Video Lesson Transcript:
Hi, and welcome to our study today. I hope you find today’s lesson a lot more positive and enjoyable than our last lesson. It’s pretty scary to think about the consequences of rebellion against God and the terrible price that has to be paid for sin. In our last lesson we saw that SIN = DEATH, or as the Apostle Paul put it, “For the wages of sin in death” (Romans 6:23). While physical death occurs when one’s spirit is separated from their body, spiritual death occurs when one’s spirit is separated from God. Both forms of death are the direct result of sin coming into the world.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden by choosing to disobey the Lord’s command and eat the forbidden fruit, they brought physical death down upon themselves, and upon all their children, and their children’s children’s children… including you and me. We all have to die, physically, because humanity lost their direct contact with God in the garden. Physical death, however, is only temporary. It has its place, its purpose, as a constant reminder to all humanity of the sin problem; that sin is still in the world, and that the consequences of sin and rebellion against God is tragic. But the Bible teaches that a time will come when such a reminder is no longer necessary; and physical death will be no more. Spiritual death, however, can be eternal. The Bible speaks of the “second death,” in the book of Revelation, people will face a final judgment a find themselves condemned to eternal separation from God.
So, while “LIFE” = me + God, the moment SIN (SEPARATION) enters into the picture, we then find ourselves separated from God resulting in “DEATH” = me /sin/ God. If the story ended there, it would be a sad story, indeed. Thankfully, that’s not the end of the story.
About 750 BC, the prophet Isaiah gave a tragic, yet beautiful, prophecy of hope… here is his message:
“Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong; because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.”
(Isaiah 53:1-12, NASB)
This prophecy was originally given hundreds of years before Jesus walked on the earth. Yet, it predicts His mission and purpose with great detail; showing that God was already working on a plan for the salvation of His people. We see in these passages that the Messiah (Christ) is described as a sacrificial substitute for God’s people. Even though He himself had no reason to be punished, He voluntarily chose to take the punishment for everyone else and to die in their place; so that people would not have to pay the penalty of their sins themselves. This satisfies God’s justice and righteousness by punishing the wickedness of humanity; while, at the same time, providing opportunity for God’s people to be cleansed of their sin; and thereby restored to life with God. We now know, looking back through the lens of history, that Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. In the first chapter of the Gospel of John, we read:
The next day he [John the baptizer] saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me’ . . .
I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.” Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
(John 1:29-36, NASB)
“Lamb of God” is the special title given to Jesus by the New Testament prophet John. This poetic image comes from the Old Covenant practice of animal sacrifice given regularly in response to sin. You see, long before Jesus came to the earth, God was already teaching the people about their need for a Savior. He did it with animal sacrifices. Under the ancient Hebrew sacrificial system, the people could offer animals in payment for their sins. The people would place their hands on the animal and confess their sins, thereby making the animal their substitute. Every time an animal was killed for someone’s sins, the tragic consequences of sin was reiterated again, and again, and again. But ultimately, God knew, and the people knew, that no animal sacrifice could actually take away sin—it was not really enough. But what they eventually learned was that those animal sacrifices were really just prophecies. Every animal sacrifice prophesied, or looked forward to, the One who was coming and who would ultimately pay the price for all the people’s sin. Through the ancient Hebrew sacrificial system, outlined in the Old Testament, the people learned about the sacred holiness of God, about their own propensity for sin and rebellion, about God’s justice in punishing sin, about God’s love and compassion in finding a way to be able to forgive them while still maintaining His justice; and, ultimately, about their need for a Savior.
Jesus Christ, the Messiah, as He walked upon this earth, knew exactly who He was and why He had come. Listen to this beautiful prophecy from the New Testament writer of the book of Hebrews concerning the heart, the attitude, and the mission of the Messiah:
But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, But a body You have prepared for Me; in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure. “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (In the scroll of the book it is written of Me) to do Your will, O God.’” After saying above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have not desired, nor have You taken pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the Law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
(Hebrews 10:3-10, NASB)
Yes, Jesus knew ahead of time His purpose for coming into this world. He knew that he was going to be put to death; and then resurrected afterward. He knew that His sacrificial death would give people the opportunity to experience eternal life. As Jesus walked and talked with His disciples, He said to them:
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up” (Matthew 20:17-19, NASB)
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
(Matthew 20:25-28, NASB)
Later, after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, in the very first gospel sermon ever recorded the Apostle Peter told the crowds of people in Jerusalem:
“Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know — this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power” … “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”
(Acts 2:22-36, NASB)
I want to briefly share with you a collection of verses from the New Testament that we refer to as “the blood passages.” These passages of scripture help us understand the power and the effect of the sacrifice of Christ. They make it very clear that our only hope for the forgiveness of our sins, and for eternal life with God, is found in the sacrifice of Jesus. Listen carefully as the Bible explains exactly what the blood of Christ—representing His sacrificial death on the cross—does for us:
THE BLOOD PASSAGES
For, while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
(Romans 5:6-10, NASB)
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.”
(Ephesians 1:7-9, NASB)
“…remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
(Ephesians 2:12-13, NASB)
“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption . . . how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
(Hebrews 9:11-14, NASB)
“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
(I John 1:5-10, NASB)
“To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood — and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father — to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever.”
(Revelation 1:5 NASB)
“And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.’”
(Revelation 5:9-10, NASB)
Imagine, God, stepping into this world in the form of a man to satisfy the demands of His own law, His own righteousness, His own justice by sacrificing Himself on cross—tasting death, shedding His own blood—to pay the price for our sins; so that we don’t have to pay that price ourselves. THAT is love! And because of what He has done, we no longer have to walk in fear of death, physical or spiritual. The Bible says:
“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” (Hebrews 2:14-15, NASB)
You and I are weak human beings. We are prone to sin; and even the things we do “right” are typically fraught with ulterior motives. As the prophet Isaiah stated, “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6, NIV). But, though we may, at times, find ourselves walking contrary to the will of God, and though we may even feel as though we are being overcome by the darkness, still, the cross on which Christ died, the blood He shed for us there, continues to provide a life-line of hope for all who will put their hope in Him.