John 3:16 “This is how much God loved the world: he gave his Son, his one and only
Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone
can have a whole and everlasting life” – The Message Bible.
This is one of the most famous passages of scripture in the world. Whether you are
a believer in God or not this famous passage captures how God felt about mankind
and indicates to what level he was prepared to go in order that man could once again
be united with him.
When man sinned the heavens mourned, however God and his Son Jesus had a plan, this
plan was that innocent Jesus would come and live as a man on earth. He did this to
prove that man could live life fully dependant upon God. He would then take the position
of man and die in his place, (this is because God had told Adam and Eve that if they
eat the apple they would surely die (more on Adam and Eve) although this did not
happen immediately man was originally designed to never die); they did and mankind
was then condemned to death). Only Jesus could be the sacrifice for man because he
lived a blameless life.
Jesus’ sacrifice marked the turning point in the relationship between God and all
mankind. Though there is a record of peoples sins, as a result of reconciliation,
God does not count their sins against them (Our message is that God was making all
human beings his friends through Christ. God did not keep an account of their sins,
2 Corinthians 5:19 – The Good News Bible). (More on salvation)
Let’s take the idea of sacrifice and move it to something that may be simpler to
understand. Two children, a boy and girl are in a room and the girl is playing with
a ball while their parents are out. The girl throws the ball and accidentally breaks
the television. The children’s parents return to find the broken television and they
want to know who broke it. At this point the boy steps forward and declares that
he is the one responsible. He is only able to do this and truly take on the punishment
for his sister because he was not involved in the accident. If he had been part of
the accident then the punishment that he so nobly stepped forward to receive would
have been one that he rightly deserved.
Because Jesus was completely innocent, having never committed a sin he was able to
take on the sins of the world and therefore take the punishment that was rightly
ours. Many Christians talk about the ‘blood of Jesus’ and this concept of ‘spilling
blood’ is one that was practiced in other religions, and dates back to the Old Testament.
In those days priests used to sacrifice an animal (the animal had to be unblemished
as it represented the Messiah who was to come) and the blood was sprinkled on an
alter. This was to symbolize how sorry the people were, their faith in the coming
Messiah and forgiveness of their sins was granted.
The New Testament reveals that the Old Testament ceremonies for obtaining forgiveness,
purification and reconciliation through animal sacrifice was done away with once
Jesus’ blood was spilt at His sacrifice at Calvary.
The Bible says that Jesus’ ministry was such that if all the events that surrounded
him were written down that it would fill volumes of books, as it is we are given
accounts of his life in the gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We know that Jesus
was a good man and many religions outside of Christianity including Judaism acknowledge
this fact. His life was spent doing good and spreading the truth about the God of
love. However Jesus knew that one day he would be sacrificed to bear the sins of
the world and therefore free mankind from a death sentence that was instigated when
Adam and Eve first sinned.
“If Christ is not risen”, Paul said in the Bible, “then our preaching is in vain
and your faith is also in vain”. Jesus Christ was physically raised from the dead
and ascended to heaven where he intercedes on behalf of mankind. This basically means
that Jesus Christ is our lawyer in heaven; he acts as our defence against the crimes
that we commit on a daily basis, the punishment for such crimes should be eternal
death (the law states that those who sin should die). The good news is that he is
the best defence lawyer we could have; not only that, his services are free; all
we need to do is call him to help us. (See how to pray)
You don’t get anything for nothing’ is a common saying and this can also be applied
to Jesus’ Life, Death and Resurrection. We need to accept the gift that has been
given to us; if we reject the gift then we reject the opportunity to be with God
in paradise and the plan to save mankind which meant that Jesus had to die on the
cross would be in vain.
The only way to salvation is through the events that happened to Jesus Christ. Many
religions suggest that it is possible to work your way into heaven; unfortunately
for these believers this is not the case. Yes, if we believe in God then we have
to live what we believe; however doing good acts, being selfless or philanthropic
will not guarantee a place in heaven. This is one of the reasons why Jesus came to
this earth, to show us his way which includes those noble acts but also states that
we need to rely upon him fully in order for us to reach heaven.
This love should motivate us to share the knowledge that we have with others so that
they in turn will have an opportunity to be with Father God the Creator and his son