He had to suffer as He did because sin had to be paid for with innocent blood, an unblemished lamb!
He had to BE the sacrifice that was offered up for our deliverance and freedom.
But it gets better. In the Old Testament, whenever two people or two groups wanted to make peace with one another and share their wealth and blessings with each other, they would make a covenant. Often it was called a "blood covenant." This practice still exists in many parts of the world.
If you have ever heard of Stanley and Livingston, one a missionary, one a reporter, this is exactly what they encountered in their work in Africa. Whenever an African tribal chief would threaten Stanley, he would make a BLOOD COVENANT with a rival tribe by offering gifts and drinking each other's blood. As a result, the threatening tribe would do no harm to Stanley because by attacking him, they would be attacking the rival tribe that Stanley had made a covenant with.
They would cut each other's hand or wrist and rub dust in the wound. The ensuing scar would be proof of the covenant they had, and it would stave off any enemy or cannibal.
This is why Jesus said in John 6:53 , "Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you have no part in Me." He was not encouraging cannibalism! He was saying, "When you receive My death and put your faith in My blood, then you have a blood covenant with Me. Your enemies will now be My enemies. Your battles will now be My battles. Your problems will now be My problems. I will fight them, win them and solve them! I am now your partner for life. I will defend you and protect you and cover you because you honor My covenant by honoring My blood."
In a Hebrew or African covenant between two people, agreements were made, gifts were exchanged, and blood was shed to ratify the covenant. Everything that belonged to one person, now belonged to the other as well, just as in a marriage. This was, and is, the most powerful form of contract that exists in the world.
When Jesus went to the cross, He became the gift, the sacrifice and the blood that now brings us into covenant with God. And what a covenant this is! God says, "All that is Mine is now yours and all that is yours is now Mine." Think of how great this is! Everything we have belongs to God, and everything He has belongs to us!
But we really have nothing to offer, so God says, "Bring Me your sin, and I will bring you My righteousness. Bring Me your sickness, and I will bring you My health. Bring Me your lack, and I will bring you My provision. Bring Me your confusion, and I will bring you My peace. Bring Me your depression, and I will bring you My joy."
This is the power of a covenant. An exchange is made. Gifts are given. Agreements are made and sworn to be kept, by the shedding of blood.
This is why Jesus so willingly laid down His life. He knew that He had to be the animal sacrifice that would bring us into covenant with God!
No other sacrifice would do. No greater love could be possible. No clearer proof that God would back up His promises. Now, all the promises of God in the Bible are available to you—not because you are a good or bad person; but because God backs up His promises with His very own blood!
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