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The Passion of the Christ

…to whom he also showed himself alive after his passion (emphasis added) by many proofs, appearing unto them by the space of forty days, and speaking the things concerning the kingdom of God: (Acts 1:3 ASV)

Easter Sunday is the celebration of Jesus’ return to life. It is a glorious day in Christianity, everywhere celebrated in services, and many wear “Easter” clothes, while there are other activities associated to this festive day.

Not as many celebrate Good Friday, which is the memorial to Christ’s passion and death.  But it is because of what Jesus did, ending on that Good Friday, that enables us to celebrate his resurrection.

Simply put, according to the word of God, in order for atone for sin, a sacrifice had to be made. This sacrifice had to be done by a person. It had to be done by someone who was without sin, in order to pay the price for all of us who have sinned.

The origin of this teaching goes all the way back to the book of Genesis where we see God speaking to Eve:

 And Jehovah God said unto the woman, What is this thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And Jehovah God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.  (Genesis 3:13-15 ASV)

This is the first reference in a long line of references throughout the Gods word where we see God’s plan for man’s redemption.  When we read in Genesis we see that death, both in this life, and eternally, came to be because of that original sin. The death that people experience in this life is spiritual death, separation from God.  The death that people experience eternally is that there is no relationship with God the father so there is no heaven to look forward to with him.

The apostle Paul explains the process very well in chapter 5 of his book to the Romans:

 …the love of God hath been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit which was given unto us.

For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: for peradventure for the good man some one would even dare to die.

But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Much more then, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from the wrath of God through him.

For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life; and not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

…For if by the trespass of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God, and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound unto the many.

And not as through one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment came of one unto condemnation, but the free gift came of many trespasses unto justification.

For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, even Jesus Christ.

So then as through one trespass the judgment came unto all men to condemnation; even so through one act of righteousness the free gift came unto all men to justification of life.

For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous.  (Romans 5:5-19 ASV [portions omiited])

Hopefully this text is isn’t overpowering.  Basically it says that we were sinners, and only a perfect sacrifice could restore to us that perfect, righteous relationship with God. Jesus the Christ did that for us. Before his restoration for us, we could never be righteous, we could never be anything but enemies to God. But, because of his overwhelming gift, we have access to the incredible spiritual realities of life and peace, both now and eternally.

On good Friday it is important to realize the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. He went through a terrible agony.  Isaiah chapter 53 is the word of God that foretells both the agony that Jesus had to go through for us and how it would accomplish for us great rewards:

 Who hath believed our message? and to whom hath the arm of Jehovah been revealed?

For he grew up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

He was despised, and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and as one from whom men hide their face he was despised; and we esteemed him not.

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 Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who among them considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due?

And they made his grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in his death; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand.

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors: yet he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.  (Isaiah 53:1-12 ASV)

Lets focus on some of these incredible statements and let them ring in our hearts:

he hath no form nor comeliness…

when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him…

He was despised, and rejected of men…

one from whom men hide their face…

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows..

he was wounded for our transgressions…

he was bruised for our iniquities…

with his stripes we are healed…

Jesus was flogged and the flesh was ripped from his skin. His head was encased in a crown of thorns piercing into his skull. He was beaten, ridiculed, and forced to carry his own instrument of death, the cross.  He was placed on a cross, and hung to die.

His disciples hid out of fear.  Alone, tortured beyond recognition, Jesus died.

But he died for a purpose, he was an offering for sin, and our healing:

…Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand

In becoming that perfect offering for sin, Jehovah prolonged Jesus’ days.

…He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear their iniquities.

God was satisfied with Jesus’s sacrifice, he justified “many”, he bore their sin, their iniquities.

…Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong

As a reward God gave Jesus a portion with the great, and Jesus divides that spoil with us who follow him.

….because he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors: yet he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

We get that spoil, because of what Jesus did.  He bore the sin of many and in doing so, he made intercession for us so that we could once again be restored to God

It was a in incredibly terrible agony and death with an incredibly awesome reward.

Praise the Lord. Praise his holy name. If anything is at the crux of what Christianity is for all Christians this is it. If anything is at the crux of original Christianity this is it.

Jesus went through an incredibly painful agony and death for us, and because he did, we can live forever with him, eternally healed.

©copyright 2012 Mark W. Smith, all rights reserved.

April 8th, 2012 Posted by | Basic Christianity | no comments

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