Jesus’ Suffering: Why?
Jesus suffered to save us. But what was his sufferings all about? Before I want to answer that question, I first want to show what the problem was. When we understand this, we will beter understand what the reason for Jesus’ suffering was and why he suffered in the way he did. Let’s start by looking at how the original situation was when God created everything.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” ~ Genesis 1,26-28 ~
Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground — trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. … The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” ~ Genesis 2,7-9 & 2,15-16 ~
Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. … Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day. ~ Genesis 2,19 & 3,8 ~
The above passages show how good God had created life. In the first passage we read that mankind was created in the image of God to rule over the earth. In other words, he made them like kings and queens to take care the earth. In the second passage we read that God personally formed man and breathed life in them. God even prepared a garden for man to live in. Life in the garden was very good. As we can also read in the last passage, Adam and his wife were unashamed and God walked with them in the garden.
However, to live this blessed life as kings and queens, there was only one condition for mankind. They had to submit to God who created them. Therefore, they shouldn’t eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They could eat from the tree of life and all the other trees in the garden.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” ~ Genesis 3,1-10 ~
We read here that man and his wife were deceived and eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The consequences are noticed immediately. Both man and his wife feel naked and ashamed. Not only for each other, but also for God. The garden was such a blessed place to live, but this was lost. Read more about the consequences announced by God.
To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” … And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the three of life. ~ Genesis 3,16-19 & 3,22-24 ~
While man was created in God’s image and had been given life through God’s breath, they lost everything given to them. They were banished from the tree of life, because they would be unable to live righteous while knowing good and evil. In the garden, man could walk with God. However, God had to drive them out of the garden to die, which must have been painful and hard for God. Now the relationship between man and God was broken, man could not rule the earth anymore and lost its royal position. Besides that, God announced that because of their rebellion, life of man will be a struggle and painful. We can see that in the suffering of people around us through diseases and broken relationships. This is not how God created the world, but is a result of sin. However, this is not the end. God didn’t lose control. He was still God and prophesied a turn in events.
So the LORD said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 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 heel.” ~ Genesis 3,14-15 ~
Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. ~ Genesis 3,20-21 ~
The serpent was the deceiver himself clothed like a serpent. This is why “the devil” or “Satan” is later called “the ancient serpent”. Because the serpent deceived man, it is cursed. Besides, God prophesied that there will be a war between mankind and Satan. Even though Satan will make the life of man very hard, Satan will be destroyed. In the latter passage we see a great image of God’s saving plan. God made garments of skin, which must be skin of an animal. God made garments of this skin and clothed Adam and Eve. In other words, God sacrificed an animal to take away the shame of man. This is an image that prophesies what Jesus will do. Jesus will be sacrificed to take away the shame of man.
After the fall of man, God had two options. Because man had fallen in sin, they couldn’t rule over the earth. God could destroy mankind and rule over the earth himself. But this was not what God wanted, therefore he had to restore the position of man. One of the offspring of the woman would be the Son of Man. He will restore the position of man to rule over the earth again.
Mankind was fallen into sin and couldn’t live righteous anymore. The relationship between man and God was lost. Also, because of the fall of man, man would suffer pain and diseases, but would suffer from Satan as well. Therefore, for the Son of Man to restore the position of man, he needed to be wounded, to be pierced and to die. I will explain this more when I write about Jesus’ Suffering related to Healing, Forgiveness and Freedom.
Jesus’ Suffering: Healing
As explained in the previous section, man fell into sin and therefore the Son needed to restore the position of man. A fair question would be: is Jesus the Son of Man? Let’s read what is said to Jesus’ mother by an angel before Jesus’ birth.
The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at this words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” ~ Luke 1,28-33 ~
Here we read that Jesus will be a great man and will rule forever. That is at least something that would restore the position of man. But is he really the Son of Man? In the following passage Jesus claims to be the Son of Man in word and in deeds.
Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man. ~ Matthew 9,1-8 ~
Here we read that Jesus claims to be the Son of Man and that he has authority to forgive and to heal. But how could Jesus heal a paralyzed person? This was not the only time that Jesus healed someone. We read something interesting when Jesus heals many in another occasion.
When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” ~ Matthew 8,16-17 ~
So when Jesus is healing people, it is to fulfill a prophecy about him. The prophecy teaches us that Jesus took upon him our infirmities and our diseases. This is very interesting and we will come back to this prophecy later. First we will look at Jesus’ suffering and then we will find out what this has to do with healing. Jesus’ suffering started after he was betrayed by one of his closed disciples, Judas. He is taken captive by the Jewish leaders, that were the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They hated Jesus and wanted to kill him, because he had a lot of followers and because he didn’t lived according to the way they explained the law. However, they were actually corrupt and only wanted to be honored by the people. When they questioned Jesus, they couldn’t find anything to accuse Jesus.
Then the high priest stood up before him and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I AM,” said Jesus, “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him. ~ Mark 14,60-65 ~
When Jesus proclaims that he really is the Son of Man and that he will share the rule of God and judge all people (which is true), the high priest would not accept it and all the Jewish leaders with him. They condemned him to death, but they first mock and beat him. They captured Jesus in the evening and in the morning they decided to bring Jesus to the roman governor. So, you understand that Jesus was quite beaten up in the mean time. The roman governor, Pilate, couldn’t find anything to have Jesus executed. Therefore, Pilate wanted to release Jesus even though the Jewish people asked for Jesus execution. So he let the Jews decide if he should release Jesus or a murderer called Barabbas. The people chose Barabbas to be released and demanded that Jesus was crucified.
Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor. … Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. ~ Matthew 27,1 & 27,26-31 ~
In the next part I will share more about why Jesus needed to be crucified. For now, we will look at how Jesus suffered to be beaten and flogged. He was first beaten by the Jewish guards during the night. Then he is flogged by the roman soldiers. A flogging in those days meant that most of your skin is torn of your body. The romans used sticks with short ropes. Small hooks were attached at the end of the ropes. These hooks tore your skin apart during the flogging. Thus at the time the romans soldiers started to mock Jesus with a crown of thorns, he has already suffered immense pain. However, the soldiers still wanted to make fun of Jesus. But this is not an accident. Jesus is crowned with a crown of thorns. As we learned in the first section, thorns were a part of God’s curse over the earth. The suffering of man is related to the thorns which the earth brought forth because of the fall of man. This suffering of mankind because of the fall of man was put on Jesus’ head. He was wounded when thorns were pressed in his head. In this way he took upon him the full curse of mankind’s suffering. But why did Jesus have to be beaten and flogged? To answer this question, we will look at the prophecy from Isaiah mentioned earlier. Read what the prophet Isaiah said about Jesus.
Just as there were many who were appalled at him — his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form was marred beyond human likeness — … He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. ~ Isaiah 52,14 & 53,3-5 ~
So what do we learn from this? From the first part we learn that Jesus would suffer so much that it was appalling to look at him. After the beatings of the Jews and romans and also the flogging of the roman soldiers, it is understandable that is was terrible to look at Jesus. I think I would prefer to look the other way when I would have seen Jesus in such a state. But from the latter part we learn that by Jesus’ wounds, we are healed.
Through the fall of man, mankind suffered because the earth was cursed. Through the Son of Man, healing is available for those who suffer from sickness and pain. What does this mean for us. People were healed before Jesus suffered. This happened through faith in what God would do through Jesus (although they may not have understood it all). However, we know that we are healed through Jesus’ wounds. This statement makes it clear that it is already fulfilled. Jesus does not have to suffer anymore to get you healed from sickness or pain. It is done and it is available for you. We do not only have to believe that God will heal us, we have a legal right to be healed because of Jesus. This truth is so strong and real that you can be healed while you read this. If you do not notice anything, don’t worry. You can send your Prayer Request and you will receive prayer for your healing. To conclude this section, we will look at the following passage which is very encouraging.
A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. ~ Mark 1,40-42 ~
There are two things I want to say about this passage. First of all, Jesus touched a leper. According to prescriptions in the Old Testament this would make him unclean, but instead the leper is cleansed. This shows that the blessing and healing that came through Jesus is stronger than the curse that made man suffer. The second thing is, Jesus confirms that he is willing to heal. From the original text it follows that this can also be interpreted that it is Jesus’ desire to heal. The point is that we shouldn’t wonder that God wants to heal us. Jesus didn’t suffer for fun, it was terrible! You do not want to waste Jesus’ horrible suffering, the price for your healing, do you?
Jesus’ Suffering: Forgiveness
After Jesus was beaten several times and was flogged also, he was led away to be crucified. The flogging was a standard procedure for those who were executed by crucifixion. This flogging was so severe that some even died because of it. However, Jesus had to go on the cross, it would not have been enough to save us when he had died after his flogging. Before I explain why Jesus had to be crucified and why he was not just stoned or beheaded or received any other less painful form of execution, I will tell a bit more about crucifixion.
Although the flogging was terrible, the crucifixion itself was even much worse. It was said that those who died because of the flogging were ‘lucky’. At the cross, the executed person was stripped of his clothes to hang the person naked on the cross. This was done by spreading his arms and putting two large nails through his wrists. Also there was a small support block attached to the cross and the executed person’s feet were nailed to this block. This was so the person hanging on the cross could push himself up while hanging on the cross. This seems helpful, but actually this was one of the reasons why the crucifixion is the most painful death. Because the crucified person could only breathe while he hold himself up. But the nails through his wrist pressed on the nervus medianus, a nerve which goes through the wrist. So every time the crucified person moved, he experienced severe pain. This pain is almost unbearable. If the person was only nailed through his wrists, he would soon not be able to hold himself up and die from suffocation. However, because of the little support block, the crucified person could push himself up. In this way he was able to breathe a little more for a while before he has to push himself up again. Only, by pushing himself up, his full weight pressed on the nail in his feet. So, while the crucified person survived by holding and pushing himself up, he is torturing himself. Let alone that the crucified person is also hanging with his flogged skin to the rough wooden cross. The crucified person would eventually die because of exhaustion why he couldn’t push himself up anymore and died from suffocation.
So after Jesus’ terrible suffering because of beatings and his flogging, his suffering became even worse. The question remains, why did Jesus have to suffer in this way? First of all, we know that God breathed the breath of life into man in the beginning. Breathing is torturing during the crucifixion. The blessing of life is reversed to a path of suffering that leads to death. Also, from the above we learn that Jesus was put on the cross naked. In the first section we learned that, because of the fall of man, man became ashamed of being naked. We also learned in the first section that God prophesied that there will come a sacrifice that covers our shame. Jesus is put on the cross naked. We may state that this happened to show that he would take our shame away. Now, let’s look at the prophecy from the prophet Isaiah again, this will help us understand Jesus’ sacrifice even more.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. ~ Isaiah 53,5-6 ~
Here it clearly states that Jesus was pierced for our transgressions. In other words, he was nailed on the cross because we have gone our own way in sin and Jesus paid the price for this. Through his punishment we received peace. This has to do with taking our shame away. After the fall, man became ashamed and the relationship with God was broken. Jesus covered our guilt toward God with his sacrifice and this gave us peace. We do not have to be ashamed to come to God anymore. Jesus crucifixion was the sacrifice we needed as is explained in the following passages.
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming — not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. ~ Hebrews 10,1-4 ~
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. ~ Hebrews 9,22 ~
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. ~ Hebrews 10,19-22 ~
In the first two passages we see that sacrifices are connected with the shedding of blood. The sacrifices of bulls and goats could not take away our sin. In the second passage we learn that the shedding of blood is required for our forgiveness. From the last passage we learn that Jesus’ blood, his sacrifice for us, makes it possible to come before God unashamed. This makes sense, the shame and guilt is taken away through Jesus’ sacrifice. There is forgiveness through his sacrifice and therefore we can come to God unashamed. Jesus teaches also about this during his life.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” ~ Mark 10,45 ~
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” ~ John 10,11 ~
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the New Covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” ~ Matthew 26,27-28 ~
Jesus prophesied that he would sacrifice himself to redeem us. He paid the price for our sins so we could receive forgiveness. Jesus’ sacrifice was required to reconcile us with God. This was prophesied by Jesus and even before Jesus was born. We can recognize a strong image of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice in the Day of Atonement. This was a very important day in the Jewish calendar. On this day two goats were set apart. One of the goats was sent away to die, but I will elaborate about this more during the next section. The other goat was offered to God for the sins of the people. Read what is written about this in the following passages.
Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the LORD and sacrifice it for a sin offering. … The bull and the goat for the sin offerings, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp; their hides, flesh and intestines are to be burned up. ~ Leviticus 17,9 & 17,27 ~
The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. ~ Hebrews 13,11-12 ~
From these passages we learn that Jesus is sacrificed outside the city, he was crucified outside the city, to reconcile us with God and to make us holy. His sacrifice on the cross was the sin offering which would cleanse us forever. Therefore Jesus needed to be pierced on a cross. The following passages makes it also very clear why Jesus had to be crucified and should not be executed in another way.
For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. ~ Galatians 3,10-14 ~
At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) ~ Mark 15,33-34 ~
A little remark before I explain this passage. In the first section we read that the serpent, that is Satan, was cursed because it deceived man. Also the ground was cursed so man would suffer during life. However, it is remarkable that man himself was not cursed, but only suffered (a lot) from the cursed ground. However, we also learned that man was not able to live righteous because of the knowledge of good and evil. In other words, sin became part of life. Later, the law was given. But the law did not help to overcome sin. Actually, even though the law is holy and perfect, sin used the law to tempt man to sin even more. In this way, the law became a curse, because it let us to sin and condemned us because of our sins. From the above passage we learn that Jesus became a curse for us, because he was crucified and by law that meant that he was cursed. Man was not cursed when he fell into sin, because Jesus would be cursed instead of man. Jesus was forsaken by God, so we could come to God again. In the next section, we will learn more about being free from the law. It is really powerful! For now, I want to conclude with the following passage which is amazing.
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood — to be received through faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left sin committed beforehand unpunished — he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. ~ Romans 3,21-26 ~
Here it says again that we are justified through Jesus’ blood. Everyone is born in sin through the fall of man and therefore everyone needs the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. When we put our trust in Jesus we are justified because of his sacrifice. That means that we receive forgiveness out of grace, we cannot do anything to deserve this. If you find it hard to put your trust in Jesus and have faith that you are forgiven, note that God shows that he is just by forgiving us because of our faith in Jesus. In other words, whatever sins you have done, when you put your trust in Jesus, God forgives you because he is righteous. So, if you didn’t know that you can receive forgiveness or if think that God is still angry at you for whatever reason, why don’t you start to pray and come before God. Know that you do not come because of yourself, but because of Jesus and his sacrifice. You come under the New Covenant made by the blood of Jesus. Come to God the Father and accept forgiveness for your sins. Receive his love for you. Know that God sacrificed Jesus out of love even before you came to him. It is his desire that you come to him and that you two are reconciled and have peace. If you find it hard to take this step or just prefer to not take this step alone, go to Contact to share what you think about taking this step and be assisted during this important and beautiful step.
Jesus’ Suffering: Freedom
As we learned so far, because of Jesus’ suffering, we are healed and we are forgiven through faith in Jesus. Because Jesus crucified it was certain that he was going to die. However, Jesus’ death was also important in itself. As I mentioned in the previous section, the Day of Atonement gives a strong image of Jesus’ atoning work for us. I mentioned that there were two goats. One was sacrificed as a sin offer, an image of Jesus’ crucifixion. Read what is written about this other goat.
But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat. … When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites — all their sins — and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness. ~ Leviticus 16,10 & 16,20-22 ~
We learn from the above passage that the scapegoat was chosen to make atonement by sending it into the wilderness to die. This makes clear to us that Jesus’ sacrifice alone is not the complete atonement. We need forgiveness and we can only receive forgiveness through faith in Jesus because of his blood shed for us. However, it was also necessary that Jesus died. That is what fully reconciles us with God. To understand this better, let’s read the following passage.
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. … Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. ~ John 8,31-36 & 8,42-44 ~
Jesus says to those who believed in him that they would be free when they obeyed him. He gives two reasons why these believers needed to be set free: first of all, they were sinning and therefore they were slaves, and second, they were children of the devil. What they needed was to become a new person and to be delivered from the power of sin and Satan. That is why Jesus needed to die.
We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin — because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. ~ Romans 6,2-7 ~
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 6,22-23 ~
For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man. So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. ~ Romans 7,2-6 ~
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation. The old has gone, the new is here! ~ 2 Corinthians 5,17 ~
Since the children (that are the believers) have flesh and blood, he (that is Jesus) too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil — and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. ~ Hebrews 2,14-15 ~
The above passages are really powerful. We learn that through baptism we die with Christ. When we are baptized in the name of Christ, we are baptized in Jesus. That means that we do belong to Jesus from then on. It also means that when we are baptized, we lay our old life on Jesus and our old life dies with Jesus on the cross. Therefore, our old life bound by sin is dead and we can live free from sin. This also means that we are not under the law anymore. The law can only bound us till our death. Since we died, through baptism with Christ, we are free from the law and can live by the Spirit. Through sin and the law we were living to gain death. But, now we are set free from sin and the law, because of Jesus’ death and through baptism in Jesus, we can live for God and gain eternal life. So, the power of Satan is broken by Jesus’ death as we learned from the last passage. Thus when we are baptized in Christ, our old life has gone and we start a new life in Christ!
This is very great, but maybe it is hard to understand. We will look at the Day of Atonement and the scapegoat again. The scapegoat was send into the wilderness after confession of the high priest of all the sins of the people. John the Baptist calls people to get baptize while they confess their sins. Peter calls people to repent and be baptized in Jesus’ name at Pentecost. Repentance includes confession, so confession and baptism are related by both John the Baptist and Peter. However, Jesus was also baptized. He didn’t get baptized to confess his sins, but to take up the confessed sins. This is as timeless as was taking up of our diseases and taking up our guilt. He took upon him our diseases, punishment and our old lives, once and for all. This means that when we are healed today, we are healed because Jesus took up our pain and paid for it about 2000 years ago. When we come to God and put our trust in Jesus today, we are forgiven today, because Jesus took upon him our punishment and paid with his blood for our forgiveness about 2000 years ago. When we get baptized today, our old life is laid on Jesus in his baptism and died with Jesus on the cross about 2000 years ago. The following passages will clarify this even more.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. ~ Matthew 3,13-15 ~
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ~ 2 Corinthians 5,21 ~
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. ~ Mark 1,9-13 ~
Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. ~ Hebrews 2,18 ~
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet he did not sin. ~ Hebrews 4,15 ~
From the first two passages we learn that Jesus is baptized to fulfill all righteousness and that we become the righteousness of God because Jesus took up our sin. These two are related. Through repentance and baptism we lay our old life including all our sins on Jesus. Jesus took up our old lives and all our sins when he got baptized. He carried them with him to the cross and let it all die. Despite the fact that he took upon him all our sins, he did not sin himself. Not even when he was tempted by Satan. That Jesus didn’t sin at all is very important. If he had sinned, his death would be justified. But Jesus overcame the power of sin and Satan, so when he died the power of sin and Satan was defeated and death could be overcome. That is why we are set free through baptism because of Jesus’ baptism and death. And so all righteousness can be fulfilled, because through this we can become the righteousness of God.
“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. Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 15,55-57 ~
So, by his life and death Jesus overcome death and gained life. This is another reason why Jesus had to die. Jesus needed to die so we may receive eternal life.
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance — now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. … Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. ~ Hebrews 9,14-17 & 9,26-28 ~
This passage shows another reason why Jesus needed to die. Jesus had won eternal life through his victory over death. But for us to take part in it, Jesus needed to die, so we can inherit eternal life. But this is not only something we can look forward to. We can already receive the Holy Spirit when we become in Christ. This was already prophesied by the prophet Ezekiel.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. ~ Ezekiel 36,26-27 ~
This prophecy shows that we will receive a new heart. When we are baptized and come into Christ, we become a new person. In other words, our heart of stone which is dead because of the knowledge of good and evil, will be replaced by a heart of flesh. We will receive a new life and a clean conscience. This prophecy also promised that we will receive God’s Spirit. More about this is found in the following passages.
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. … Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. ~ Galatians 3,26-29 & 3,13-14 ~
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about our adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs. ~ Romans 8,14-17 ~
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession — to the praise of his glory. ~ Ephesians 1,13-14 ~
So from the above passages it follows that we are children of God through faith and baptism in Christ. We need to be in Christ, to be God’s child. When we are God’s children, we are also heirs. The ultimate inheritance is eternal life, but for now we can receive the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is given to us to fulfill God’s promise. We can receive the Spirit through faith and because we are God’s children.
When Jesus will appear again, he will judge the world and bring salvation for those who wait for him. Our old life is judged when we got baptized. It is crucified with Christ. If we are not baptized, our life will be judged when Jesus returns. After we are baptized, we need to live by the Spirit. When we are led by the Spirit, we live as God’s children and will inherit eternal life. So, because Jesus died we could receive a new life in him. He also died so we could inherit the promised Spirit. When we are led by the Spirit of God, then this Spirit will be our deposit for eternal life. Jesus can give us eternal life because he conquered over sin, over Satan and over death with his life and death.
To conclude the following passages. These show that the position of man is restored in Jesus Christ. Jesus brought the Kingdom of God. It is amazing!
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” ~ Matthew 28,16-18 ~
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. ~ Ephesians 2,4-6 ~
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. ~ 1 Peter 2,9 ~
If you have not laid down your life in baptism, don’t wait! This step is really important, even if you have already received forgiveness as we learned in the previous section. Be set free from the bondage of sin and Satan. Become God’s child in Christ and led God restore you as a royal priest and be part of a holy nation. Receive the promised Holy Spirit to really live as a child of God and be ready for the return of Jesus. Be prepared to receive the inheritance of eternal life. This is the most important step to a new life in Christ, for today and for all eternity. Of course, if you have questions about this, feel free to Contact us or send an email to email@example.com.
Gods bless you,
Founder of Experience Jesus