Jesus Death Was…

Jesus-Cross-Hope    Who would think of sending a shepherd boy armed with only a slingshot into a fight against a trained soldier over nine feet tall? Who would think of promising a child to a couple in their nineties? Who would
think of defeating a heavily fortified city by walking around it and blowing trumpets? Who would think of feeding over 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish? Who would think of taking the most vehement enemy of the early Church and turning him into the number one missionary, theologian and proponent of Christianity? Of course God would do all of those things.

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength” (1 Corinthians 1:25). The greatest example of this is the cross of Jesus Christ. Who would think of giving the whole world life through one man’s death? Who would think of God becoming a human being in order to die for the sins of the world? Who would think of making a symbol of death, the cross, a symbol of life? “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” (1 Corinthians 1:18).
In Mark 10:45 Jesus is speaking to His disciples and tells them this: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
From this verse we see three things about the cross and Jesus’ death on it.

First, Jesus death was the very purpose for His coming into the world. Jesus knew He had to go and that He would go to the cross. This idea is traceable throughout the Bible and certainly we see it in the book of Mark where in several verses Jesus tells His disciples this very truth to prepare them for it.

Mark 8:31 “And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” Also in Mark 9:31 “For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, ‘The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.’” And again in Mark 10:32b-34 “And again He took the twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him, saying, ‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again.’”

We see this very same purpose spoken of in Mark 10:45 when Jesus says He came not be to served, but to serve. Jesus came to be a servant. His service to others would lead to the cross, the ultimate act of service. Jesus purpose for coming to the earth was the cross. Jesus came into this world to die. It was why He was born.

Second, Jesus death on the cross was entirely voluntary. The verse says that Jesus came “to give His life.” He freely gave it. No one forced Him, no one overpowered Him, no one tricked Him into dying on the cross. He voluntarily laid down His life. Death did not sneak up on Jesus, it did not take Him by surprise or catch Him off guard.

Given who He was, God Himself, He could have ended the whole episode at any time. He could have prevented His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. He could have walked out of Pilate’s courtroom as He had walked through a murderous mob earlier in His life (John 10:39). He could have asked the Father and been given legions of angels to aid Him (Matthew 26:53). He could have come down from the cross at any moment, just as his enemies taunted him to do (Matthew 27:41-42). But Jesus didn’t do any of those things. Instead He voluntarily endured every moment of suffering and ultimately died on the cross. Jesus gave His life.

Third, Jesus death on the cross was a ransom. The word ransom refers to the price of release. In Jesus day, this word was used to refer to the price someone would pay to buy a slave in the market place. It’s as if we were slaves and Jesus paid the price for our freedom and that is of course exactly what Jesus did. As human beings we were slaves to sin and sin had absolute control over us, but with Christ’s death on the cross He has payed the way for our freedom. The price of our ransom was His very life. Jesus provided the ransom payment with His death on the cross.

How do we respond to all of this? First, we need to accept the payment for our sins by believing He died for us. We accept His payment for our sins by believing that what Jesus did on the cross will save us. We must individually accept that Jesus death on the cross ransomed us from the power of sin and that it alone saves us. A person would have to be crazy to have the ransom paid and not go free! Second, once you have accepted His payment for your sins (His ransom of you) continue to allow His truth to transform your life. Our believing is only the beginning of our relationship with Jesus. He wants us to follow His truth and obey Him in living this life every day. The Bible has a great deal of instruction for us and we need to be reading it and obeying it daily. Through the Bible God speaks to us about every aspect of our lives and relationships. In the Bible we find out how much God wants for us in this life. Take time to respond to the incredible gift God has made available to each of us first by believing and then by obeying.