When I was a little boy and I first heard about Jesus' death on the cross, I thought, "I wish He would have escaped. I wish it wouldn't have had to happen." But I didn't understand. It had to happen!
Though Jesus died at the hands of Pontius Pilate, nobody really killed Jesus.
He freely laid His life down for you and me. Therefore, all thanks, praise and honor should go directly to Him!
Jesus said in John 15:13 that there is "no greater love that a man can have than this: that he lay his life down for his friends!"
The passion of Jesus Christ is the greatest love story ever told and it's all true. Jesus said in John 10:18, "No one takes My life, but I gladly lay it down on My own initiative ... ." There were many times in the Bible where Pharisees and other religious and political leaders tried to take Jesus' life, but they could not. There was also a time in Luke 4:28-30 when the angry crowd tried to throw Jesus off a cliff, but it says "He passed through their midst."
Jesus willingly gave His life at the exact time that God intended Him to.
Though He died approximately 2000 years ago, God had already made up His mind that Jesus would go to the cross long before that. Revelation 13:8 says, "the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world." In other words, before God created the world and all it contains, He knew He would send His Son to save His creation from its sin.
We have all heard it said, "He paid a great price. He made the ultimate sacrifice." But most people, Christian and non-Christian, don't quite understand what this great price bought us. Sure, we say it bought us salvation, but it bought us much, much more.
You see, Jesus did not "Make the ultimate sacrifice." Jesus WAS the ultimate sacrifice!
In Exodus 12, God promised the children of Israel that Moses would lead them out of Egypt into the Promised Land. They were instructed to take an unblemished lamb, slaughter it, put its blood over the doorposts, and eat what was called the Passover lamb.
Here is another truth, that growing up as a Catholic boy, I thought had no relevance to my religion. I went to a school that had a lot of Jewish children and they got a lot of school days off for Jewish holidays such as Passover. I had to go to school those days! It was ingrained in me that Passover was just for the Jews.
But after I got saved and I studied the Word of God, I came to realize the foreshadowing that the Passover of Exodus 12 truly represented. Here they were in bondage to Pharaoh—enslaved, impoverished and without hope. And God instructs them to take a lamb! This lamb's blood caused the plague of death to PASS OVER them; to heal them and to feed them.
What a picture of our lives! We were in bondage to sin and the devil, spiritually poor and destitute, and without hope in this world. Yet when we receive the blood of THE LAMB OF GOD, who takes away the sin of the world, we are brought out of bondage, "out of Egypt, " into the "promised land" of salvation, joy and freedom! This is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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