Jesus' crucifixion was an act of God. Startling? Definitely. The incredible demonstrations of God's love are always startling. Prepare to increase your appreciation of God from this study.
Please read Acts 2:22-41 before starting GraspingGod.com's free Bible study lessons, #1.20
Previous lesson: The Life Of Jesus Christ #1.19
Preliminary Bible Study Questions:
1) How did Jesus die?
2) Who was in total control of Jesus' death?
3) What are the two choices for a person to deal with his sin?
Let's start with a couple of statements to get our brains working.
Jesus' crucifixion was an act of God, because he loves YOU (John 3:16).
The crucifixion of Christ was an act of God, because he wants to forgive YOU (Ephesians 1:7-8).
Jesus' crucifixion was an act of God, because he wants to have a relationship with YOU (John 14:21).
God is all about YOU. He truly is. Hopefully, these truths got your heart warmed up a little, too. Grab your favorite soda and let's chat.
We can blame Satan and his demonic forces for the death of Jesus Christ. They were definitely the invisible, yet powerful force behind Jesus' crucifixion. We can blame the jealous Jewish leaders and weak Roman government for Jesus' unjustified arrest, trial, torture and murder.
We could also blame the Jewish mob whose hatred was aroused by their own religious leaders. All of these devils and humans are ultimately responsible to God for their actions against the sinless Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
All of our accusations, though, needlessly miss the point.
Take to heart Jesus' plea while on the cross. He asked the Father to forgive the people responsible for his bloodshed (Luke 23:34). Let that sink into your heart.
Jesus entered human life with knowledge that he was born in order to die. That is exactly why he gave up his pre-incarnate life in heaven. He knew the reason for his mission before his incarnation, but came to earth anyway.
Jesus was on mission with the cross as a goal, his empty tomb as another goal and finally, his ultimate reign with me and you his final goal. Jesus led a purposeful earthly life that included no surprises for God (Acts 2:23).
The responsible parties of Jesus' crucifixion and death, if you want to be precise, are sinners. What I mean is that these horrible things Jesus suffered were necessitated by my sin and your sin. That is, the sins of all those who love, obey, and follow God. Jesus paid the sacrificial cost for those people who believe the God of the Bible.
Absorb this teaching by Jesus Christ in John 10:14-18, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me — just as the Father knows me and I know the Father — and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life — only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
Did you notice who was in control of Jesus' crucifixion and death? Jesus was in total control.
God must deal with sin because of his holy and just nature. He has no option to ignore sin, or to forgive sin without an appropriate penalty being paid. Sin has a very steep price that someone has to pay. The payment is a sacrifice and fortunately for us, a proper sacrifice appeases God's terrible wrath.
God did for a time employ the animal sacrifice system to appease his wrath. However, that was only a temporary system that was never intended as an eternal solution for our sins (Hebrews 10:4). It was actually a type of sacrifice to help prepare the minds and hearts of those who would eventually trust in God the Savior to eternally forgive them.
The animal sacrifice is no longer a viable option for paying the cost of sin.
God could have chosen another course of action instead of Jesus' crucifixion, in order to forgive our individual sins. Come to think of it, there is an optional way to attempt to pay for our sins. We simply ignore our responsibility to our Creator God and when our life is complete, we'll be sentenced to eternal punishment in hell. Since the people who choose this method are imperfect, their sacrifice is imperfect. The cost of the sins will never be paid, which is why the sacrifice is eternal punishment separated from all of God's beautiful graces.
Jesus' crucifixion and sacrificial death is the sole, eternal solution for a person's sin. God requires a perfect human to pay the price of all sins for an imperfect human race. God the Son, who was also the Son of man, is the only person qualified to pay the cost of sins for an entire human race. He had no sin nature, nor did he ever commit a sin. He was and still is the unblemished Lamb.
Jesus told him, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father but through me." (John 14:6).
Jesus' crucifixion was sacrifice enough to pay for all sins ever committed in the history of the world. Theoretically, every person in history could have been forgiven for their sins, based on Christ's crucifixion and sacrificial death. In reality, though, only a small percentage of people humbly accept Jesus' sacrifice to pay for their sins, once and for all time.
Sadly, the rest proudly ignore Jesus' crucifixion and sacrifice and decide to use God's other option: an eternal purification process in hell. Unfortunately, that doesn't work - it doesn't appease God's wrath.
Please, my friend, I beg you, don't be so cold-hearted and foolish that you ignore Jesus' crucifixion.
The moment you close your eyes and take your final breath, you will be thrust into the hands of the Judge. You will then see the wounds suffered for you at Jesus' crucifixion. You will, at that time, realize that Jesus Christ is the Perfect Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.
You will immediately know that if you trusted him alone to pay for your sins, you will enjoy eternity with him. Or, you will discover that if you ignored his invitation to accept his sacrificial death, you'll be paying an awful price for your sins for an eternity. A price that will never be paid in full. That would be a horrifying experience.
Why is Jesus' crucifixion and sacrificial death included in the history of Jesus Christ? Because it is the most important reason Jesus Christ came into the world as a human. He loves YOU. He wants to forgive YOU. He desires a relationship with YOU, that lasts forever. Your journey with Jesus begins with an obedient walk to the cross. Tell him how much you want his sacrifice applied to your life (2 Corinthians 5:21).
I wrote this Sinner's Prayer for you - make it your own:
Dear Heavenly, Holy, Almighty Father,
I bow before you in awe of your beauty
I am unworthy to enter your presence
You are too magnificent to behold
But your mercy and grace permit me to come
Thank you for sending a Savior Man
Dear Jesus, Son of the Most High God
Son of the most lowly servant woman
You did this all for me
The perfect life, the sacrificial death
Nothing your Father required was left undone
I find no words to utter through these unclean lips
Nothing but tears of shame falling upon my lap
Here am I, at the foot of your cross, marveling
Now, before your majestic throne, praising
Please accept my deepest apologies
For the hurt I've caused and the sins I've done
Here is this lowly life, Lord Jesus
Please take it and renew it, let me be born again
Send your Spirit to introduce us, Jesus
And fill my heart with joy
Open my eyes to your Word
So I can learn your ways
My life is yours, O God
Save me, teach me, keep me,
And love me forever and ever
Thank You, Jesus. Amen
Join our next lesson: The Death Of Christ #1.21
Inspirational Bible Verses:
He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter. Isaiah 53:7
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:6-11
While faith makes all things possible, it is love that makes all things easy. Evan H. Hopkins
Jesus Christ Quotes:
I have a great need for Christ; I have a great Christ for my need. Charles H. Spurgeon Quotes
By a man's reaction to Jesus Christ, that man stands revealed. William Barclay
You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon, or you can fall at his feet and call Him Lord and God. C.S.Lewis Quotes
Nothing is lost by a life of sacrifice; everything is lost by failure to obey God's call. Henry P. Liddon
Jesus became the greatest liar, perjurer, thief, adulterer, and murderer that mankind has ever known - not because he committed these sins but because he was actually made sin for us. Martin Luther Quotes
Let the fact of what our Lord suffered for you grip you, and you will never again be the same. Oliver B. Greene
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