon Himself.
God was in ___________, _________________ the ____________ unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Here the Doctor not only makes a house call but cures the patient by taking the patient’s sickness. He dies, the just for the unjust.
Consider a courtroom. The Judge not only finds the criminal guilty, but then steps from behind the bench, stands in place of the accused, and takes the punishment upon Himself—the just for the unjust.
You’ll never understand the cross until you understand the principle of substitution. Jesus Christ died instead of us.
The cross is not an accident or an afterthought; it was in the heart and mind of God before the world was framed. Jesus Christ was born in the shadow of the cross.
“…the book of life of the Lamb slain from the ____________________ of the ________________.” (Revelation 13:8)
When was it known that Jesus Christ would have to die?____________________
Before God framed the universe, flung out the sun, moon, and stars, scooped out the oceans and heaped up the mountains, God saw the cross. As early as Genesis 3:15, the cross is portrayed.
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”
God is speaking in this passage. To whom is He speaking? __________________
Who is the “Seed”?_______________________________
The one who bruises the serpent’s head will be _______________________.
Man’s Homemade Solution
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, they tried to hide their shame by stitching together fig leaves! Ever since, man has tried to provide his own covering for sin, whether it be good works, religious systems, or “hoping God will understand.” None of them work, for God has established what it takes to wash away our sins.
The River of Blood
Payment for sin begins in Genesis.
As early as Genesis 3, the innocent had to die to provide a covering for the guilty. No fig leaves. God clothed Adam and Eve with coats of animal skin. Have you ever thought about the fact that God had to take part of His perfect creation, which He had called “very good,” and kill it? He had to slay innocent animals. Death had indeed entered the Garden. There was shed blood. That’s not incidental but is there to teach us that we need a covering, and that covering cannot come apart from shed blood.
What is the key word in Hebrews 9:22?
“Without shedding of _____________, there is no remission”
Adam and Eve’s two sons, Cain and Abel, came to make a sacrifice to God. One was a keeper of flocks, the other a farmer. Cain tried to offer God the works of his own hands: fruits and vegetables of the ground. They may have been beautiful, like a county fair, but Genesis 4:5 says of this offering, “He (God) ______ ____ _____________.” God had earlier said, “Cursed is the ground.” Abel, in contrast, took the firstlings of the flock, slew a lamb and offered that to God. The Bible says God had respect for Abel’s offering. Why was this?____________________________________________________________
“Without shedding of blood is no remission.”
The river continues. Because men grew increasingly wicked, God destroyed the world with a flood, sparing only Noah and his family. What was the first thing Noah did when he came out of the ark into a new world?
“And Noah built an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered ____________ ________________ on the altar.” (Genesis 8:20)
The red river is flowing. “Without shedding of blood is no remission.”
Then God calls Abraham to form a new people, His people. In a test of obedience and faith, when Abraham is about to sacrifice Isaac, God provides a substitute, a ram with horns caught in a thicket, a ram with a “crown of thorns,” if you will. God says, “Abraham, offer that ram in the place of your son.” What is this? Again, sacrifice. An innocent animal dies in Isaac’s place.
He’s showing Abraham without shedding of blood is no remission.
The river of blood continues into Egypt, where God’s people are enslaved. He tells Moses to have them place the blood of a lamb upon their doorposts.
And the ___________ shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the ____________, I will ________ ________ you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:13)
Every year “Passover” was commemorated with the sacrifice of a spotless lamb. For hundreds of years God built into His people a conditioned response: sin can only be covered through a blood sacrifice.
Every smoking altar tells the story, “without shedding of blood is no remission of sin.”
JOHN THE BAPTIST
Hebrews 10:1 tells us that all these sacrifices in the Old Testament, beginning with the coats of skin for Adam and Eve, were only shadows of Christ, the fulfillment. One day John the Baptist saw the very Son of God coming and said, “Behold, the ___________ of _______ that taketh away the sin of the world,” Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of these types and shadows.
Throughout the Bible you will find “types and shadows” of something to come. What is a shadow?
A CLOSER LOOK AT “SHADOWS”
In life, a shadow is an outline that has no detail and no color. Your body casts a shadow upon the ground. But it’s not the shadow that really matters; it’s the body that counts. The shadows in Scripture—animal skins for Adam and Eve, the lamb’s blood upon the doorpost—were pointing to the reality: the Lord Jesus Christ. They were getting people ready for His sacrifice.
Jesus, the fulfillment of these shadows, died on the same day as the Passover lambs were being slain. On Mount Moriah, the same limestone ridge where Levitical priests were putting to death innocent lambs, long ago God had told Abraham, “God will provide Himself a lamb.” Jesus said, “Abraham saw My day, and was glad.” (John 8:56)
His Sacrifice, Our Redemption
To the priests on Mount Moriah, Jesus Christ could say, “Your work is over. Put away your knives. We don’t need any more lambs. We don’t need any more sacrifices. The Lamb has died and has paid in full.”
He saw our need and said, “No price is too great to pay.” He takes us by the hand and brings us to God through His sacrifice at Calvary.