“Jesus died for our sins,” is a phrase we as Christians are so familiar with it often fails to stir the incredible awe we should feel at these words. We’ve also lost the depth behind these worlds because we tend to skip over the Old Testament part of this incredible gift and instead view it within the context of the New Testament alone.
How is Jesus able to die for our sins? How does this actually work? Over the next couple weeks I want to explore this questions deeper, but for this week let’s start with an overview.
We know Jesus died on the cross and that His death was meant as payment for our sins. But what is our sin? Who is He paying? And how is He paying?
To understand SIN we have to go back to Genesis.
Mankind is created by God (Gen 1:27-30)
God tells mankind to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil lest he die. (Gen 2:17)
Mankind disobeys God and seeks to become as God by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Gen 3:6)
Mankind knows sin and feels guilt “…I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Gen 3:10
Mankind’s punishment is death. (Gen 3:17-19) “…dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”
Yet God takes mercy upon His creation.
Gen 3:21 “…for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.”
Mankind sins, is condemned, and is temporarily covered by a sacrifice, but that’s not the end of the story. Life goes on, new people are born, sin continues to happen (because man now has the knowledge of good and evil, and more sacrifices have to be made in order for their sins to be covered.)
To understand SACRIFICE (the cover/price for our sin) we go to Leviticus.
Lev 1:1 Now the LORD called to Moses…saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When any one of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of the livestock…let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD. Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.’”
Lev 16:1-34 “And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the LORD’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering. But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it… He shall kill the goat of the sin offering,…and sprinkle [its blood] on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. So he shall make atonement…for all their sins….Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel…putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness… The [live] goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land…This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year.”
Lev 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”
To understand HOW Jesus paid this price we look to the New Testament.
John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’”
Mat 26:19-26 …the disciples…prepared the Passover….And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
1Pe 1:17-21 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves…in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things…but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
Jhn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”