Continuing on with this month’s theme, I need to explain why Christ was crucified. Jesus himself explained why in John 3:16 (KJV). “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.”
From the beginning, God’s plan of salvation called for his son to be the substitute to take the punishment of those who would put their lives in his hands. He promised this way back in Genesis 3:15. The King James Version reads, “And I (God) will put enmity between thee (Satan) and the woman, (Eve) and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This “seed” is none other than Jesus Christ. The “him” in that passage is the Devil.
Isaiah 53:5 (KJV)foretold Christ’s atoning work. “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.”
Furthermore, Jesus was no hapless victim, as some folks believe but a willing saviour who died and rose to save his followers. John 10:18 (KJV) reads, “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
Being human as well as divine, Jesus still had his qualms about being our spiritual whipping boy. John 12:27 (KJV) records him as saying, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour:’ but for this cause came I unto this hour.”
Jesus could have easily chickened out but he staid the course. John 18:37 (KJV) describes how he was resolute in his purpose. “Pilate therefore said unto him, ‘Art thou a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.'”
Christ knew what his sacrifice would eventually accomplish. Hebrews 12:2 (KJV) explains, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
In addition to having all power and authority in heaven and earth, Christ is our go-between, advocating our case to his heavenly Father. As Hebrews 9:15 (KJV) explains, “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”
Additionally, Christ always had the long view in mind. 1 Corinthians 15:28 (KJV) shows this when Paul wrote, “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”
What an awesome truth this is! From before creation, the Trinity agreed on this mighty plan to provide Christ a gift, meaning those who would believe in him, so he could lay us at the Father’s feet as a token of his love.
I hope to write much more on this mind-boggling rescue mission and gift of love in a book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? If people could have even a glimpse of how comprehensive the Lord’s plan is, it would astonish them and even cause them to surrender to Christ’s will.