Tuesday: The Required Death
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John the Baptist described Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, NKJV). This image was easy for any Israelite familiar with the sacrifices offered in the temple and the sacred history recorded in the Old Testament to understand. Abraham had revealed his faith that God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering (NKJV); and the Lord did provide the animal to be sacrificed in place of Isaac (Gen. 22:8, 13). In Egypt, a lamb was slain by the Israelites as a symbol of their divine deliverance from the bondage of sin (Exod. 12:1-13). Later, when the sanctuary service was established, two lambs were to be sacrificed on the altar each day, continuously: one in the morning and the other at twilight (Exod. 29:38-39). All these sacrifices were symbols of the coming Messiah, who was led as a lamb to the slaughter because the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isa. 53:6-7, NKJV). Therefore, by introducing Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, NKJV), John the Baptist was revealing the vicarious nature of Christ’s atoning death.

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

During His ministry, Jesus repeatedly announced His death, even though it was hard for the disciples to understand why He had to die (Matt. 16:22). Gradually, Jesus explained the great purpose of His death.

What illustrations did Jesus use to indicate that He was going to die as a Substitute for us? See Matt. 20:28, John 10:11.

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends (John 15:13, NKJV); this holds true even if they do not understand nor accept that sacrifice. On the cross, Jesus shed His blood for many for the remission of sins (Matt. 26:28, NKJV).

It is important to notice that Jesus died voluntarily. As the Father gave His one and only Son, so the Son gave His own life to redeem the human race. Nobody forced Him to do so. No one takes it [my life] from Me, but I lay it down of Myself, declared Jesus (John 10:18, NKJV). Even Caiaphas, who openly rejected Jesus and led the plot to kill Him, involuntarily recognized Jesus’ substitutionary death (John 11:49-51).

Think of how much ingratitude humans have toward God and what He has given us in Christ. How can we make sure we don’t fall into that trap? Why is this so easy to do, especially when we are going through difficult times?

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Tuesday: The Required Death — 35 Comments

  1. Someone recently asked, if Jesus came to save us or to show us how to be saved. The answer is both.

    Leaning too much on one side may actually cause one to fall into a ditch, from which it might be difficult to recover. For the enemy of souls uses such a situation to reinforce in the mind of the victim those things from scripture which serve to reinforce the unbalanced ideas, and the misguided believer becomes confirmed in his/her position thinking he/she is defending Biblical truth.

    Jesus came to trade places with us. He took what we deserve - penalty, and by this He saved us. Yet salvation is not complete. Otherwise all would be saved. He therefore showed us how to take His place, how to share in what He deserves - abundant life. Unless and until we take this step, which requires submission to God and all that He requires, the provision of the Sacrifice is just an open offer pleading for acceptance.

    Christ made the first move, but the deal cannot be closed without our conscious participation. Is the deal still open in our life? There is available help to close it. We just need to ask the Savior!

    Like(30)
  2. It's easy to do because we're egocentric instead of Christ centered. Unless we empty ourselves of self and submit fully to Him, our focus is on our immediate reality and not on the 'big picture', which includes His sacrificial death and the consequential promise of a peaceful eternity with Him, and everything that goes with that. Just seeing the chaos that reigns in our world this very day with the wars and rumours of war and other natural and unnatural tragedies that abound makes me realise that without His peace and the hope of salvation, life on earth holds very little prospect for perfect peace and happiness for us all.

    Like(14)
  3. In response to a good which was asked whether Jesus came to save us or to show how to be saved,Jesus died so that we can be saved,for Him to die,He saved us,but we still have a credit which just required us to believe in Him for us to attain the salvation,that why He says that,''come to me all you who labour and are heavy larden(Mathew 11:28),in order to have rest we have to go to Him,therefore,He came to save and show how to be saved.

    Like(8)
  4. Thy broken body lord was shed for me ..... and I take it for granted sometimes .Many times we allow the devil to wreak havoc in our lives when we should be asking for and allowing the holy spirit to fill our lives each day.. We cannot and should not take for granted the power of the holy spirit ....

    Allow him to fill our lives today and watch ourselves transform into what God requires of us.

    Like(5)
  5. The Lord has done all that has to be done to save us . now it’s left with us to remedy the defects of our characters by obedience to the message for today . the Jews did not believe on Jesus . Therefore Peter had to say:
    “Act 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
    Act 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
    Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. “

    Today we believe on Jesus after the fact of history two thousand years ago, the judgment is to decide damnation or resurrection for the dead or translation for the upright and who will be destroyed.
    SDA year book of 1947 says
    "4. That every person in order to obtain salvation must experience the new birth; that this comprises an entire transformation of life and character by the recreative power of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. John 3:16; Matt. 18:3; Acts 2:37-39.
    Every man's work passes in review before God, and is registered for faithfulness or unfaithfulness. Opposite each name in the books of Heaven is entered, with terrible exactness, every wrong word, every selfish act, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin, with every artful dissembling. Heaven-sent warnings or reproofs neglected, wasted moments, unimproved opportunities, the influence exerted for good or for evil, with its far-reaching results, all are chronicled by the recording angel. {GC88 481.3}
    The plan of salvation did not begin at the cross, but even before the fall of Abam and is to go on till probation closes , SDA is in the last phase and the call is to live without sin, so that our names can be call before the father.
    While the investigation is going on. It sound sometimes as if we would have Him (Christ) remain on the cross, in the grave of as a babe in Bethlehem. We must follow the Lamb where he goes. And experience transformation.

    Like(3)
  6. Jesus saves, that's why we call Him savoir. John 3:16 makes it plain all we have to do is believe. It's a gift it's is not earn. Its shown in Love something we all are capable of doing if we choose to. I like what John writes in John 16:27. about Jesus and His gift.

    Like(3)
  7. We tend to see the death of Jesus as an event in history, when in fact it is much more than this. It is a process that started at the beginning, when Lucifer broke the harmony in heaven. God's suffering did not begin in the Garden of Gethsemane, but rather in heaven. Here is how Ellen White described this:

    “Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator. All heaven suffered in Christ’s agony; but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God.” [Education page 263]

    This is why the Bible tells us that the Lamb of God was slain from the foundation of the world, and it also states that "in all their afflictions, he was afflicted." Sin and rebellion caused great pain to the Creator because God is love. Since his love is infinite, his suffering is also infinite.

    God did not demand the death of His Son. If suffering is the penalty for sin, then God had suffered more than enough by the time Jesus was born in Bethlehem. His death became necessary when his final demonstration of love through the life of Jesus was rejected. We needed a window that we might have a glimpse of the suffering we imposed on the Creator by our sin and our rebellion.

    Like(6)
    • God was the one who devised the plan of salvation, He knew what was needed to win sinners back and to win the controversy and why it was necessary. He also knew what needed to be said in the Bible concerning the whole thing so I have no desire to question the wisdom behind it all. Besides, I don’t have the mental capability to fathom the depths of the plan He laid down millennia ago so I choose to leave well enough alone.

      You have a way looking at it that answers to everything you are and through it you can have faith and be saved because of it. Others may not have the faith you have but they see things in the plan that they can appreciate that gives them faith and through it be saved. To me, therefore, you are probably no more right than anyone else.

      I think when we get to Heaven all of us are going to be absolutely astonished at who made it and who didn’t and the reasons will amaze us even more. For Christ said, “that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness” (Mat 8:11-12 NKJV). Amazing!

      Like(7)
  8. We can talk of all that we need to do in order to be saved but it won’t help us one bit. We have no power to save ourselves at all; we can’t initiate it, sustain it, or finish it. That is why Jesus is, “the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb 12:2 NKJV) and everything in between. “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God-- and righteousness and sanctification and redemption-- that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the LORD’” (1 Cor 1:30-31 NKJV).

    We are totally helpless as scripture clearly says: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil” (Jer 13:23 NKJV). “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find” (Rom 7:18 NKJV). “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (Isa 64:6 NKJV). “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts” (Isa 6:5 NKJV).

    That is why salvation of necessity must be a gift that is given to those who have faith in the promises of God to do what we cannot do. “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Pet 1:2-4 NKJV). That is why the new covenant is necessary which is based entirely on God’s promises, not ours (Jer 31:31-34).

    Like(11)
    • I think there is one thing we must do to be saved. We must choose to receive pardon and the HOLY SPIRIT. God will not force us to choose His gift. This choice is absolutely necessary on our part.

      Like(3)
    • Well said Tyler. In both submissions. Thank God for the humanity and sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ..... for FAther, Word and Holy Spirit being for us Helper, Advocate, Transformation, Comforter, Guide, Trust, Truth, Way, Life, Love.......... and all we ever need: "He restoreth my soul" "He Leads me in the path of righteousness" "He Walks with me as I walk through the valley of shadows and death" "He...........and so much more. We just give thanks.

      Like(4)
  9. If we have no more understanding about the purpose of the cross after a discussion, then why do we discuss the cross. Don't we have the opportunity for the "science and song" throughout the ages?

    Like(1)
  10. Larry,

    You asked: "Why was the death required?"

    Initially, the death of Jesus was not required. It became necessary when the Jewish leaders decided to reject the one sent to save them both from their sins and from the Roman domination.

    We need to ponder the deep meaning of Jesus' lament when he said: "If only you knew what pertains to your peace!" There was no need for the City of Jerusalem to be destroyed. Jesus performed all kinds of miracles as evidence that he was the promised Messiah and rightful King.

    The promise to Mary, the mother of Jesus, could have been fulfilled if they had repented from their sin and had accepted Him. The Angel Gabriel predicted that her Son would sit on David throne. This could have taken place in the event the Jews had accepted Jesus.

    Read my previous comments! There was no further suffering required, because God had suffered enough since rebellion broke the peace and harmony of heaven. "In all their afflictions, he was afflicted."

    The price for sin had been paid before Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Even Ellen White explained that had the Jewish nation welcomed Jesus as their King, the City of Jerusalem would have not been destroyed, but would rather become the capital of the world.

    The death of Jesus became necessary when Jesus was rejected as the promised Messiah. The future of Israel was fluid. The Bible predicted both the death of Jesus and the glorious future of Jerusalem. The future of the chosen nation was in their own hands. They were free to choose a glorious future for their nation or the destruction of their nation.

    It had been like this since the beginning. Blessings and curses had been promised to God's chosen nation. They could have chosen to either accept or reject the one sent to save them. Both nations and single individuals are free to choose their future.

    Like(2)
    • Nic, from the first day sin entered this world, it was clearly taught that a death was required to save sinners. (Heb 9:22)

      Yes, the nation of Israel could have accepted God's plan and been His witnesses(as promised) and Jesus' death would not have involved a cross, possibly. We don't know what "plan A" was, but we know it involved the death of the Christ. There is no remission of sin without it, and this is why Cain's offering was rejected; it was bloodless. The the blood of the Lord's goat needed to be sprinkled on the ark in order to propitiate for sinners, the Law and Satan's accusations. The symbol was given to teach us the reality of sin and it's great price.

      Jesus will sit on the throne of "David", but was first the Lamb of God, then High Priest for the people of God, and soon, King of Kings. Whether Israel (or we) accept the plan or not, that was and is the plan.

      Like(0)
  11. @ LarryWest
    The bible says that the wages of sin is death. Notice that when sin entered the world then there was death in plants, animals, and humans. Righteousness and sin cannot dwell in the same place, because God IS, sin cannot be. God is about giving life and sin is about degeneration of everything.

    Because Adam sinned, we are subject to eternal death, to pay for the sin committed. Christ died that death for us, he payed the debt of sin.
    So when we die now, there is hope of eternity, once we die in Christ.

    If Jesus failed, if the plan of salvation failed, there would be no hope of heaven, no hope of eternal life. We would have had to die as the ultimate debt for sin.

    Like(3)
  12. If Jesus paid the "debt", how can God forgive? If you owe me $10.00 and your brother pays me the $10.00 to satisfy the debt, how can I forgive you what you owe me? The debt has been paid. I can't forgive you. After all, isn't it about a legal obligation? Where does the heart come in? Doesn't look good for God.

    Like(3)
    • Larry, in your analogy, the brother is the one who "forgives" the debt because he pays the price. If you forgive the debt, then you pay the price of $10.00 which is owed to you. Forgiveness always costs something - even if it is only the right to retaliation/ revenge, whatever.

      In the plan of salvation, God forgives, and He pays the price of this forgiveness.

      Like(5)
      • Well, I guess if you see it through the eyes of the legal model then you are right. Legal loopholes are always welcome!

        Like(1)
  13. Larry,

    I suggest that you read my two previous comments regarding the death of Jesus. If the penalty for sin is eternal death, then no one has ever paid said penalty yet. Jesus is alive, which means that he did not pay for said penalty.

    There were two predictions regarding the future of the Messiah. Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would die; while the Angel Gabriel promised to Mary that her Son would sit on King David's throne. And Ellen White stated that, had the Jewish leaders accepted Jesus as the promised King, Jerusalem would have become the capital of the entire world.

    This is why on the occasion of his triumphal entry to Jerusalem, Jesus wept and lamented as follows: "If you had only known what pertains to your peace."

    God original plan was for the city of Jerusalem to remain forever. There was no need for it to be destroyed. The Jewish nation had the option of repenting of their sin, accepting Jesus as their King, and save their nation from ruin.

    Ellen White did tell us that God's promises and threatening are contingent on our behavior. This is evident from the history of God's chosen nation.

    Before the children of Israel entered the promised land they recited a list of blessings and curses. Their future was not set in cement, but was rather fluid. They had the option of being obedient and live or disobeying and cease to exist.

    Like(3)
  14. Inge,

    My dictionary defines forgiveness as the forfeiture to the right of demanding payment of a debt. The legal view of atonement destroys the true meaning of forgiveness.

    The best description of the meaning of the cross is found in Ed. 263:

    “Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator. All heaven suffered in Christ’s agony; but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God.” [Education page 263]

    There is no legal transaction here, but rather a demonstration to us of the suffering God was subjected to since the entrance of sin and rebellion.

    When those God created suffer, the Lord suffers even more than they themselves, because his love is infinite. The Bible states that "In all their afflictions he was afflicted."

    You need to replace your legal model of the cross with a better one; one that shifts the blame for the death of Jesus from God to God's enemy; the one who has been "a murderer from the beginning."

    Like(2)
  15. Nic, please consider, "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (Jn 10:17-18 NKJV).

    No one killed Jesus, He pulled the plug on His own life as a sacrifice for legal reasons.

    Like(2)
    • Tyler,
      Have you ever considered the possibility that just maybe Jesus didn't die for legal reasons? I ask this in the most respectful way.

      Like(0)
      • Larry, to me you have always wanted to present your views with respect. To answer your question, to me Jesus died for many reasons. The legal reason that the Bible presents is just one among many.

        As I look at the universe the one thing that stands out about it in my mind is its order – it is not chaotic! Scientists can predict with mathematical precision the movements of heavenly bodies because of the laws they have discovered concerning them. Law whether it be scientific or social has to do with relationships and God has based everything on it. What Jesus did on the cross was also relational. If a person is lawless as the wick are (Mat 7:23; 13:41; 23:28; 24:12; Rom 6:19; 2 Thess 2:7; 1 Jn 3:4) it is because he defies law and rebels against the relationships it establishes and along with it the one who made them.

        The cross is all about the established relationships between God and Satan and between God and His creatures. What it confirmed is the relationship that God has with the creatures He made. Dictators do not die for their subjects because they use them for their own ends but real leaders will because, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends” (Jn 15:13 NKJV) and real leaders take the loyalty of those under them seriously even to their death. That is what the cross shows but to those who have trouble seeing that because of what sin has done to their concepts the cross becomes their pardon, their ticket out of the mess they are in. To them it buys their freedom – so in their mind it is a legal transaction that they can understand and have faith in.

        We may argue that it is not philosophically sound but God is not interested in philosophy, He is interested in saving people and if people can’t see and have faith in their salvation then to Him it really doesn’t matter how politically correct it is, those people are still lost. That is why one of the ways the cross is presented in scripture is as a legal transaction. It is for those that can’t see it any other way.

        I have said before and will say it again; this business of salvation is much more complex than we generally think it is. Jesus didn’t just die for a certain group of creatures that can understand philosophy. He died for everyone. And that means for all the unfallen creatures in Heaven and beyond who view the event much differently than we do and in all of that somehow He had to also relate to humans that don’t even know what love is.

        For these reasons I am having a lot of trouble trying to understand why it is so important to only consider one aspect of the plan of salvation to the exclusion of everything else especially when we will be studying it throughout the entire stretch of eternity – it is that complicated. So, if I can’t see the necessity for the polarization in the arguments that have been presented it is because I know that people think differently and need different ways to see the matter.

        However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. (1 Cor 8:7-9 NKJV)

        Like(1)
  16. Tyler,

    Are you suggesting that Jesus committed suicide? He submitted himself to the murderers, but he did not take his own life! He did everything possible to convince his enemies that he was the promised Messiah and the rightful King of the Jews.

    Please, take a look at the contrast between the death of King Saul, who took his own life, and the death of Jesus. Jesus died at the hands of his enemies. He did not take his own life.

    Like(0)
    • Nic, I understand what you are saying and many people will ask the same question. Just look at the text what did Jesus mean when He said, "No one takes it from Me." I am not the only one who has said what I did. Many theologians and pastors have understood the text and said the same thing.

      If nothing else realize that Jesus is both the sacrificial lamb and the High Priest who does the sacrificing. One also should read the narratives and see how quickly Jesus died – fully conscious one moment and dead the next. Furthermore, He died long before He should have as scripture states, “Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time” (Mk 15:44 NKJV). This was no ordinary death, Jesus sacrificed Himself. Besides He died only after the victory had been clearly won (Jn 19:28-30).

      Like(2)
  17. Tyler,

    I wonder how you understand the following quotation by Ellen White:

    “Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator. All heaven suffered in Christ’s agony; but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God.” [Education page 263]

    Why did Jesus lament the blindness of the Jewish leaders when he said: “If only you had known what pertains to your peace!”

    Why did the Angel Gabriel predict that her Son would sit on King David's throne.

    Why do we find apparently contradictory predictions regarding the future--namely, a glorious future for the city of Jerusalem and at the same time the death of the Messiah. How can you harmonize the death of Jesus with the glorious future of Jerusalem?

    The historical evidence we find in the Gospels tells me that it was not God who demanded the death of an innocent man, but rather the demon possessed crowd who cried "crucify him."

    God even sent an angel to Pilate's wife telling not to impose the death penalty on Jesus. Your legal model has God demanding his death. Was God in agreement with the devil and the demon possessed crowd who insisted that he be killed?"

    Like(0)
  18. TO LENNOX
    You said,
    "The Lord has done all that has to be done to save us . now it’s left with us to remedy the defects of our characters by obedience to the message for today . the Jews did not believe on Jesus ..."
    This sounds like we are supposed to work for our salvation. Are you sure we are the one to remedy our defects.Is not this one of the reasons our church is accused of legalism. Legalism is trying to earn salvation by our works. We repent our sin and Holy Spirit qualify us by molding us to christ-like character. This is heart of righteousness by faith.

    Like(3)
  19. Robert,

    You cited the following text: "“And according to the law almost all things are 8purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” [Heb. 9:22]

    Notice the use of the "almost" qualifier the author used. Besides, the reference is to the "talionis lex" rule which was based on retaliation. Jesus did away with the "eye for an eye" legal rule.

    Like(0)
  20. I am so ashamed of the way have been living lately.I turned my life upside down . I keep on making excuses for my actions and my actions have affected many people in a bad way. I pray the Lord forgives me. I know this has nothing to do with this post and i am sorry for that but i needed to say something. God bless you all

    Like(1)
  21. Yes, I believe through Christ we are saved. And only through Christ. You will have to agree that you can't be saved without being born again of Heaven(repent, confess, and forgive). We must be born again of The Spirit, of Water, of the Cross, and of The Love Of God. We must desire the truth, recognizing our need. We must give of ourselves entirely to Christ without reserve. We must surender our bad habits to Christ. We must see JESUS. WE must pray for the Holy Spirit to work in us. We must tell the world what Christ has done for us. NOW we have put on the wedding garment talked about in Matthew 22. None of these are done without, or throuh Christ. Yet if we don't turn to Christ and let Him work through us we may have gained the whole world and lost our soul, be cast out. Luke 9:23.

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  22. We harmonize the death of Christ and the glory of Heavenly Jeruselem, by the victory of Christ: The victorious life of Christ, the victory found in His death and resurection. And the victory of Christ found through out the book of Revelation, to the very end. Yes God has, is, and will take the initiative. The question is, what are WE going to do? Are we going to harden our hearts, or are we going to go to the foot of the Cross humbly submiting to the Holy Spirit.

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