Around 2,000 years ago, some 7,000 miles away, a homeless man was taken and brutally nailed to a cross, suffering the most painful of all deaths—crucifixion. This man is Jesus, and his death has serious implications for those who trust him. In this sermon series we will examine the the death of Jesus under 5 headings: Jesus, the Sacrifice, the Justifier, the Redeemer, the Reconciler, and the Champion.
We need Jesus to be our sacrifice because our sin has left us filthy and the sacrificial system is all about making sinners clean. Thankfully the gospel tells us that as the true High Priest, on the final Day of Atonement, Jesus walked into the heavenly Holy of Holies and offered Himself as the ultimate Lamb of God. Why? To take away the sins of the world. The sacrifices of the Old Testament were unable to take away sins because animals were unfit representatives for sinful humans. However, Jesus was not. He is God—strong enough to pile our filth on His back; yet He is also man—weak enough to die as a substitute for sinners. Jesus sacrifice was such a success that He is seated at the right hand of the father, waiting for enemies’ backs to prop up His feet, and has “perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” On the cross, He accomplished both our inner cleansing (purifying our desires) and outer cleansing (paying for our forgiveness). Through faith in Jesus we are made clean.
We need Jesus’ righteousness because, on our own, we stand before God unrighteous, unjustified, guilty of cosmic treason. We can get Jesus’ righteousness because He became “a propitiation by His blood.” Because of Jesus’ work on the cross, God can justify sinners without compromising His holy character. God justifies us by grace through faith, “so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).
The Biblical word that’s translated Redemption literally means to set something free from slavery. In John chapter 8, Jesus sheds light on our need for redemption, saying, “All who commit sin are a slave to sin.” Our main problem is not physical or psychological, but spiritual. On our own, without being redeemed in Christ, we are slaves to sin. Thankfully, in Ephesians 1:7, Paul writes, “In [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood.” By paying our ransom on the cross, Jesus redeems us from the Pleasure of sin (Rom. 7:18-23), the Penalty for sin (Eph. 1:7), the Power of sin (Rom. 6:12-14), and the Presence of sin (Rev. 21:1-5).
Genesis chapter three helps us see why we aren’t the way we feel we should be. It’s answer is because we aren’t where we should be—we’re exiles. Because of our sin we were banished from the presence of God and are now spiritual wanderers. This spiritual exile brings psychological breakdown, social strife, and physically suffering. We’re built for the presence of God, beholding the face of God, holding the hand of God. This is the fulfillment, safety, acceptance, and healing we’re longing for; this is home. How can we get back? Genesis chapter three gives us hints, pointing us to Jesus’ death on the cross: someones going to have to be bruised and struck so we can be healed (vv. 15), someone’s going to have to be stripped so we can be clothed (vv. 21), someone’s going to have to be cast out and go under the sword so we can be brought in (vv. 24). In His life and death, Jesus took our deserved exile so that He could do away with it and give us His deserved home (Hebrews 13:12). In His resurrection, He secured our new citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:20-21).
Colossians 2:13-15 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authoritiesand put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.