March 30, 2010

Understanding Jesus’ Sacrifice MATTHEW 26:36-46

Jesus journeyed into the deepest pit of despair hours before His crucifixion. In the garden of Gethsemane, He repeatedly prayed that “the cup” would pass away (Matt. 26:39). Christ was staring into a chalice of wrath and judgment that must have made His soul recoil (Is. 51:17). Mankind had filled it with the most depraved and evil deeds and thoughts they could conceive. According to Scripture, Jesus Christ did not just die for our sins; He became our sin (2 Cor. 5:21). The holy, perfect Lamb took on Himself all that was vile and dark.

Furthermore, Jesus knew the consequences of accepting mankind’s evil. God’s holiness prevented Him from being in the presence of sin. Therefore, the Father would have to separate Himself from the Son. Jesus had always enjoyed perfect oneness and relationship with God. To contemplate a wrenching rejection and separation must have been terrifying.

There was no question that Jesus would do God’s will. He would become sin and be separated from the Father, if that’s what was required to save mankind. For a while in the garden, He pleaded for another route to our redemption. However, when it was clear that the Father’s answer was “No, this is the only way,” Jesus obediently sacrificed Himself.

Jesus Christ sacrificed more than His life. He exchanged perfection for wickedness and holy union for separation. The Savior did this so we could be transformed into righteous men and women with an eternal future. No wonder all of heaven exalts Him (Rev. 5:11-14). We must do the same.