Growing up, my family celebrated the secular and the religious aspects of the Easter holiday. It was a special time with new outfits, baskets of candy treats and a special meal. However, there was also much focus on the spiritual aspect of the holiday which is the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Weeks prior to this holiday we spent much time in religious services reflecting on the crucifixion of Jesus.
It wasn’t until I started reading and studying the Bible that I began to understand the sacrifice of Jesus in a deeper way. The sacrifice of Jesus is not merely a series of events that happened to Jesus such as: Judas’ betrayal of Jesus; the trial before Pilate; the scourging: the carrying of the cross and so on, but it is the singular most powerful intervention of God in the history of mankind.
Presented in this blog are some thoughts about the sacrifice of Jesus for your reflection.
Jesus Tasted Death for Us
In the passage of Hebrews 2:9, an unusual expression is used in describing Jesus. The writer says, “he might taste death for everyone.”
“But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” Hebrews 2:9
The expression taste death for everyone means Jesus “experienced” death; Jesus took it into himself on behalf of each of us.
Jesus “tasted death” in that His physical body died and was buried, but also, He died in a spiritual sense meaning Jesus experienced separation from God as he bore our sins on His body.
When dying on the cross Jesus is recorded to have said,” my God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46) This statement is taken as an indication that Jesus was separated from the Father.
It Is a Personal Thing
I never realized that I was “separated from God” because of my sin. After all, I went to church frequently and even participated in special services. I thought about God regularly, and tried to be good so I thought “God and me were OK.” Then I read a few scriptures that got my attention:
- Romans 3:23 – “all have sinned and fallen short of the standard of God;”
- Romans 6:23 – “for the wages of sin is death,”
- Isaiah 59:2 – “your sins have separated you from God,” and
- 1 Peter 2:24 – “Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross so that freed from our sins, we could live a life that has God’s approval. His wounds have healed you.”
I took these passages personally understanding that Jesus tasted death for me, that He experienced separation from God for me so that I did not have to be separated from Him.
This brought a whole new valuing of the cross of Jesus to me. The crucifixion of Jesus was no longer just a series of sad events that happened to Jesus, but it is a powerful act of God that impacts me. Through the sacrifice of Jesus my “religion” became a genuine “relationship” with God.
Take Time to Reflect
As you celebrate Easter this year take some time to think about what the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God, means to you. Some other passages to enrich your meditation are:
Isaiah 53:5 – “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”
Romans 3:23-25 – “… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.”
2 Cor. 5:21 – “ God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Romans 4:25 – “He was delivered over to death for our trespasses and was raised to life for our justification.”
1 John 2:1-2 – “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
1 John 4:10 – “And love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
Make it personal. Get in touch with what separates you from God, and then look to the cross!