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Why the Cross?

cross 2I’m posting about the power of the cross of Christ. In my last two posts I talked about the curse and transgressions. The cross speaks of both issues. According to Scripture, it’s because of a curse and a transgression that a person is killed on the cross.

But there is a mystery here that the enemy never understood until it was too late. What happens if you put someone on the cross that was not under a curse and never transgressed the law?

Jesus was taken before Pilate for trial by the Jewish leaders. Pilate examined Christ thoroughly and found Him not guilty of any crime. He found no basis for any death penalty. He then presented Christ before the people and publically pronounced Him not guilty.

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”
But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”
John 19:6

The Jewish leaders refused to accept Pilate’s answer. He tried to explain that they had no basis for a charge. Jesus had done nothing worthy of the death penalty. It’s at that point that the Pharisees say something very interesting.

The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”
John 19:7

Jesus is not under a curse. He had no transgression in Him. But they had a law! According to that law, Christ had to die. Why? What was this law that insisted that the Lord of Glory be put to death?

According to the Jewish leaders, “He made Himself the Son of God.” We must understand that to the ancient Jews the term Son of God was equivalent to saying God in the flesh. They understood what Christ was saying about Himself.

God took it upon Himself to clothe Himself in our weaknesses and live among us. He made Himself one of us. That truth is very clear throughout the Scripture.

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:6-8

“He made Himself…” “He humbled Himself…” This was all His work. He needed no one else’s assistance. The God of the universe took on flesh and lived among us.

It turned out that the Jewish leaders were marching right in step with God’s plan. There was a great mystery hidden in the mind of God. God had a law. According to that law, the true Son of God must be put to death on the cross.

The fact is that Jesus had tried to tell this to His disciples over and over again. They were just too unbelieving to grasp it. They kept thinking that when the Lord spoke about His death, He was being allegorical. The cross had been a part of God’s plan since before the universe was created.

The cross was not an accident or an unforeseen tragedy. It had been the Lord’s plan all along.

On the cross of Christ a work was done that we could never totally fathom. In my next post I will close this series with what I think is a great part of this mystery.

Question: Why are you thankful for the cross of Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

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Posted by on October 17, 2014 in Power of God, Revival, The Gospel

 

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What’s a Transgression?

Question MarkI’m taking a few posts to talk about what happened on the cross. We usually emphasize the resurrection, but in the cross there was an incredible release of power. In my last post I talked about the curse of the cross.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5

To say that we were sinners is a huge understatement. The word sin, itself, covers a lot of ground. It simply means to miss the mark. There are many types of sin that we fall into. But it says in this verse that the piercing that Christ received was specifically for our transgressions.

What are transgressions? A transgression is the sin of breaking covenant with God. Through the Bible the only ones who could be guilty of this was Israel. Again and again they transgressed the covenant. If we are going to understand the cross, then we must look at the covenant involved.

Abraham was the first person in history to cut a personal covenant with God, Himself. As a matter of fact, the word covenant is thrown around a lot in Christian circles and we’ve missed its importance.

Up until the time of Abraham, all of the covenants of God dealt with the entire human race. These included the covenants with Adam and Noah. But when God approached Abraham, the covenant became personal.

God’s words to Abraham were, in effect, “If you accept my covenant, then your family will become mine.” This placed the Hebrew people under the direct influence of God. He was now responsible to direct, protect, bless, and provide for them. It was an incredible event that took place when Abraham trusted God for all of this.

But what happened after that? Many teach that when Moses came along, another covenant was instituted. They say that the covenant of the law was now in effect. Nothing could be further from the truth. Listen to how Paul, an expert in the law, describes it.

What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come.
Galatians 3:19a

According to Paul, the law was added. This is an important truth for us to grasp. The Law of Moses was not a new covenant with the children of Israel. It was an addendum to the existing covenant that was made with their father, Abraham.

Why did they need this addition? Again, Paul is clear in his explanation. It was because of transgressions. Over and over again, Abraham’s descendants kept breaking the terms of the covenant.

Abraham’s relationship with God was based on love. He loved and obeyed God. He did everything God asked of him, not out of a sense of obligation, but of trust and friendship.

In the Law, God put in writing the things that Abraham did out of his love for God. So the Law was simply a way for God to remind the Israelites of the cost of being in covenant with God. It also showed them how impossible it was for them to live up to it.

Question: Why did Christ need to bear our transgressions?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2014 in Power of God, Revival, The Gospel

 

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