Friday, April 24, 2009
Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)
The Lord Jesus prayed these words while on the cross completing and fulfilling the very reason for which he came to this earth.
Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (John 10:17,18)
As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:15)
Jesus the Messiah was born into this world to teach and to heal, to open the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf, to cast out evil spirits and to heal the crippled and rasie the dead.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. (Isaiah 42:1)
To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. (Isaiah 42:7)
He performed miracles to show forth the mighty power of God and that people might believe in Him and when his time had come he offered himself a sacrifice for the sins of humanity.
John the baptist introduced him as "The lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world."
There cannot be remission of sins without the shedding of blood.
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. (Hebrews 9:22 )
Up until the destruction of the second temple in the year 70 A.D. , the priests of Israel offered up animal sacrifices to atone for their own sins and for the sins of the people. With the destruction of the temple, both the priesthood and animal sacrifices were rendered obsolete.
The Pharisees, who were the fore-bearers of rabbinic Judaism, naturally took the role of the rabbis and priests of the people of Israel. Animal sacrifices were no longer possible and when most of the Jewish people were exiled from their homeland by the Romans in 135 A.D. new laws and rituals were instituted to replace animal sacrifices with regards to atonement for sin.
Jesus, the Lamb of God and faithful high priest, sacrificed himself for the sins of the world fulfilling God's plan of salvation and rendering unnecessary both the priesthood and animal sacrifices.
For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. (Heb 7:26-27)
When Adam and Eve sinned they died spiritually and started dying naturally. Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden and from the presence of God. The virus of sin was passed on to their children and to all of humanity. Immediately after that first sin, the Lord himself, acting as high priest, offered the first animal sacrifice covering Adam and Eve's nakedness and teaching us that without the shedding of blood their can be no remission of sins.
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
(Leviticus 17:11 )
Cain's offering of the fruit of the ground was not acceptable to God. Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and found favour in the eyes of the Lord.
Abraham was commanded to offer up his son of promise, Isaac. While they were travelling up to mount Moriah to the site of the sacrifice, Isaac asked his father, "father, we have the wood and the fire for the sacrifice, but where is the lamb?" Abraham answered, "God will provide for himself a lamb." The Lord prevented Abraham from harming Isaac. Abraham sacrificing His son was to be a picture of God's plan to sacrifice his own son Jesus, the lamb of God.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:7-12)
To focus on Jesus' death and to throw blame on his accusers and harbour hatred and resentment towards those responsible for his crucifixion is to deny God's plan of salvation: Jesus the Lamb of God, came to die!
Jesus knew why he had come to earth. He knew that he was going to die. He knew that he would rise from the dead.
From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. (Matthew 16:21)
When revealing this to his disciples Peter responded in his defence:
Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. (Matthew 16:22-23)
Peter was concerned with Jesus' death and failed to see the miracle of the resurrection: Jesus is alive!
For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (Psalm 16:10)
He came to offer himself a sacrifice for our sins; he was raised from the dead; he appeared to many; he was taken up into heaven and seated at the right hand of the Father.
The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. (Psalm 110:1)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)