I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.
Whenever you hear somebody say, “There is no evidence that Jesus actually lived,” you know you are talking to somebody who does not know history. It is a historical fact that a man named Jesus was crucified because He claimed to be the Son of God. To the Romans, that was treason. To the Jews, it was blasphemy. There is no doubt Jesus’ death historically took place. The real question is, Why did Jesus die? What was the purpose of Jesus’ death?
Let us get something straight: Jesus’ life was not taken from Him. Jesus’ death was not a case of some bad men killing Jesus. Jesus voluntarily gave up His life. In John 10:17-18, Jesus said, “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” Jesus willingly gave His life for us. Why did He do such a thing? Because it was the only way to provide an atonement, a covering for our sin. We all need our sin covered and washed away. That is what the atonement did. The death of Jesus covered our sin.
Second, Jesus’ death was a payment for our sin. Jesus died to pay for our sin to satisfy God’s requirement. God said, “The person who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:20). Sin creates a debt to God–and somebody has to pay. We can either spend eternity in Hell paying for that debt ourselves, or we can allow Jesus to make the payment for us. To some people the idea that God demands a sacrifice for sin is repulsive. But God is a holy and just God. He has to demand payment for sin. Some people are offended by that, perhaps because deep down they do not want to think that their sin is that big of a deal. But it is. God cannot overlook the sin in your life or my life. He is a holy God. That is why Nahum 1:3 says, “The Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.” A righteous God must be paid for sin. We either pay it, or we can allow Christ to pay that price for us. That is why 1 John 2:2 says, “He Himself is the propitiation [satisfaction] for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”
Third, Jesus’ death provides a redemption from spiritual slavery. The Bible says all of us, apart from God, are in the marketplace of sin. We are Satan’s slaves, and he has no good intentions for any of us. But because God loved us so much, He paid the price for our redemption and delivered us out of the marketplace of sin and death into the marvelous kingdom of His own light. In Colossians 1:13-14, Paul said, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” If we are Christians, we belong to God. He purchased us with the blood of His Son.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Easter: The Passion and the Promise” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.