#Biblical Reflection

JESUS CONQUERED THE GRAVE

Apr 15, 2020, 4:13 PM | Article By: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye

“For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)  

The Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes - the Jewish religious authorities of the day – went all out to remove Jesus out of the scene in a bid to silence Him, once and for all. They had clashed on a number of occasions much to their embarrassment, because Jesus ridiculed them at each encounter. As a result, Jesus became their sworn enemy. 

They made sure that He died an atrocious death after humiliating Him publicly. Jesus was accused of blasphemy for claiming He would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days. In today’s context, anyone who speaks like that would be dismissed as having lost his/her mind. At most he/she would be left alone. For this elite group of leaders, it was an opportunity to get Him out of the way. What they did not realise at the time was that they were fulfilling God’s assignment.

It was God’s will that Jesus should become the sacrificial Lamb, the Lamb of God that would die for the remission of humanity’s sins. John the Baptist called Jesus: “The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) He was born to die; a cruel death on a cross. In pursuit of their wickedness, they satisfactorily executed God’s mission by sacrificing His Son as the Father had desired -- for the sin of the world.

The cross then became a place of sacrifice acknowledging that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. The slaughtering of bulls, goats and doves throughout the Old Testament were just dress rehearsals for what would happen at Calvary, on that fateful day.    

Only criminals were hung on a cross to die such a cruel death and that was what the religious leaders of the day had reserved for Jesus. They had stirred the crowd to clamour for the release of Barabbas a renowned criminal in the place of Jesus whom they wanted crucified. “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” they chanted.

About 800 years prior, Prophet Isaiah had prophesied with reference to Jesus: “Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him and afflicted. But He was bruised for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him and by His wounds [stripes] we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4--5)

From the Book of Genesis and throughout the Old Testament times,

God had instituted the shedding of blood through the sacrifice of a spotless lamb for the forgiveness of sin. All those sacrifices were pointing to this ultimate sacrifice to purge mankind’s sin. This was not an afterthought. After Adam sinned God cursed Satan for deceiving the couple. To the woman He pronounced hard labour and painful birth pangs at child birth. He said this specifically: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head and you will strike His heal.” (Genesis 3:15)

It took one man to sin and all sinned; it would take one man’s sacrifice for all those who have been kept captive to receive redemption through His blood.

Sheep was sacrificed for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus the real Lamb was sacrificed for the sins of the whole world. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but shall have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

From the beginning of time God wanted this sin paid for in full so that the fractured relationship with His creation could be renewed. “There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin, He (Jesus) only could unlock the gates of heaven and let us in;” confirms the hymnist. This is the reason why God sent His Son. The blood Jesus shed on the cross was no ordinary blood. It was nothing near Abel’s blood shed by his brother, Cain, when he murdered him. Jesus’ blood speaks of better promises. A gospel song writer penned; ‘On the hill there’s a cross, on the cross there’s blood for me’ alluding to the fact that the blood shed on the cross of Calvary was shed for you and for me.

Jesus’ blood does not discriminate. His blood was shed for the forgiveness of sins of the whole world. Jesus was not sent to the world for Christians. He was sent to pay for the sins of all those who recognise and accept Him as the Christ – the Anointed One of God. Therefore His blood has far-reaching consequences when we invoke it under any circumstance. His blood is alive and still speaks great and mighty things that we do not know about. When you are afraid, frightened, depressed, about to give up, invoke the power of the blood of Jesus for a comeback.  

King David had prophesied that Jesus’ body will not know ‘corruption’ – meaning that it will not decompose. “... because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.” (Psalm 16:10) Jesus’ body was never intended to rot in the grave. When He prophesied that He would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days, He was talking about His resurrection.

Death could not hold Him captive. Likewise, all those who truly believe in Him will resurrect to life on the last day. For the trumpet shall sound and the dead [in Christ] shall be raised triumphant over sin and death - never to die again.

“Where O death, is your victory? Where O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-56)