A Vivid Understanding Of The Atonement
Given that this weekend we celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I find myself compelled to share with you my thoughts and feelings considering this momentous occasion. This is a weekend to take the time and reflect upon what it actually cost, meant and achieved through Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, and how it applies to us. I pray this message will touch and inspire you and help shed light to questions you may have concerning our Lords sacrifice. I will also attempt to vividly express the weight and gravity as to what he actually did. I want you to see what He went through so please stick with it to the end! This teaching is not primarily for those who don’t know why mankind needs a savior but it is to help those who do not fully comprehend the immense sacrifice or fully appreciate His atonement and how it applies to us. If you are someone who wants to understand why we need a savior Click Here.
As a child I had heard people say things such as “Jesus died for us” or “Jesus died for our sins so we can go to Heaven and be with Him”. I remember thinking “that’s great, but how can someone die for me? I’m still going to die. Though He died for me, why am I forgiven by what he did?” It was hard for me to understand and correlate how a man could suffer and die for me and how in turn I get to go to heaven for it. After all, if this life teaches us anything, it teaches us that, ultimately nobody is responsible for my actions but me and there are consequences to every decision I make. Once somebody grasps this concept (usually at an early age) it becomes difficult to reason against this logic. After all isn’t this how God designed it? In a sense it is like gravity; an undeniable and permanent law in Gods design. You can’t argue it; this is a fact of life. How is it then, that Jesus could pay for the things I have done wrong?
Grasping the Atonement
It wasn’t until my adult life that I not only learned but understood how Jesus’s sacrifice for us is applied and how it works. I now realize this is elementary and should be the first thing explained to a first time hearer but nobody had ever explained to me how. In one small but mighty word; the answer is “Faith”. The Bible teaches; Romans 3: 10-12 “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” And Romans 3:23-26 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
From what we read from those scriptures we see it is our faith/belief in Jesus Christ that we may be justified from sin. When we believe in Jesus Christ our faith in Him is imputed to us from God as righteousness. Paul says it this way Romans 4:2-3 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” This was a breakthrough for me. When you put this into its simplest and purest context as we read above, it is just that, “So Simple”. Why then is it so hard for people to accept and believe? Why are there so few who are sold out to Jesus completely surrendered to Him? In most cases it’s easier for people to try and earn righteousness through good works than it is to simply believe. Good works get you nothing the Bible teaches (Ephesians 2:8). Ask most people today; what does it take to go to Heaven? Most will answer; “be a good person.” That is the wrong answer. In light of this we find out that believing isn’t “So Simple” now is it? I went most my life not understanding that simple but absolutely crucial fact, but then another question arose. If all I need to do is believe in Jesus, then why did He have to suffer and die? Paul answers that question in Romans 6:23 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. The answer; sin brings death. Another way stated; if you sin then you will die both spiritually and physically and be banished from the presence of God forever. This is another one of those “Laws” like gravity the Lord designed into His world. Did you know the reason that everybody dies is sin? You do now; the Bible tells us so. The Bible tells us that God cannot dwell with sin. In order to live with God the debt of our sin must be paid and brothers and sisters; there is no way possible for man to achieve this on his own. If we are to be redeemed, then God is going to have to do it. The “good news/gospel” is that God has done it through His son Jesus Christ. In so doing God is demonstrating to all creation both in the heaven and earth His absolute sovereignty. There is NO Life apart from God! This is why God told Adam in the Garden Genesis 2:17 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
We see from the above that death entered the world because of sin and man was cut off from the presence of God. It’s God’s law. Jesus had no sin. Did you ever stop to think that Jesus, had He not laid down His life, He may very well have been still here today living among us? Now I understand that when I was a child people would say to me “Jesus died for your sins, so that you may go to Heaven”.
God in His mercy and grace and love toward man has a plan to redeem (buy back) mankind from this state we find ourselves in (Fallen). That plan is Christ Jesus. By one mans (Adam) sin, death by sin entered the world and all are fallen (Romans 5:12), so also by one man’s gift/sacrifice/example many will be justified/reconciled to God through faith/belief (Romans 4:5) in His only begotten son, Jesus Christ. "For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, (Jesus Christ.)" (Romans 5:17). Through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we are redeemed/reconciled/justified to God and therefore heirs to eternal life through Jesus. Faith in Jesus is accounted to us as righteousness (Romans 4:5). We have been bought back/redeemed from our fallen state and will have eternal life with God in his presence for all eternity through His son Jesus! God is just and justice dictates that sin must be answered for. The penalty of sin must be paid or be cut off forever. If you die in this life without believing that Jesus paid your penalty for sin, then when you die it will be YOU who answers for your own sin and brothers and sisters know this; God cannot dwell with sin, so where then will you go? Thank God He sent his Son Jesus to pay that penalty for those of us who have faith/belief in Jesus. PRAISE GOD!
Fully Appreciating His Sacrifice
Up until now I’ve been laying the foundation as to why and how what Jesus did on the cross is so important. Now let’s look into what He endured for our sake. Please bear in mind and never forget that what Jesus went through He did voluntarily and everything He endured He was not deserving of; you are! He had enteral life! He already was equal with God! He had no need to come here and suffer! God is just and justice dictates that because of His sinless life He never should have suffered and tasted death. Jesus said John 10:17-18 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 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.” Nobody could take His life unless He allowed it. He laid down His life for you out of Love for you. Keep in mind He was fully aware of what He was going to suffer and despite knowing what He would suffer, He laid down His life out of His love for you and delivered us from our hopeless fallen state.
A Vivid Understanding
What then was it that He suffered? Was it just physical death? My friends He suffered a horrible physical death as well as, shame, rejection, punishment, curse, and poverty. My favorite Bible teacher Derek Prince helped me to understand this better and I will lean on his teachings to help illustrate this for you. Below is what Derek called the Divine Exchange. Here we get a vivid explanation and an idea as to what he endured.
Jesus was punished; that we might be forgiven. Isaiah 53:4-5 4 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. Note: He endured such physical punishment that Isaiah said He couldn’t be recognized as a man. Isaiah 52:14 14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness-
Jesus was wounded; that we might be healed. Isaiah 53:4-5 4 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. Note: He endured such physical punishment that Isaiah said He couldn’t be recognized as a man. Isaiah 52:14 14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness-
Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness; that we might be made righteous with His righteousness. 2 Corinthians 5:21 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Jesus died our death; that we might receive His life. Hebrews 2:9 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
Jesus endured our poverty; that we might share His abundance. 2 Corinthians 8:9 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. Note: Jesus died on the cross with only a tunic to His name which the soldiers cast lots for. Matthew 27:35 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. The Psalmist David spoke of this many years before His life in Psalms 22:18 18 They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.
Jesus bore our shame; that we might share His glory. Hebrews 12:2 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Note: When you see pictures of Jesus on the cross, bear this in mind; Jesus was naked. He did not wear a cloth over His gentiles like you see in pictures and people that passed by laughed and mocked Him. Can you think of anything more shameful than being stripped naked and put on display to the public? That is the meaning of Shame.
Jesus endured our rejection; that we might have His acceptance with the Father. Ephesians 1:5-6 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
Jesus was made a Curse; that we might enter into the blessing. Galatians 3:13 13 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.”
Jesus was cut off by death; that we might be joined to God eternally. Isaiah 53:8b For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. Note: When Jesus hung there on the cross he prayed to His Father and for the first time in His life His Father never answered Him back. Completely cut off from God as is the penalty for sin and completely undeserving of it. Now we can understand why He said in Matthew 27:46 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 forsaken me?”).
Our old man was put to death in Him; that the new man might come to life in us. Colossians 3:9-10 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Now I want to make this real to you. It is one thing to read it and entirely another to see it. I can’t take you back in time to show you what His crucifixion looked like but you will find below an accurate depiction of what He went through according to scripture. Warning: This is true to life depiction so parental discretion is advised. Please watch without distraction and if you can on a large TV and good sound system or with your ear buds in if using a mobile device. Please don’t shy away from watching. You will come away with a greater appreciation for our Lord Jesus and His atoning sacrifice. The following are cuts scenes from the movie “The Passion”.
Extravagant Love! He suffered this for you and I because of His unimaginable love for us! We know this has a happy ending for those who believe. Jesus Christ the Son of God came to Earth, was born of a virgin conceived by the Holy Spirit; lived a sinless life; was crucified on a Roman gibbet/cross; was buried and arose from the dead on the third day. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
I testify to you today that Jesus Christ lives. Our Father has resurrected Him and He has conquered death, hell and the grave and He now sits on His throne at the right hand of the Father. Please view the following video which depicts our risen King. The last cut scene from the movie “The Passion”.
I pray that this teaching has given you a greater appreciation and understanding for our Lord Jesus the Messiah and His atoning sacrifice for us. If you have not given yourself to Jesus, please do so today! If you want to know how to do this Click Here. If you liked this teaching please share it with everybody you can. God Bless you and Glory to Jesus!