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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’ death’

Two nights ago I struggled to get back to sleep after feeding baby G and my mind wandered and I suddenly felt compelled to write a post about the significance of the cross because so few people I know really know the full benefits of Jesus’ sacrifice and the significance of why He had to do it.

First of all I want to start with the basic principle which most Christians understand, but I want to write about it in any case just for those that might come upon this blog who might not be a Christian.

After Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, by eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God had to make a plan so that their sins could be forgiven.  He already made a perfect plan but that plan could not yet come to pass, so in the mean time animals had to be sacrificed so that mankind’s sins could be forgiven.

Unfortunately they kept on sinning so it was a continuous process of sacrificing animals to pay for the sins.  If someone sinned and he did not sacrifice an animal and he did not repent God had to punish that person, because that is how God works.  God said that there is a punishment for sin, and God cannot go back on His word.  Numbers 23:19 (NIV): 19 God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil?”  Someone had to pay the penalty for the sin –  either the sinner or the sacrificed animal.

Until Jesus came along – He was God’s perfect plan – He was sacrificed on the cross and He had to die, to pay for all the sins of all mankind. It was a perfect sacrifice and the price was paid in full.  So God does not want to punish us anymore, because His entire wrath was taken out on Jesus.  When we think God punishes us today, we actually make Jesus’ sacrifice void, because we are saying it was not good enough to pay for our sins.  We are then rejecting Jesus’ sacrifice and also rejecting Jesus.

Some people are not going to be happy with this, because it might sound like I’m saying that you can go ahead and sin now, since Jesus paid for all our sins (those that we’ve already committed and those that we will still commit) more than 2000 years ago.  I’m not saying that, because there is another consequence to sinning, and that is by giving in to temptation and sinning you are giving authority over to the devil, and by doing that you are allowing him to do things in your life, like for instance make you sick.  That is not the only way of giving authority to the devil – for instance fear, unforgiveness, or speaking negative things over yourself or other people are also ways to do that.

Genesis 15:4-21 (NIV):  4 Then the word of the LORD came to him: This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir. 5 He took him outside and said, Look up at the heavens and count the stars— if indeed you can count them. Then he said to him, So shall your offspring be.  6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. 7 He also said to him, I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.

 8 But Abram said, O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I shall gain possession of it? 9 So the LORD said to him, Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon. 10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. 11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away. 

12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13 Then the LORD said to him, Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and ill-treated four hundred years. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterwards they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure. 17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking brazier with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 

18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, ephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

In the Old Testament God made a covenant with Abraham.  He did it so that Abraham could know that He would not break His word and that the promises he made to him would come true, and this way was the traditional custom of that day – I guess you can say the way they used to draw up a contract like we do today.  Usually the lesser person, eg the youngest would walk between the animal pieces, but here God was the one that moved between the pieces.  It signified that if one of the two parties would break the covenant then that person would be willing to be cut in half like these animals were.  So it was a seriously binding contract in those days.

When Jesus came and spilled His blood a New Covenant was made that overruled the covenant made to Abraham.  Here God Himself spilled His blood, and this time he not only paid for our sins, but he took the curse upon Himself, so that we didn’t have to be cursed.  Galatians 3:13 (NIV): 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 tree.”  The tree here refers to the cross.

Galatians 3: 6-9 (NIV): 6 Consider Abraham: He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. 7 Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: All nations will be blessed through you. 9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” Paul says here that everybody that believes in God is a child of Abraham, and because we believe we will be blessed just like Abraham.

So by Jesus’ sacrifice not only are all the promises in the Bible applicable to all who has accepted Him as their saviour but all the curses in the Bible is not applicable anymore, because Jesus took the curse upon Him.  So once again if you think you are cursed, then you are rejecting Jesus.

Most people only know that Jesus died for our sins, but that is not the only thing He did for us.  Because of the stripes (the lashings He received before He was crucified) we don’t have to be sick, since He took that upon Himself too.  1 Peter 2:24 (NIV):  24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” 

God also wants us to prosper, and not be poor.  2 Corinthians 8:9 (NIV):  9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” 

The last thing that was also covered by Jesus’ sacrifice is deliverance from evil, demonic oppression and depression.  Galatians 1:4 (NIV):  4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.” 

We call these 4 things the atonement.  Jesus atoned for our sins, our health, our prosperity and deliverance from evil, with his sacrifice on the cross. The price was paid – once and that one time was enough.  It is a sufficient price and it doesn’t have to be paid again, so God doesn’t want us to be sick or poor or depressed for example, because Jesus paid the full price at Calvary.  So when we are suffering from the above, we are not living a victorious life, like God intended for us.  The sad thing is most Christians don’t know this and there is most of the time no discernable difference between a Christian and someone who hasn’t been saved.  Christians are just as sick as people who are not saved, or just as poor, or just as depressed.

Do you know what the implication is of Jesus’ atonement?  You don’t have to pray and ask for healing, because God made provision for it a long time ago.  Long before you were born, God already said, “You are healed.”  That is why the verse in 1 Peter 2:24 is past tense, “by His wounds you have been healed.”  We don’t have to wonder if it’s God’s will to be healed, because it is!  Jesus paid the price, whether you make use of it or not!

The last thing I want to say is that through Jesus’ resurrection He defeated the devil once and for all!  That also means that through Christ we can defeat the devil too!  Luke 10:19 (NIV):  19I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”

Now isn’t that good news?  No better than good news, awesome news!  Now you know that God wants you to be a victorious Christian!

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John 3:16 (NIV):  16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

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Tomorrow is Ascension Day, a day that is missed by a lot of Christians these days (at least here in South Africa, because it’s not a public holiday anymore).  I’ll explain what it is all about for those who don’t know the meaning of Ascension Day with the help of my reference Bible. 

Acts 1:9-11 (NIV):  9After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.  10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.  11 Men of Galilee, they said, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

“It was very important that the disciples had to see how Jesus ascended up to heaven.  This would leave them with no doubt that He is God and that His true home is somewhere else.  Jesus was here on earth with His disciples for 40 days after His resurrection and then He ascended up to heaven.  Two angels told the disciples that Jesus will come back just as He left, and that everybody will see Him return.  History is not just a lot of random facts.  No, it’s a definite movement to a specific point in time, that time when Jesus will return to earth, to judge all people and to reign over the earth.  We must be ready for His return; we don’t prepare for it to look up at the clouds all day, but by working hard to spread the Gospel, so that others can also have a part of the blessings of God.”

John 16:7 (NIV):  7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”

“If Jesus did not do what He was sent to do by the Father, there would not have been any Good News.  If He didn’t die, there would have been no forgiveness for our sins, and if He wasn’t raised from death, He wouldn’t have conquered death and would it have been impossible for us to get access to eternal life.  If He didn’t ascend up to heaven, the Father would not have sent the Holy Spirit.  The redeeming presence of Jesus Christ was limited to a specific time in history and His departure meant that He was replaced forever by the Holy Spirit who can be present on all of earth.”

Ephesians 1:20-21 (NIV):  20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”

“Jesus is now the head of the church, after his resurrection from death, and He reigns over the entire world.   He is also the Messiah, God’s anointed; the One who Israel longed for, the One who came to fix all that was broken and all that went wrong.  You can therefore know that God had the final victory and He is in charge of everything.  There is nothing you have to fear, no invisible forces and certainly not the devil.  The contract has already been signed, and we must just wait a little bit before the delivery will be made.  Yes, nothing can separate us from the love of God! (Rom 8:37-39 (NIV):  “37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”)

Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV):  9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

“During the final judgement, everybody – even those who will be judged – will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord!”

John 14:2-3 (NIV):  2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.  3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

Isn’t it a wonderful comfort to know that Jesus has gone up to heaven to prepare a place for you and me, before He will come back to fetch us?  It certainly is very comforting to me…

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I’m discussing the power of the blood of Jesus Christ today – the third and final part of the book:  “The Wo.rd, the Na.me, the Bl.ood” by Joy.ce Mey.er.  I’m quoting directly from the book again:

Hebrews 9:19-20 (NIV):  19 When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people.    20 He said, This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.”

“The word of God holds no power for the believer who has no understanding concerning the blood. Hebrews 9:19-20 verifies this need in people’s lives.  Under the Old Covenant when the book of the Law was read, it was sprinkled with blood and so were the people.  This was a way of sealing and ratifying the testament or covenant between God and Israel.”

“The New Covenant always offers a better way, a new living way.  Under the New Covenant we do not have to sprinkle the blood of animals on the Bible and ourselves before reading, but we do need an understanding about the blood of Jesus that has been poured out for us which has sealed and ratified the New Covenant that we now have with God.”

Ephesians 1:7 (NIV):  7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”

“God wants to restore you and me to the place of authority that is ours.  He has already made all the arrangements; we might say He has “sealed the deal.”  The purchase price has been paid in full.  We have been purchased with a price, the precious blood of Jesus.”

“We are delivered from sin and all the “death” it brings with it.  Worry, anxiety and fear are forms of death.  Strife, bitterness and resentment are forms of death.  Sickness and disease are forms of death.  All of these are “portions of death” that are a result of sin on this earth.”

“But God purchased back the crowning glory of His creation.  He bought us with the blood of His own Son – the precious blood of Jesus!  Oh, the blood! What a precious treasure it is!  Why did it have to be the blood that purchased our salvation?  Because the life is in the blood, and life is the only antidote for death.”

1 Peter 1:19 (NIV):  19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

“Jesus’ blood is precious before the Father and should be precious to us.  Precious means valuable.  A precious thing is something we protect, something we are careful with, something we do not want to part with.  The blood of Jesus is precious and should be honoured and respected.  One of the ways we can honour the blood is by singing about it, talking about it, studying about it and meditating on it.”

Colossians 2:15 (NIV):  15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”

Colossians 1:20 (NIV):  20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

“These scriptures clearly reveal to us why Satan is afraid of the blood of the Cross – because it was by the blood that he was defeated!  If Satan had known what he was doing when he crucified the Lord of glory, he would have never done it.  He thought the crucifixion was his greatest victory, but actually it was his ultimate defeat.  No wonder Satan hates the blood. No wonder he is afraid of the blood.  If he had known what he was doing, he would never have shed that innocent blood.  But it was done “once and for all,” and it can never be undone.”

“Satan could not have touched Jesus had the Father not allowed it.  But He did allow it because He had a glorious plan, a mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to us in Jesus Christ.”

“So often in our lives, Satan thinks he is doing something terrible to us that will finish us off, and yet God has another plan entirely.  He intends to take what Satan means for our harm and work it not only for our good, but for the good of many to whom we will minister.”

“Let me say here that Satan certainly wants to accuse us; as a matter of fact, he is called “the accuser of our brethren” (Rev 12:10).  Our only defense is the blood of Jesus.  We cannot offer our own righteousness or perfect record of good behavior, but we can offer the blood of Jesus.  In truth we dare not offer anything but the blood!”

“When I pray, using the name of Jesus, or pleading the blood of Jesus, I am merely exercising my legal rights.  I am setting forth my case that Jesus shed His blood and died for me; therefore, Satan has no right to rule me, accuse me, condemn me or do anything that belongs to me.”

Can you see that there is power in God’s word, in Jesus’ name and in the blood that he shed for us?  It is there available for us to use and apply it in our lives.  We must just make use of it.  It will be our own loss if we do not use it…

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I’ve been reading the story of Jesus’ crucifixion in the Gospel of Luke these past few days and somehow it seems that it always works out that way that I get to this amazing story around Easter time. When I was a child I remember our preacher coming to visit once and asking my sister and me what our favorite Bible stories were. Mine was the story of Joseph, but my sister’s was the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. At first I was shocked – how can anybody say that is their favorite story – but then the preacher explained it all to me. Now it is also my favorite story, but it’s part of a larger picture, let me try to explain it all:

Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden when they ate from the tree of good and evil, but God loved them so much that he immediately worked out a plan of salvation for mankind. God had to punish sin because He is holy. God doesn’t want to punish (Ezekiel 18:23(AMP): 23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked? says the Lord, and not rather that he should turn from his evil way and return [to his God] and live?”), (2 Peter 3:9 (AMP):9 The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance.”), He wants to save because He loves (John 3:16 (AMP):16 For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.”) no matter how bad our sin is. God wants to forgive so that our relationship with Him can be restored.

God gave the 10 commandments at Mount Sinai for 3 reasons: 1. it acts as a mirror and exposes the sin in our lives and shows us that we are lost, 2. to let us realize that we need salvation through Jesus Christ and 3. to reveal to believers what the meaning is of practical love. In the Old Testament the Israelites had to give a sin offering to get forgiveness of their sins, and some animal had to die in the offering (Exodus 29:10-14). Sin causes a breakdown in the relationship between God and us and that leads to problems in all aspects of life, and the offering was a way for their sins to be forgiven. Unfortunately we keep on sinning, so they had to give offers continually.

God sent his Son to earth to be born as a baby. God impregnated the Virgin Mary with the help of the Holy Spirit. That is why Jesus is God, but also man. Jesus humbled Himself and gave up his place in Heaven to come and live on earth and he was tempted in the desert by the devil, but He never gave in to temptation nor sinned. Jesus was unfairly accused (Luke 23:2 (AMP):2 And they began to accuse Him, asserting, We found this Man perverting (misleading, corrupting, and turning away) our nation and forbidding to pay tribute to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), a King!”), he was ridiculed (Luke 22:63-65 (AMP): 63 Now the men who had Jesus in custody treated Him with contempt and scoffed at and ridiculed Him and beat Him; 64 They blindfolded Him also and asked Him, Prophesy! Who is it that struck You? 65 And they said many other evil and slanderous and insulting words against Him, reviling Him.”), Jesus was whipped and beaten (John19:1 (AMP):1 SO THEN Pilate took Jesus and scourged (flogged, whipped) Him.”) and a crown of thorns was put onto His head (John 19:2 (AMP):2 And the soldiers, having twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and threw a purple cloak around Him.”)

Neither Herod nor Pilate could find Jesus guilty (Luke 23: 15-16 (AMP):15 No, nor indeed did Herod, for he sent Him back to us; behold, He has done nothing deserving of death. 16 I will therefore chastise Him and deliver Him amended (reformed, taught His lesson) and release Him.” (Luke 23: 20-22 (AMP):20 Once more Pilate called to them, wishing to release Jesus; 21 But they kept shouting out, Crucify, crucify Him! 22 A third time he said to them, Why? What wrong has He done? I have found [no offense or crime or guilt] in Him nothing deserving of death; I will therefore chastise Him [in order to teach Him better] and release Him.” The people wanted to hear nothing of it and demanded that Barabbas be released instead. (Luke 23: 18 (AMP):18 But they all together raised a deep cry [from the depths of their throats], saying: Away with this Man! Release to us Barabbas!” The irony is that Barabbas was guilty of the crime that Jesus was accused of, but set free. He incited a riot against the Romans, and he was therefore very popular amongst the Jews. The meaning of Barabbas: the Greek form of the name Bar-Abba, which means the son of Abba (Abba = father), thus the son of the father. It is even more ironic that the human, sinful son of the father could go free (even when he was guilty), but the innocent Son of the Father was found guilty and given the death penalty.

Jesus had to carry the crossbar himself, but because he was too weak from the flogging he received earlier (which was sometimes enough to kill a man) they made Simon of Cyrene carry it for Him. (Luke 23:26). In those days crucifixion was the worst death penalty given to the worst criminals. Can you imagine how dreadful it must have been for Jesus, because He was innocent? It was not easy for Him to go through it all (Luke 22:42-44 (AMP):42 Saying, Father: if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done. 43 And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him in spirit. 44 And being in an agony [of mind], He prayed [all the] more earnestly and intently, and His sweat became like great clots of blood dropping down upon the ground.” (This is a real medical condition called Hematidrosis by the way, which occurs when a person is suffering extreme levels of stress).

The crucifixion was incredibly cruel – Nails (6-8 inches long) were driven into His wrists, tearing a tendon that extends to the shoulder. Both his feet were nailed together and that forced Jesus to alternatively support Himself by arching His back or supporting Himself on the single nail that went through his feet just so that He could breathe. Jesus endured this for more than 3 hours…

There were two criminals on crosses on either side of Jesus. One repented and asked Jesus to remember him (Luke 23:40-44 (AMP):40 But the other one reproved him, saying, Do you not even fear God, seeing you yourself are under the same sentence of condemnation and suffering the same penalty? 41 And we indeed suffer it justly, receiving the due reward of our actions; but this Man has done nothing out of the way [nothing strange or eccentric or perverse or unreasonable]. 42 Then he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when You come in Your kingly glory! 43 And He answered him: Truly I tell you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”) The fact that Jesus said that the criminal will be in Paradise is proof that one cannot get into heaven with good deeds alone, but only through faith in Jesus Christ. Even when Jesus was enduring this incredible suffering, he was still merciful to this criminal. This criminal’s faith was greater than the faith of the disciples, because most of them were in hiding at that stage. Jesus was abandoned by those closest to Him when He was in His greatest need.

The crucifixion of Jesus happened during Passover and that was no coincidence. (Mark 14:1-2 (AMP):1 It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the chief priests and the scribes were all the while seeking to arrest [Jesus] by secrecy and deceit and put [Him] to death, 2 For they kept saying, It must not be during the Feast, for fear that there might be a riot of the people.”) Passover was celebrated because God helped the Israelites out of Egypt many years earlier. They had to offer up a lamb and paint their doorposts with its blood so that the angel of death would pass them over and not kill the oldest son in their households. At Passover God offered up His only Son for our sin…

Jesus was the final and complete offer for our sins. (John 19:30 (AMP):30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, It is finished! And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” Jesus came to finish God’s plan of salvation – it was finished with His death. From a Christian perspective His death ended the need for offers – because the ultimate offer was already made. Luke 23:44-46 (AMP):44 It was now about the sixth hour (midday), and darkness enveloped the whole land and earth until the ninth hour (about three o’clock in the afternoon), 45 While the sun’s light faded or was darkened; and the curtain [of the Holy of Holies] of the temple was torn in two. 46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, Father: into Your hands I commit My spirit! And with these words, He expired.” The curtain tearing into 2 pieces symbolizes that we can now freely approach God, through Jesus Christ, because of His offer.

To me it is obvious that Jesus gave it all up, so that we all have a chance at salvation. He did not hold anything back. Isn’t that the ultimate, perfect love?

*My source for this post was my reference Bible “Die Bybel in Praktyk”.

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