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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Jesus, The Great Substitute

Jesus said in John 11:25, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live." The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important event in all of human history. Easter season is not about animals, eggs, candy, toys, or even gifts. It is not about a rabbit, it's about a resurrection! The main character of Easter is the glorious vindication of God through the atoning death and death-defying resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The theme of Easter is a message of hope for all lost sinners to know the risen Christ who came into the world not to condemn it, but to save those in it. Easter is celebration of the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

-The resurrection is the crowned event event in all of God's redemptive history.

-The resurrection is the cornerstone of all Christianity.

-The resurrection is the confirmation of eternal life for all believers.

-The resurrection is the central teaching and testimony to the ecclesiastical institution for church on Sunday (i.e. the Lord's Day).

The resurrection, however, is not possible without a death. The resurrection could not be possible unless someone died. Jesus had to die in order to be resurrected. Therefore, the gospel-centered celebration of Easter resonates upon a death that is validated by a resurrection proving the significance and power of the work demonstrated on the cross. The nature of Easter is the grace-giving substitutionary death of Jesus Christ for the eternal, wrath-absorbing, forgiveness and justification of sins to all who embrace the Lordship of Jesus.

The Doctrine of Substitution is at the Heart of Jesus' Mission.
Substitution - "To take the place of another."
A. 2 Corinthians 5:21, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

B. Romans 3:25, "Whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed."

C. 1 John 2:2, "And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world."

D. Romans 5:8, 10, "But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life?"

The Doctrine of Substitution is at the Heart of Jesus' Message.
The narrative in Mark 15:6-15, describes the story of Jesus and Barrabas:
"During the feast it was customary to release one prisoner to the people, whomever they requested. A man named Barabbas was imprisoned with rebels who had committed murder during an insurrection. Then the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to release a prisoner for them, as was his custom. So Pilate asked them, “Do you want me to release the king of the Jews for you?” (For he knew that the chief priests had handed him over because of envy.) But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas instead. So Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you want me to do with the one you call king of the Jews?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Why? What has he done wrong?” But they shouted more insistently, “Crucify him!” Because he wanted to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them. Then, after he had Jesus flogged, he handed him over to be crucified."
A. Barrabas was a rebellious sinner (v.15:7)
1. He was a rebel.
2. He was a thief.
3. He was a murderer.
4. he was a zealot.

His name means "son of a father" and according to Origen, his name can be translated "Jesus." The irony of this is that Jesus Christ was the Son of the Father and Barrabas was the son of a father. Barrabas was a rebellious sinner on pace to encompass the authoritative wrath of Rome for his sinful actions. He was a law-violating criminal. Barrabas is a typology of sinners who are in opposition as rebels and enemies against God. There is no one good and all fall short of the glory of God due to their evil in the heart of man. Non-believers are completed separated from God because of their sins. No sinner seeks God and what is good (cf. Psalm 14, 53, Rom. 3:10, 23).

B. Barrabas was replaced by a substitute (v.15:15)
Barrabas was replaced by someone else, who would be condemned and die in his place. In doing this, some things happened to Barrabas that are important to notice.

1. He was released from the bondage of prison.
2. He was unshackled and unchained from condemnation.
3. He was excused of wrath-filled punishment and torment.

Barrabas the rebel was convicted, condemned, and judged to be crucified. Nevertheless, Jesus took the place of Barrabas and he was released. Some suggest that his partners in crime were the two criminals being crucified on each side of Jesus. I believe this is so. This is very possible because it says that Barrabas was "apart of the rebellion" that includes more than one person. These men were to be killed because of their violation of the law. Jesus, on the contrary, was blameless and innocent, yet was condemned to death in place of Barrabas. Jesus substituted Barrabas' place on the cross in the middle and endured and took the penalty of sin - death. Barrabas was suppose to be on the cross Jesus died on because he and the two criminals were associated. Therefore, this story is a typology of Jesus Christ the great substitute for our sins and redemption!

The Great Substitute - The Doctrine of Substitution is at the Heart of Easter.
Jesus is the great substitute that the Lord Jesus Christ died for us and took all the pain, punishment, and penalty for our sinfulness. "For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified" (Hebrews 10:14).

Jesus is our Great Substitute! Embrace the wonderful doctrine of the substitutionary death of Christ for our sins. He gave his life so that we might have life (i.e. eternal life). He died for us in our place and took upon the warth of God "because he loved us first" (1 John 4:19). 

This Easter, remember the wonderful words of Jesus that he spoke at the upper room to his disciples, "No one has greater love than this – that one lays down his life for his friends."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So, Jesus (as named in the earliest Greek Syriac manuscripts of Matthew) Bar-abbas, (Aramaic: Son of the Father, i.e Christ, the annointed one) was to be crucified together with Jesus Christ (Greek, Χριστός),'King of the Jews' who 'is called the Messiah' i.e the 'annointed one'. There are no 'a' or 'the' distinctions in Aramaic. The second Jesus of course, refused to style himself 'the Messiah: 'Thou sayest it'.

Jesus (giving them the full titles used in the original Greek text in Matt 27:17), Son of the Father was released and lived and Jesus, whom Pilate called 'King of the Jews' - a political title, who refused to admit he was 'the Messiah', was crucified under the aforesaid political title nailed on the cross. He was seen 'at a distance' by disciples.

That Pilate did the right thing, is recognised by the Coptic Christian Church who revere him as a saint (feast day, 25th June).

The body of the substitute crucifed Jesus was taken early by Joseph of Aramethia and put in his own tomb.

Later, (John 20:26) 'The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them'.

The living Jesus either travelled through doors or was in the house, but earlier:

(John, 20:1) 'Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.' Why? Because
'They have taken the Lord's body out of the tomb'.

The body of the substitute Jesus was gone. The living Jesus was still there.

(John 20:29) The living Jesus said "You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven't seen me and believe anyway."

Jesus, 'The Great Substitute'.

What is your favorite subject in Christian Studies?