Four Things Jesus Did on the Cross
By Pastor Tom Anderson
Why did Jesus die? If he was all that we believe he is–the eternal Son of God come down from heaven–why then did he die such a horrible death? Such questions underscore that Christianity is not a wisdom religion based on acquiring knowledge and self-help. Christian faith is about a transaction that was accomplished by God in human history. It’s the Cross t. Let’s look at four things God did for you on the Cross.
He demonstrated his love for all people. “God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:5) People can run away from God, deny God, ignore God, curse God, even murder God. But nobody can make God stop loving the whole human family. On the cross, God stretches out his arms of love seeking to draw all people into the embrace of salvation. No one can ever say that God could never love them. The Cross is the permanent and enduring mark of the universal, unbreakable and relentless love of God. Any human being we might encounter is a person for whom Jesus shed his blood. The bedrock of the universe is not meaninglessness and despair but the abundant love of God.
He beat the devil.”The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” (! John 3:8) The devil is an accuser. He is our active discourager. He constantly whispers to us that we are losers who live futile lives. The devil worked in conspiracy with religious and Roman leaders to put Jesus on the cross. The Devil believed that he had won by destroying Jesus. The devil did not realize that Jesus went to the cross voluntarily. The devil did not know that Jesus had the power of an indestructible life. The devil did not realize that Jesus entered death itself to destroy it from the inside out. And now there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God for us in Jesus Christ–no devil and not even death itself.
He paid our debt of sin. Sin creates an obligation to make amends with God for ruining the plans he had for us. It is a debt so big that no one could ever pay it off. So human beings are at a spiritual impasse. We owe a debt to God that we cannot pay. God breaks the impasse: “You who were dead in your trespasses…, God made alive…by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13,14) The debt of sin has been paid and the way to God is forever open through Christ.
He substituted himself for our atonement. Because of our sin, the alienation and death of the cross should have been ours. But Jesus took our place. “For God has done what the law weakened by the flesh could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4) Justice was poured out on Jesus and for our sake he absorbed and satisfied it. In trusting the cross, we can know that on judgment day we will stand acquitted and free with our Savior Jesus Christ.