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Published by in Let's talk about it · 18 December 2019
Tags: Sacrifice
Romans 5:8,  "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Let that verse soak in for a bit. God's love equates to sacrificing His own perfect son.

I received a specific question asking why did Jesus allow himself to be treated so badly when He could have stopped those who were torturing Him, spitting, striking and cursing at Him; and, would eventually crucify Him on a cross. To fully understand this, we must first go way back in time to when the sacrificial system was created. If you want the long answer.  If so, keep going on after the short answer..

Short Answer:

Since God is the Author of time, He could have arranged for a different prophecy. Jesus needed to fulfill prophecy to illustrate that He is the Son of God, but that doesn't explain why the prophecy had to be so brutal.

The only Scripture that gives a hard and fast reason as to why Jesus had to suffer is Isaiah 53:10-12:

Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many
and makes intercession for the transgressors."

So, Jesus had to suffer because it was God's will. Not that Jesus' physical pain was necessary for salvation—"Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied" refers to Jesus' emotional pain when He was separated from God. But we can see what benefit it has on us.


Long Answer:

The Old Testament sacrificial system provides a model to help us understand why Jesus had to shed His blood for us. In that system designed by God, a perfect blood sacrifice had to be offered to atone (or make up for) sin. The sacrifice had to be perfect, a healthy animal without blemish. This sacrificial system satisfied God’s requirements for that time, but it was not a permanent solution to the problem of sin.  This was a foreshadowing of the sacrifice Jesus would make which would be once for all and never to be repeated ever again.

In the old sacrifice, a person would have to select an animal such as a lamb. That animal had to be without blemish. The priest would verify that the animal was worthy of sacrifice. The person bringing the sacrifice would place his hand on the animal and convey his sin(s) or rather impute his sin(s) over to the animal. Now that animal would be the bearer of the sins which must be punished. There is only one punishment for sin which is death. That animal would be sacrificed for the sins of another which satisfies the requirements God set in place.

But you see, God set this up way in advance. Going back to the Garden of Eden, Satan wanted to ruin mankind so he entered a serpent and tempted Eve to disobey God. Then she convinced her husband to join her. At that moment, Adam and all his children through the ages became slaves to sin and were condemned to separation from God.
God sent Adam and Eve out of the garden and prevented them from ever returning. If they returned to the garden, they would have been able to eat of the Tree of Life. That would mean that they would have been in a perpetual state of sin before a Holy God for eternity. Therefore, they had to be kicked out of the garden so that Adam and Eve could die a physical death since they already died a spiritual death by disobeying God's command to not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

God told the serpent, in Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Notice that God referred to the woman’s offspring, not the man’s. Jesus was born of a virgin as foretold more than 700 years before Jesus' birth by Isaiah in Isaiah 7:14. "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (which means God with us).
When He died on the cross, He defeated the devil and the power of sin by offering Himself as the perfect and final blood sacrifice. His shed blood atoned for the sins of the whole world and satisfied the justice of God, once and for all.

No longer would people be powerless against sin and the devil’s schemes. No longer would they have to be separated from God. As a physical reminder of that, at the moment when Jesus died on the cross, an earthquake shook Jerusalem. In the holiest part of the temple the huge, thick curtain some 30 feet tall which separated people from the presence of God in the Holy of Holies, tore in two from top to bottom. It was as though God was saying to us, “There is now no barrier between man and Me. You may come directly to Me, because my Son has opened the way. “
Three quick points:
1. In John 14:5-6, “Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
2. Those, who followed after Jesus, were called “Followers of the Way.”

3. It is a personal relationship thing.

To be a follower of “the Way”, meant then and still means understanding yourself to be the beneficiary of God’s great new act of redemption through His Anointed One. Just as God had led Israel out of Egypt into freedom from slavery, God had promised to lead Israel out of Exile, both physical and spiritual. John, the Baptist, prepared the way for God’s coming and the Lord Jesus walked it bringing salvation in his wake.

Having given the background, let's now look at the question being asked.  Why would Jesus have allowed Himself to be cursed, tortured and crucified?

The Bible says that Jesus was raised not just after He shed His blood, but by it. The wrath of God was satisfied with the suffering and death of Jesus and the holy curse against sin was fully removed by the sacrifice of Jesus. The price of forgiveness was completely and totally paid. The righteousness of God was fully satisfied and thus vindicated. All that was left to accomplish was the public declaration of God’s endorsement.

God approved of Jesus' sacrifice by raising Jesus from the dead. When the Bible says, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17, ESV*), the point is not that the resurrection is the price paid for our sins.

The death of Christ is not only the demonstration of God’s love (John 3:16), it is also the supreme expression of Christ’s love for all who receive it as their treasure. I am connected to the sufferings and death of Christ at a personal level. He suffered and died the death I deserved. It is my sin that cuts me off from God, not sin in general. I am lost and perishing; all I can do is plead for mercy. Then I see Christ suffering and dying. For whom? Ephesians 5:25 says, “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” And John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.” And Matthew 20:28, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” And I ask, Am I among the “many”? Can I be one of His “friends”? May I belong to the “church”? And I hear the answer, “To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). My heart is swayed, and I embrace the beauty and bounty of Christ as my treasure. And there flows into my heart this great reality–the love of Christ for me.

How ridiculous it is - what a folly, for one to think that our good deeds will outweigh our bad deeds:

First, it is absolutely untrue. Our best most perfect deeds we can muster are like dirty rags to God.  Our good deeds are defective because we don’t honor God in the way we do them. “Whatever does not proceed from faith is a sin.” Without Christ-exalting faith, our deeds will signify nothing but rebellion.

Second, this is simply not the way God saves us. If we are saved from the consequences of our bad deeds, it will not be because they weighed less than our good deeds. There is no salvation by balancing records. There is no amount of "good deeds" which can outway the required cost of Salvation. Christ's sacrifice, being God, is perfect!  There is only salvation by canceling records. The record of our bad deeds (including our defective good deeds), along with the just penalties that each deserves, must be blotted out, removed for all time–not balanced. Maintaining a balance sheet with God defeats the purpose of His perfect sacrifice. This is what Christ suffered and died to accomplish (Colossians 2:13). He endured my damnation. He is my only hope. And faith in Him is my only way to God. Thus, what Jesus meant went He said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

To be justified in a courtroom is not the same as being forgiven. Being forgiven implies that I am guilty and my crime is not counted against me. Being justified implies that I have been tried and found innocent. The verdict of justification does not make a person just. It declares a person just. (The moral change we undergo when we trust Christ is not justification. The Bible usually calls that sanctification–the process of becoming good.) Justification is a declaration that happens in a moment. A verdict: Just! Righteous! In the courtroom of God, we have not kept the law. Therefore, justification, in ordinary terms, is hopeless. Yet, amazingly, because of Christ, the Bible says God “justifies the ungodly” who trust in His grace (Romans 4:5). Christ shed His blood to cancel the guilt of our crime: “We have now been justified by his blood” (Romans 5:9). But canceling our sins is not the same as declaring us righteous. Christ also imputes His righteousness to me. My claim before God is this: “not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ” (Philippians 3:9). Christ fulfilled all righteousness perfectly; and then that righteousness was reckoned to be mine when I trusted in Him. Christ’s death became the basis for our pardon and our perfection.

“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). I love the logic of this verse. The two halves of Romans 8:32 have an incredibly important logical connection. The connection between the two halves is meant to make the second half more than just certain. If God did the hardest thing of all–namely, give up His own Son to suffering and death–then it is certain that He will do the comparatively easy thing, namely, give us all things with Him. God’s total commitment to give us all things is surer than the sacrifice of His Son. But what does “give us all things” mean?
-He will give us all things that are good for us.
-That is, all things that we need in order to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).
-as in, all things needed to attain everlasting joy. “In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12-13). Notice “all things” includes “hungering” and “needing.” God will meet every real need, including the ability to rejoice in suffering when many felt needs do not get met.
-The sufferings and death of Christ guarantee that God will give us all things that we need to do His will and to give Him glory and to attain everlasting joy.

The ultimate good in the Good News is God Himself.

-Salvation is not good news if it only saves from hell and not for God.
-Forgiveness is not good news if it only gives relief from guilt and doesn’t open the way to God.
-Justification is not good news if it only makes us legally acceptable to God but doesn’t bring fellowship with God.
-Redemption is not good news if it only liberates us from bondage but doesn’t bring us to God.
-Adoption is not good news if it only puts us in the Father’s family but not in His arms.
-There is no sure evidence that we have a new heart just because we want to escape hell. It doesn’t take a new heart to want the psychological relief of forgiveness, or the removal of God’s wrath, or the inheritance of God’s world.
-The evidence we have been changed is that we want these things because they bring us to the enjoyment of God. This is the greatest thing Christ died for. “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). We were made to experience full and lasting happiness from seeing and savoring the glory of God.

In our happiest times we do not want to die. The wish for death rises only when our suffering seems unbearable. What we desire in those times is not death, but relief. We would love for the good times to come again. We would like the pain to go away. We would like to have our loved one back from the grave. The longing of the human heart is to live and to be happy. God made us that way.
-“He has put eternity into man’s heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
-We are created in God’s image, and God loves life and lives forever.
-We were made to live forever. And we will. The opposite of eternal life is not annihilation. It is hell. Jesus spoke of it more than anybody, and He made plain that rejecting the eternal life He offered would result not in obliteration, but in the misery of God’s wrath: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36). And it remains forever. Jesus said, “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46). All that is good–all that will bring true and lasting happiness–will be preserved and purified and intensified. We will be changed so that we are capable of dimensions of happiness that were inconceivable to us in this life. “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined … God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). For this Christ suffered and died. Why would we not embrace Him as our treasured Savior, Lord of our lives and live?

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Richard Cunha
2019-12-18 14:49:45
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