Have you ever spent time just thinking about Jesus’ death on the cross? Many of us have seen films like The Passion of the Christ and read the Biblical accounts of his crucifixion, but have you really spent time pondering what that scene must have been like?
Try putting yourself in His shoes for a moment. Imagine that all who were praising you and proclaiming how wonderful you were just days before are now spitting on you, throwing things at you, and demanding you die. You are beaten nearly beyond recognition, then have to carry a large piece of wood that weighed maybe as much of a hundred pounds through the city streets while the mocking and anger toward you continued.
Once you finally reached the site, your clothes are ripped off, and you are laid upon this cross. There, guards take large spikes and pound them through your hands and feet. You are then lifted up in the air, with the nails being the primary means by which you are held up. You hang there for hours until you finally give up your last breath, all the while the mocking and hatred toward you continues.
This is one of the most gruesome scenes that mankind has ever produced, and the worst part about it is that we (human beings) did this to the very God who created us all. We can all be ungrateful, but this is beyond words.
God Expected This to Be His Own Result
This is a sight that most of us cannot even stomach. Many who saw The Passion wept openly, and with good reason. The actions of the people were so calloused and abusive it is hard to imagine all that went on, but that is exactly how the people treated Jesus on that fateful day.
What makes this so unreal is that Jesus died in this way was because He chose this demise so that He would save all of mankind. We often try to put blame on others for his death – the Jews, the Romans, Satan, our own sin – but the truth is that even before the world was created, God decided that it was going to be His responsibility to pay for all of what mankind did on the earth.
Bound by His Own Law
The Bible makes it clear that Jesus is the Creator of all things (Colossians 1:16). He created all that is seen and unseen, all of the heavens and the earth, and all that were and are in power. In fact, Pontius Pilate was in charge and had the authority to put Jesus to death because Jesus had made it so.
That Jesus is the Creator of all things is important to understand because, as the Creator, He is responsible for all that His creation does. That is the Law.
In Exodus 21, God is providing a series of laws related to injuries and the loss of animals due to negligence. In verse 33 we are told:
33 If anyone uncovers a pit or digs one and fails to cover it and an ox or a donkey falls into it, 34 the one who opened the pit must pay the owner for the loss and take the dead animal in exchange.
This may seem like a totally unrelated law, but it is quite applicable to the sin of mankind. Genesis 1:1 tells us that God is the Creator of all things, the heavens and the earth, and Colossians confirms that the One who specifically created it all is Jesus. Psalm 24:1 adds that the earth is the Lord’s and “Everything in it,” including us. Thus, He is liable for all that His creation does. This means that no matter what we do as people in our sinful nature, Jesus is ultimately responsible for it all.
If we read further in Exodus we see that God adds a key piece to the equation.
35 “If anyone’s bull injures someone else’s bull and it dies, the two parties are to sell the live one and divide both the money and the dead animal equally. 36 However, if it was known that the bull had the habit of goring, yet the owner did not keep it penned up, the owner must pay, animal for animal, and take the dead animal in exchange.
Here we read that if the bull is known to be dangerous then he or she is responsible and must be put to death, but the owner is no less responsible. He must pay for the sins of the bull because he has not penned the animal so that it cannot do harm. God could have just changed us all, but He chose not to “pen us in,” so He is just as culpable for the sins we have committed.
We are told that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), which is the punishment that we all deserve for the sins that we have committed. According to the law, we are the bull that is known to be dangerous, so we must pay the cost for the sins we have committed.
However, God is the Creator of us, so He must also pay for what we have done. Exodus 21:36 said that owner must pay animal for animal, so that is exactly what Jesus did, paying man for man. He died to pay the cost of our sins, because the only payment for sin is death.
Hebrews 9:22 confirms this:
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Blood is the only source of forgiveness, and death is the only payment for sin, so we were destined to die. However, Jesus bound Himself by the Law to pay for everything that we did, and He did this before mankind even sinned. This was His plan from the start and He told this to Adam and Eve after Adam had sinned (Genesis 3:15).
Jesus Wants Responsibility
The problem with the means that Jesus used to redeem all of mankind is that we don’t want to accept that Jesus would be this…lawful. We look for other excuses for why Jesus had to die. It is true that He loves us so much that He died for us, but it is equally true that He is so righteous that He bound Himself to do so. He created the perfect scenario and wrote the Law so that the only one who could pay for what we have done is Him, and He is perfectly willing to accept that truth.
This may make you wonder why this matters at all? So what if Jesus bound Himself in this way?
This is essential in the understanding of yourself as a new creation. If you are not responsible for what has occurred, and Jesus is taking ultimate responsibility for all that you have done, then you have no reason to be living in what you did before. You have no reason to believe the report of the spies that are telling you that you can never be perfect as your Heavenly Father is.
The reason we keep these strongholds is because our minds are locked on the things we did in the past. The ways we were wronged, the guilt we feel for the transgressions we have committed, and the hate we often have for ourselves for how we have hurt others. However, Jesus was ultimately responsible for this and He made sure that He paid the cost for all you did and will ever do, so now you can be completely new.
What is truly wonderful is that not only are you removed from the responsibility by Jesus, but that any barrier that stood between you and the Father is gone. You now are 100 percent free to come to the Father without restriction and to be welcomed into His arms because you have no responsibility for anything you have committed. At least not in God’s eyes.
That is an awesome level of forgiveness. It should let you know that as ugly as the death of Jesus was, the purity that God has given you is equally as glorious.
By Robert Pannier