A Picture of Grace-

In Apologetics, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Satan, Saved on February 12, 2009 at 2:47 pm

A Picture of Grace









What is Jesus doing on the Cross?

The cross, Jesus crucifixion and resurrection have changed history like no other single event. Incidentally some basic facts regarding the cross, not until the second century was the cross welcomed as the central symbol of Christianity. The emperor Constantine saw it in a vision and banned it as an instrument of execution. In the early church it was a hideous symbol of death especially to anyone who had witnessed an actual execution. The crucifixion of living persons was not practiced among the Hebrews; capital punishment among them consisted in being stoned to death, e.g. the protomartyr Stephen (Acts, vii, 57, 58). But when Palestine became Roman territory the cross was introduced as a form of punishment, more particularly for those who could not prove their Roman citizenship; later on it was reserved for thieves and malefactors (Josephus, Antiq., XX, vi, 2; Bell. Jud., II, xii, 6; XIV, 9; V, xi, 1).


Today we depict the cross as common and a kind of talisman for good luck or protection. Ironic isn’t it that a symbol of the most heinous form of death is now thought of as good luck. We seem to have lost our reverence for the severe cost it represents to the followers of the way. Probably as the author James MacDonald stated ‘This is profanity in the truest sense!’


The scriptures have more to say on this:

Mat 27:15  During Passover the governor always freed a prisoner chosen by the people.

Mat 27:16  At that time a well-known terrorist named Jesus Barabbas was in jail.

Mat 27:17  So when the crowd came together, Pilate asked them, “Which prisoner do you want me to set free? Do you want Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

Mat 27:18  Pilate knew that the leaders had brought Jesus to him because they were jealous.

Mat 27:19  While Pilate was judging the case, his wife sent him a message. It said, “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man. I have had nightmares because of him.”

Mat 27:20  But the chief priests and the leaders convinced the crowds to ask for Barabbas to be set free and for Jesus to be killed.

Mat 27:21  Pilate asked the crowd again, “Which of these two men do you want me to set free?” “Barabbas!” they replied.

Mat 27:22  Pilate asked them, “What am I to do with Jesus, who is called the Messiah?” They all yelled, “Nail him to a cross!”

Mat 27:23  Pilate answered, “But what crime has he done?” “Nail him to a cross!” they yelled even louder.

Mat 27:24  Pilate saw that there was nothing he could do and that the people were starting to riot. So he took some water and washed his hands in front of them and said, “I won’t have anything to do with killing this man. You are the ones doing it!”

Mat 27:25  Everyone answered, “We and our own families will take the blame for his death!”


What does this passage reveal about Jesus and the cross?


What is Jesus doing on the Cross? He is substituting. When the bible talks about the two thieves it has a more literal translation that is significant to today “revolutionaries or terrorists”. Jesus Barabbas was a most notorious criminal and quite possibly the leader of their group of revolutionaries, not unlike Osama bin Laden is as notorious today for Al-Qaeda.


Luk 23:19  Now Barabbas was in jail because he had started a riot in the city and had murdered someone.


The focus is not Barabbas, the crowd or the mock trial for the purpose of this lesson and its application to our faith. It’s the substituting of Jesus the Christ for Barabbas that is our attention right now, Jesus dies first for Barabbas, then for every other member of the human race who has ever lived and is going to live till he returns. In the same way that Barabbas was guilty and had the proper judgment placed on him Jesus took his place an innocent man taking on the punishment of the guilty man and setting him free. This is even more important if we consider that our sin deserves the same punishment because we were already sentenced in the garden. I deserve that death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.


Rom 6:23  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


2Co 5:21  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.


Rom 5:8  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


What’s Jesus doing on the cross? -Scandal and Suffering


The cross is an outrageous offense. The Cross makes scandalous claims that cause intense reactions. First the Romans, then the Jewish leaders, now even the criminal take their shot at the Savior on the cross. What a scandal! Why the irrational hatred of Jesus Christ? Why the illogical animosity toward our Lord?

How is Jesus treated irrationally within our community and the nation today?

Have you personally experienced scandalizing hatred because of your faith in Jesus?

What’s Jesus doing on the cross? He’s fighting for the souls on men.


Mat 27:28  And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him,

Mat 27:29  and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

Mat 27:30  And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head.

Mat 27:31  And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.

Mat 27:39  And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads

Mat 27:40  and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

Mat 27:41  So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying,

Mat 27:42  “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.

Mat 27:43  He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'”



What’s Jesus doing on the Cross? He’s suffering


1st century executions were not like modern ones. They did not seek a quick, painless death or the preservation of any measure of dignity. On the contrary, they sought an agonizing torture that completely humiliated the victim. Through the eons of time and eternity Jesus had only known perfect unity with the Father now as he hung on the cross he experienced total separation from that perfect unity. Forsaken by the Father, how can we as human and finite understand the inseparable eternal God who turned his wrath and hatred for sin on his “only begotten Son”? The Bible explains death not as loss of life but as separation from God.


Mar 15:33  And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.

Mar 15:34  And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Mar 15:35  And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.”

Mar 15:36  And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.”

Mar 15:37  And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last.

Mar 15:38  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

Mar 15:39  And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”



What did Jesus do on the Cross?  He is satisfying


How many times has someone asked Why if God is God doesn’t he do something about all the evil in the world? He did!!  Consider the very moment Jesus gave up his life the curtain (veil) in the temple was torn from top to bottom the Holy of Holies was now available to every believer. The judgment (price) that God placed on sin in the Garden with Adam was now paid in full. All of God’s wrath, anger and hatred of sin for all of human history was poured out and spent on Jesus at the Cross. When Jesus declared “it is finished” God declared “paid in full”!


Mat 27:50  And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

Mat 27:51  And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.

Mat 27:52  The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised,

Mat 27:53  and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

Mat 27:54  When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”


Finally four pictures of Grace:


  1. Grace that redeems- The penalty is gone


God choose to set his love on us, apart from Christ we belong to the kingdom of darkness.


Col 1:13  For He has delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son;

Col 1:14  in whom we have redemption through His blood, the remission of sins.

Col 1:15  who is the image of the invisible God, the First-born of all creation.


  1. Grace that releases-The power id gone


There’s a grace that releases you and me from the power of sin here and now. Do we want more of that?


Rom 6:10  For in that He died, He died to sin once; but in that He lives, He lives to God.

Rom 6:11  Likewise count yourselves also to be truly dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom 6:12  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.

Rom 6:13  Do not yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but yield yourselves to God, as one alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

Rom 6:14  For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under Law, but under grace.


  1. Grace that reconciles-The prejudice is gone


Prejudice has always existed, Romans and everyone else, Jews and Gentiles, the religious lost and the true believers. Too often we look for ways to separate and give distinction to certain others instead of extending God’s grace and being right with others.


Eph 2:13  But now in Christ Jesus you who were once afar off are made near by the blood of Christ.

Eph 2:14  For He is our peace, He making us both one, and He has broken down the middle wall of partition between us,

Eph 2:15  having abolished in His flesh the enmity (the Law of commandments contained in ordinances) so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, making peace between them;

Eph 2:16  and so that He might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity in Himself.


  1. Grace the removes- My past is gone


Maybe our issues revolve around how we see ourselves and not necessarily how we see others. Grace outrageously claims that all past sins are wiped away because of the cross. Your sin is no longer your problem if accept God’s free gift of Grace, the requirement surrender you to him make him Lord of all or he is probably not Lord at all! Remember the whole world of the true church is made of up of people just like you. We are all dirty sinners saved by a loving and forgiving God.


A perfect picture of this is in Luke 15:11-31 The Prodigal Son story is for all of us.


Col 2:13  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,

Col 2:14  blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.











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