Saturday, November 8, 2008
Why A Body? Why A Cross?
A recent sermon of a well known preacher who would otherwise be considered orthodox, conservative and one who trusts totally in the inerrancy of scripture contained a glaring statement which was cause of much concern. I have been told by others that perhaps he was misspoken in his delivery. Yes I can see how that happens. The minister was saying God the Father looking on the crucifixion of Jesus as being payment for sin completed. The minister objected to this teaching he found in a book in Germany. He went on to say that Jesus was crushed by God which was the actual punishment. This is true Jesus did suffer beyond what we could imagine in addition to the cross. This is one of the either/or questions to which the answer can only be yes. Jesus was crucified in public shame and under ridicule as well as being forsaken by the First Person of the Triune God. The one can be imagined and the other could not. How can two distinct persons be One God along with a third and be forsaken by the First as well?
It brought to mind however, an error which has captured many conservative congregations. It is the question could Jesus have paid for our sin in any other way than the cross? For example if he were paying for our sin these days, depending on his location, the execution could range from beheading to laying on a bed and toxic chemicals being introduced into his veins. Would that have sufficed?
Psalm 22: 14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16 For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet
17 I can count all my bones
they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.ESV
In Psalm 22 the crucifixion was foretold. None of the aforementioned modes of death would have sufficed to pay for the sin of the world. God is not inclined to explain the reasoning behind this so we need just take his word. The cross is dirty business indeed. It is a scoffing tool to those who refuse to believe in this all sufficient sacrifice which is understandable. But to those who love Jesus it is what he has done for us. When we behold an artists rendition of the Crucified the thought must be “For you.” Like that which Jesus said when he broke bread and proclaimed it to be his body and the cup his blood.
1 Peter 2:22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.ESV
In the Name of Jesus. Amen. †