The Culminating Point

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.” (1 Timothy 2:5)

Both the sin and guilt offering instituted in the Book of Leviticus were played out visibly on the cross of Calvary. Jesus emptied Himself of the last drop of blood, to ensure that His sacrifice was complete. This was confirmed when one of the Roman soldiers thrust his sword at His side and blood and water gushed out. (John 19:34)

Until then animal sacrifice was predominant. The outcome was not far-reaching. “The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on them who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.” (Hebrews 9:13) Jesus’ death put an end to all of that. “Jesus, our High Priest did not enter the tabernacle by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once and for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.” (Hebrews 9:12) Not even the sacrifice of Abraham’s only son, Isaac, could have sufficed because his blood was only human. Only the stainless and holy blood of our Saviour and Redeemer could pay the price of sin. 

As we approach the culminating point of Jesus’ earthly mission, things begin to take a turn for the worst in both camps – those who sought to get rid of this ‘upstart’ and those who were eclipsed by fear. His enemies seemed to have had the upper hand plotting His condemnation. And what was the charge? ‘He said He would destroy this temple and build it up in three days.’ He was sentenced to death because He claimed that He was the Son of God. Any flimsy excuse would do to get rid of this rebel they hated with a passion!

Satan was at His best, manipulating the crowd. The Pharisees, Sadducees, the Roman authorities, Herod and Pilate all of them were--unknowingly---pawns chosen to carry out God’s work. How do we know this? Jesus responded to Pilate who poked Him with; “Don’t you realise I have power either to free You or to crucify You?” Jesus answered: You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the One who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” (John 19:10-11)

Temple curtains 

Something mysterious happened on that auspicious day. The day on which the Passover feast was being consummated, Jesus the ‘Passover Lamb’ was being sacrificed for the Passover--- just as Jesus breathed His last on the cross and died. At that point the thick curtain in the Holy of Holies that separated the high priest from the worshippers in the Holy Place -- was rent in two -- signifying that every man or woman could from henceforth have access to the Father directly. “It was now about the sixth hour and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shinning. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When He said this He breathed His last.” (Luke 23:45)

Reward

God was pleased with His Son’s sacrifice, but more so with His obedience. “.... He made Himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant, being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death---even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:7-11) “Therefore I will give Him a portion among the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong, because He poured out His life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53: 12)

Two thousand years ago the battle for our lives was fought at the Cross of Calvary. The blood of God was spilled for our liberation from captivity by the devil. To put things in perspective, this Jesus was born to die. At His incarnation, God Himself took the form of man that He had created, in order to solve a man-made problem caused by sin. Sin had brought about death and man who was to live forever, is now condemned to perpetual death. Man had transgressed the word of God when he ate of the forbidden fruit. (Genesis 2:16) At that very instant, the law of cause and effect went into operation as Man fell from his privileged position.

“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) He died on the cross, so that we may not have to die. He died that we might be forgiven. A remedy had been found in the Garden of Eden where the first act of disobedience to the word of God is recorded. However, that remedy was not applicable in the immediate future. Time had to run its course. On the cross, Jesus shouted with a loud voice of triumph. “It is finished!” The fight over our lives has been won. Christ has conquered both sin and death for our sakes.

We have been made victors through His shed-blood. The blood of bulls and goats cannot save, only the blood of the Lamb of God can wash, cleanse and take our sins away. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

Accept His finished work and be born again. It is a free gift from the Father made possible through the ultimate sacrifice of His Son. All this happened to the One who was the Promised Messiah and the religious authorities joined hands with the wicked to crucify the One they have been expecting. He stood before their very eyes but they failed to see in His credentials the fulfilment of the Promised One. How very unfortunate! May you not fall into that pit as well for it is time to get rid of that blindfold! “For Christ died for sins once and for all, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God.” (1 Peter 3:18)