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A Death Towards Life

Significance of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

By Nelson Thomas Mumbai

           Look at Him from any point of view, The Lord Jesus Christ is undisputedly unique. His birth was extra-ordinary. His life, words and activities were all incomparable. Even the enemies commented, ‘no man spoke like Him'. No wonder the scripture refers Him as ‘the wonderful'.

             The uniqueness of Christ extends even to His death and beyond. No man suffered and died like Him. A study of some of the wonderful facts associated with the agony and death of Christ will encourage and challenge our hearts.

1. It was a pre-planned death.

         Many consider Christ's death as an accidental unfortunate end. Actually His sufferings and death was in accordance with the eternal plan of God. Revelation 13:8. He knew it and reminded His followers that the entire Old Testament spoke of it in advance. Luke 24: 44, 46. This is one of the major themes of the Bible and fundamental part of the gospel truth. He did not die as a victim.

2. It was a voluntary death.

        He came to die. None of us are born with the sole purpose of suffering and dying. But Jesus Christ took the form of a man in order to endure pain and die. He says, “ I lay my life that I may take it again, none takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself.” John 10: 17, 18. As He spoke of it repeatedly, even His disciples tried to stop Him from anticipating such ‘unfortunate' events. (Matthew 16:21 – 23)

         He was completely aware of all the agonizing experiences He will have to undergo. Yet that did not deter Him from facing an arrest and execution. When the soldiers came to capture Him, Christ says, “I am He, therefore if you seek Me, let these go their way”. John 18:8. He gave Himself to the aggressors.

         Usually when some body is crucified he doesn't pass away immediately. It takes many hours or even days before he dies. In Christ's case even the soldiers where astonished that he died too early. Once He completed His mission, He gave up His soul. Nobody took His life, He gave it willingly.

3. It was a painful death.

         Crucifixion was one of the most cruel and painful way of punishments. It was reserved for foreign slaves and criminals only. We see the soldiers giving Him wine mingled with gall. Matthew 27:33, 34. It was a kind of sedation. As the victim will have to bear so much pain during this type of execution they wanted to make them unconscious. But Christ did not drink it. He wanted to go through the pain in all its intensity.

         The entire trial and execution of Christ was against the natural justice. He was punished without proving His guilt. To complete the entire proceedings not even twenty four hours they took.

         He was bound, struck, stripped and mocked. They spat upon Him and removed His beard. Pilate scourged Him at least 39 times to satisfy the crowd. Bearing His own cross, He had to walk through the streets of Jerusalem up to the place of execution. What a pain, shame, and injustice He experienced from the hands of His own creation.

4. It was a needful death.

         Many would say, it was an unnecessary death. Even the governor Pontius Pilate wanted to release Him. He declared, “I find no fault in Him' . Many others also testified to His impeccable character. No one could point out anything wrong in His words or deeds. He did no sin, He knew no sin, and in Him there was no sin. Why should such a holy, perfect Son of God suffer and die in such a humiliating manner?

        The Lord Himself gives the answer. “ To give as a ransom for many” Matthew 20:28. “That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:14, 15.

        He suffered and died in our place. It was we who committed sin and went away from our creator. God who is holy and righteous has to punish us for violating His law and missing the mark He set for us. But in His love and Mercy sent His only begotten Son to take our place and die as an atoning sacrifice. He took our punishment, paid our debt and satisfied the demands of God's holy law.

        This is the fundamental truth behind Christ's sufferings and death. More than what man inflicted upon Him the most serious and mysterious aspect is what He faced by the hands of Holy God. During those three hours of darkness no one could see what was happening on the cross, but we hear a cry, “ My God, My God why have you forsaken Me ?” Matthew 27:45, 46.

        God dealt with Him as our substitute because there was no other way was available. So, it was a needful death to fulfill the justice of God and demonstrate His love for fallen man. (1Peter 2:22 ; Isaiah 53:5, 6; 1Corinthaians 15:3; 2Corinthains 5:21 )

5. It was a victorious death.

Just as He predicted, the Lord Jesus Christ came back to life triumphantly on the third day. Death could not hold Him for He was God. His tomb is open and the body is missing. Only the linen cloths that wrapped the body were there. Christ came out of the cloths without disturbing the folds. John 20:5—7. Through many appearances He proved that He is not a victim but a victor who has defeated death and alive forever. 1Corinthians 15:4 –8. His victory over death has many implications:-

  1. His Deity is proved . Romans 1:4
    He is God and the only Saviour. All what He claimed to be is absolutely true. We can trust Him with out any doubt.
  2. Forgiveness and salvation is possible . Romans 4: 25 ; 1Corinthians 15:17 c.
    God has accepted the sacrifice of Christ and thereby He is free to forgive and save any one who believes Christ. Romans. Guilty, condemned sinner can be released from the bondage of sin and its consequences.
  3. Assurance of a life after death . 1Corinthaians 15:21 , 11
    The resurrection of Christ proves beyond any doubt that there is a life beyond death. Death is not the end, it's just a transition. Christ's victory over death challenges a believer to face any adversity even death courageously.

Conclusion

            Dear friend, there are much more about the sufferings, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These are well-documented historical truths. We can not explain everything here in this brief article The biggest question is what is your response to these unique incidents? His death is for you, He lives for you. The empty tomb in Palestine and the millions of lives that are transformed by Him prove it beyond any doubt.

            This is the day of salvation. Today He calls you to Himself. You don't need to do anything more, for He has paid the price for you – fully and finally. This living saviour is going to come back very soon to receive His own. Truly, it's a wonderful experience to live a life of peace and hope that is available through the Lord Jesus Christ who died and lives today.

NTK

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