Family Bible Study lesson for March 20: Jesus: Our Sacrifice : Friday, Feb. 25, 2005
February 25 2005 by John Pond

Family Bible Study lesson for March 20: Jesus: Our Sacrifice : Friday, Feb. 25, 2005
Friday, Feb. 25, 2005

Family Bible Study lesson for March 20: Jesus: Our Sacrifice

By John Pond
Focal Passages: John 19:28-37; Hebrews 9:22-26

Jurgen Moltmann wrote that the cross "is the test of everything which deserves to be called Christian." The cross refutes everything and judges everything. It is at the cross that we encounter freedom and divine hope. It is the place of efficacious sacrifice, accomplished "once-for-all" for the sins of all people.

The events that took place on the cross were a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. They were the explicit actualization of the actions and articulations of God, bringing to humanity His redemptive hope in the midst of sin's crippling helplessness.

Jesus' perfect work

John 19:28-30

John, writing as an eyewitness, described Jesus' death on a Roman cross. Jesus had suffered unbearable abuse and excruciating pain from multiple beatings and the subsequent nailing to and hanging upon a rugged cross-timber.

Jesus hung there near death. Earlier, according to the other gospel writers he had refused the drugged wine to keep His mind clear and focused. But now, suffering from massive loss of blood, extreme nervous tension and exposure to the weather, Jesus displayed His humanity and asked for drink. "I thirst!" He exclaimed with a parched throat.

The soldiers brought Him a drink of their own cheap wine placed on a sponge held up by a branch of hyssop (hyssop was used by the Jews for sprinkling the blood of the lamb on their doorposts during Passover - Exodus 12:22).

With the brief taste of refreshment, Jesus cried out with a shout of victory, "It is finished!" His life was finished; God's mighty work of redemption had now reached its consummation. The term He used means simply "the debt is paid in full." Jesus accomplished "perfectly" all that God had required for the sacrifice of mankind's sin.

Previously, Jesus had stated, "The Son of Man has no place to lay His head (Matt. 8:20; Luke 9:58)." Now in the final moments of His earthly life, He bowed His head and died. The strife was over and the battle was won.

Jesus the perfect Lamb

John 19:31-37

Much of the gospel accounts of Jesus' life, death and resurrection are ironic. John wrote that because of the special significance of the day, "the preparation day" for the Sabbath and Passover, the Jewish religious leaders asked for the crucified bodies to be taken down. According to their law, no body was to be left hanging on a tree over night. Such action would pollute the land and make it unfit for the holy celebration. They did not want to pollute the land, but instead had no qualms about polluting themselves with handling a dead body.

Roman custom left bodies hanging to serve as a warning to all who would transgress their laws; thus special permission was required for their removal.

As an eyewitness, John pointed out several details that exemplify Jesus' sacrifice as the perfect Passover Lamb. First, to hasten the death of the crucified, the bones of the legs were broken in order to suffocate the victim. Jesus had died, thus His legs needed not be broken (just like the paschal lamb - Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; Psalms 34:20). Second, in order to verify the death of Jesus, one of the soldiers pierced His side. According to John "blood and water came out." Jesus literally died of a broken heart, ruptured by this extreme physical and emotional experience (see Zechariah 12:10). The pericardium (a sac containing a water-like substance) was pierced by the soldier's spear. Jesus, God's perfect Passover Lamb actually died.

Jesus the perfect Substitute

Hebrews 9:22-26

Leviticus states, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you for making atonement ...(NRSV)." Forgiveness is a costly thing. It is not a casual word given thoughtlessly; it is an expensive item that cost the very blood of an innocent victim - in the Old Testament, an unblemished lamb; in the New Testament, the precious blood of Jesus. "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." There is nothing more serious than the cost of forgiving sin. It takes shed blood.

Fortunately, the perfect sacrifice of the perfect lamb - Jesus - perfectly and sufficiently "once-for-all" paid for the sins and impurities of earth (9:23-24). His blood was shed for our redemption. It was shed to heal sin-infected life and to give new life to all who will believe.

No longer do we need a temporary sacrifice for our sin; "Jesus paid it all!"

2/25/2005 12:00:00 AM by John Pond | with 0 comments

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