Book: The Day Jesus the Christ Died

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God has manifested His great love to the world by sending His Son Jesus Christ to redeem mankind from sin. The fullness of God’s love is revealed in the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, Who willingly gave Himself for the salvation of every human being. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish, but may have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
The magnitude of His suffering was foretold by Jesus Christ Himself at His last Passover. After breaking the unleavened bread, He said, “Take, eat; this is My body, which is being broken for you. This do in the remembrance of Me” (I Cor. 11:24).
Why did Jesus Christ, the Son of God, have to offer Himself for the sins of mankind? Was there no other way to bring salvation to the world? How could His one death atone for the sins of multiple millions of human beings and redeem every one of them from the sentence of death? In order to answer these questions, we must start at the beginning with God’s creation of man.


Freedom of Choice


The creation of Adam and Eve is described in detail in Genesis 2. As the account shows, Adam was the first to receive life: “Then the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Gen. 2:7). Adam’s wife, Eve, was created from one of his ribs (verses 18, 21-23).
After God had created them, Adam and Eve walked and talked with Him. Since their minds were innocent, they were not ashamed of being naked in God’s presence: “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed” (Gen. 2:25).
God created within Adam’s mind a fully functioning language and the capacity to choose (Gen. 2:16-17). Like Adam, Eve was also created with a fully functioning language and the capacity to choose. This capacity is manifested in the account of God’s instruction and warning to them in the Garden of Eden: “And the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may freely eat of every tree in the garden, but you shall not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that you eat of it in dying you shall surely die’ ” (Gen. 2:15-17).


Man Chooses the Way of Sin


 The book of Genesis records that Adam and Eve received God’s instructions before the serpent, Satan the devil, was allowed to test them as to which way they would choose—the way that leads to eternal life or the way that leads to sin and death (Gen. 2:16-17). 

“Now the serpent was more cunning than any creature of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Is it true that God has said, “You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?” ’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may freely eat the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has indeed said, “You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.” ’ And the serpent said to the woman, ‘In dying, you shall not surely die! For God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be like God, deciding good and evil’ ” (Gen. 3:1-5).
Instead of obeying God, Eve took some of the fruit, ate it, and gave some to her husband Adam: “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasing to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate” (verse 6).
The account of the temptation of Adam and Eve shows that their eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was not due to ignorance or to misunderstanding but was a willful choice.
From that time on, every human being has been given a choice whether or not to love and obey God. As Creator and Lawgiver, God has decreed that the penalty for disobedience to His commands is death, but through faith, love and obedience, God grants the gift of eternal life (Rom. 6:23). This is the choice that God set before Adam and Eve, as portrayed in the description of the two trees—the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.


The Consequences of Adam and Eve’s Sin


As a result of Adam and Eve’s sin of disobedience to God, they were no longer innocent: “And the eyes of both of them were opened [to know good and evil], and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. Then Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard You walking in the garden, and I was afraid because I am naked, and so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree which I commanded you that you should not eat?” (Gen. 3:7-11).
The sin of Adam and Eve had profound consequences for all humanity. “To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly increase your sorrow and your conception—in sorrow shall you bring forth children. Your desire shall be toward your husband, and he shall rule over you.’ And to Adam He said, ‘Because you have hearkened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree—of which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat of it!”—the ground is cursed for your sake. In sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life. It shall also bring forth thorns and thistles to you, and thus you shall eat the herbs of the field; In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return” (verses 16-19).
God’s judgment included the sentence of death. Moreover, Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden, cutting them off from the tree of life and from access to the Holy Spirit of God, which imparts the power to live forever (Gen. 3:24). The sentence of death passed to all their descendants, who were also cut off from access to the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit of God, mankind was powerless to resist the temptations of the flesh and the influence of Satan and could not be freed from “the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2).
The apostle Paul confirms that the sentence of death came to all mankind as a result of the first human sin: “Therefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and by means of sin came death; and in this way, death passed into all mankind; and it is for this reason that all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12).
However, when God pronounced His judgment on Adam and Eve, He also gave the first prophecy of the coming Messiah, Who would redeem humanity from the curse of Adam’s sin (Gen. 3:15).


The Nature of Man’s Sin


The law of sin and death is within every human being and generates the evil desires that the Bible refers to as “fleshly lusts” or “the lust of the flesh” (Eph. 2:3, I Pet. 2:1, II Pet. 2:18). It is these fleshly lusts that lead human beings to commit sin (Jas. 1:14-15).
The fleshly nature of sin within man is further described in Romans 8:7-8: “Because the carnal mind [mind of the flesh] is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God; neither indeed can it be. But those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Every human being is by nature an enemy of God because of these wicked works, which originate in the mind (Col. 1:21).
The apostle Paul wrote that the sinful nature of the flesh has alienated all human beings from God: “For we have already charged both Jews and Gentiles—ALL—with being under sin, exactly as it is written: ‘For there is not a righteous one—not even one! There is not one who understands; there is not one who seeks after God. They have all gone out of the way; together they have all become depraved. There is not even one who is practicing kindness. No, there is not so much as one! Their throats are like an open grave; with their tongues they have used deceit; the venom of asps is under their lips; whose mouths are full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.’ Now then, we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (Rom. 3:9-19).
In Romans 8:2, Paul defines the sinful nature as “the law of sin and death.” This law of sin and death is in every human being. God has provided reconciliation for all mankind through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son: “And there is no [Greek ouk, the impossibility of] salvation in any other, for neither is there another name under heaven which has been given among men, by which we must [Greek dei, mandatory, obligatory] be saved” (Acts 4:12).
The sinful nature makes all human beings vulnerable to the deception of Satan, who is the god of this world (II Cor. 4:4, Rev. 12:9). Together with his fallen angels, he is the ruler over the spiritual darkness and wickedness of this world (Eph. 6:11-12). Satan’s evil influence works with human nature to lead all people in the way of disobedience to God—the way of sin and death. The far-reaching effect of Satan’s influence is described in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians: “Now you were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you walked in times past according to the course [society and times] of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan the devil], the spirit that is now working within the children of disobedience; among whom also we all once had our conduct in the lusts of our flesh, doing the things willed by the flesh and by the mind, and were [before God’s calling] by nature the children of wrath, even as the rest of the world” (Eph. 2:1-3).


The Nature of God


God is both the Lawgiver and the Judge of all who break His laws. He is also the Savior and the Redeemer of those who repent of their transgressions of His laws. These two aspects of God’s nature are clearly revealed in the words that He spoke when Moses was allowed to see His glory: “ ‘You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live. ...Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand upon a rock. And it will be, while My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. And I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back parts. But My face shall not be seen’ ...And the LORD [Jehovah, the covenant name] came down in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed: ‘The LORD, the LORD God [Elohim, the Creator], merciful [Psa. 103:8-18; 119:64; 136] and gracious [Psa. 86:15; 111:4; 112:4; 116:5, I Pet. 2:3], long-suffering [Rom. 2:4, I Tim. 1:16], and abundant in goodness [Psa. 31:19; 33:5; 107:8, 15, 21, 31, Rom. 2:4] and truth [Deut. 32:4, Psa. 31:5; 33:4, Jer. 4:2, John 14:6], keeping mercy to the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin [Psa. 103:1-4, Acts 2:38; 3:19, Rom. 3:23-25], but Who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children … to the fourth generation’ ” (Ex. 33:20-23; 34:5-7).
Because God is merciful and gracious, He is ready to forgive the sins of the one who repents (Psa. 86:1-5), and because God is holy and righteous, He cannot allow the unrepentant to escape judgment.
In warning the wicked of his ultimate judgment, God shows that He takes no pleasure in executing it: “ ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no delight in the death of the wicked, except that the wicked turn from his way, and live. Turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezek. 33:11).
Because God is love, He does not delight in the death of the wicked. It is God’s desire that every sinner would repent and be saved: “... He is long-suffering toward us, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9).
The love of God is His greatest attribute and characteristic: “GOD IS LOVE” (I John 4:8, 16). Everything that God does flows from His love!
The magnitude of God’s love is revealed in the creation of man. All human beings bear the image and likeness of God: “ ‘Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of heaven and over the livestock and over all the earth’....And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female ” (Gen. 1:26-27).


Two Elohim


The Scriptures reveal that there are two who are Elohim. This truth is verified by the apostle John:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and not even one thing that was created came into being without Him. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men … And the Word became flesh, and tabernacled [temporarily dwelt] among us (and we ourselves beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten with the Father), full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-4, 14). Thus Jesus Christ was with God and was God before He became flesh.
The God of the Old Testament Who walked and talked with Adam and Eve was not the Father. The God Who delivered the Ten Commandments to Moses was not the Father. The God Who appeared to the prophets in visions was not the Father. The God Who appeared to the patriarchs and Who led the children of Israel out of Egypt was the One who became Jesus Christ (Ex. 3:6-8, I Cor. 10:4). Jesus was the Elohim of the Old Testament Who became God manifested in the flesh. He was sent to earth by the Father, the other Elohim of the Old Testament.
The God Who became the Father never revealed Himself to man in Old Testament times. God the Father was not revealed until the coming of Jesus Christ: “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has proclaimed Him” (John 1:18). Jesus Himself said, “And the Father Himself Who sent Me has borne witness of Me. You have neither heard His voice nor seen His form at any time” (John 5:37).
It is vital to understand that the Lord God of the Old Testament was made flesh and became Jesus Christ, the Son of God. To become God in the flesh, He emptied Himself of His power and glory. As Jehovah Elohim, He had formed man from the dust of the ground. As Jesus Christ, He sacrificed Himself to redeem mankind from sin and the penalty of eternal death. This sacrifice was essential to the fulfillment of God’s purpose for man.


A Little Lower Than God


God has given mankind other attributes which are like His. David was inspired to write, “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth ... When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You came for him? For You have made him a little lower than God [Hebrew elohim]…” (Psa. 8:1-5).
Many translations of the Bible, including the King James Version, render this verse as “a little lower than the angels.” However, the Hebrew word elohim, which is used in this verse, refers to deities—not to angels. This word is used countless times in the Hebrew text in reference to both the true God and to false gods. In every other occurrence in the King James Version, elohim is correctly translated “God” or “gods.” Green’s translation conveys the meaning of Psalm 8:5: “For You have made him lack a little from God…” (The Interlinear Hebrew-Greek-English Bible).
Of all the creatures that God made to dwell on the earth, only man has been given the attributes of God—including the ability to think and reason, to speak, to write, to plan, to create, to build, to teach, to learn, to judge, and to rule. God gave human beings the capacity to love, to hate, to laugh, to cry, to forgive, to repent, and to experience every type of emotion. All of these qualities are godlike characteristics, which man is privileged to possess. Man is able to experience these godlike attributes because he was given a unique spiritual dimension that God did not give to the rest of His earthly creation. Every human being has been given this quality, which makes each one “a little lower than God.” The Bible describes this spiritual quality as the “spirit of man.”


The Spirit of Man


The spirit that dwells in man is not another spirit being, such as an angel or demon. Rather, it is a spirit essence that comes from God: “Thus says the LORD God, He who created the heavens and stretched them out, spreading forth the earth and its offspring; He who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit [Hebrew ruach] to those who walk in it” (Isa. 42:5).
The spirit of man is different from what the Bible calls the “soul.” The word “soul” is translated from the Hebrew nephesh, which refers to physical life, whether human or animal. In many occurrences, nephesh is translated “creature” or “life” (Gen. 1:20-21, 24, 30; 2:19; 9:4-5, 10, 12, 15-16). When translated “soul,” it refers to the physical life and strength of a human being (Gen. 2:7, Ex. 1:5, Lev. 23:30, Deut. 4:29, Josh. 11:11, Ezek. 13:18-19; 18:4, 20). Unlike the soul, which ends with the death of the body, the spirit in man returns to God when a human dies (Eccl. 12:7). The spirit of man is the unique power that gives each person thought and consciousness: “But there is a spirit in man and the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding” (Job 32:8). The apostle Paul wrote, “For who among men understands the things of men, except by the spirit of man which is in him?” (I Cor. 2:11).
It is the spirit in man that gives him the potential to become a son of God. The Scriptures show that the spirit of man was made to receive and unite with the Holy Spirit of God as a begettal from God the Father: “Everyone who has been begotten by God does not practice sin because His [God the Father’s] seed of begettal is dwelling within him, and he is not able to practice sin because he has been begotten by God” (I John 3:9). This spiritual begettal takes place only after a person has repented and been baptized, and has had the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit unites with the individual’s spirit, he or she is spiritually begotten as a child of God: “...You have received the Spirit of sonship, whereby we call out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit itself bears witness conjointly with our own spirit, testifying that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:15-16).
Because all human beings possess the spirit of man, every individual on earth can receive the Holy Spirit of begettal from God the Father. This is the glorious potential of every human being! In Psalm 8, David expresses his awe at God’s purpose in creating man. “For You have made him a little lower than God and have crowned him with glory and honor. You made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the birds of heaven, the fish of the sea, and all that pass through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!” (Psa. 8:5-9). The New Testament shows that this dominion will be granted to all who become the glorified children of God through faith in Jesus Christ (Heb. 2:6-10).
To prepare man for his ultimate destiny, God gave him rulership over the earth: “And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of heaven and over every living thing that moves upon the earth’ ” (Gen. 1:28). After finishing the creation of the world and of Adam and Eve, “...God saw everything that He had made, and indeed, it was exceedingly good” (verse 31). Everything that God created on the earth was given to man to be used for his benefit.


Jesus Christ Was God in the Flesh


The Lord God, Who had created man from the dust of the ground, came to earth in the flesh of Jesus Christ: “And undeniably, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh…” (I Tim. 3:16). Why did the Lord God of the Old Testament, Jehovah Elohim, become flesh? What kind of flesh did God take upon Himself when He became Jesus Christ? Was His flesh the same as ours, or was He composed of spirit that only appeared to be flesh?
The apostle Paul reveals the answer: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; Who, although He existed [Greek huparchoon, to exist or pre-exist] in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but emptied Himself [of His power and glory], and was made in the likeness [homoioma, the same existence] of men, and took the form of a servant [doulos, a slave]; and being found in the manner of man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:5-8).
These inspired words of Paul confirm that before Jesus Christ became human He was, in fact, Jehovah Elohim. Existing as God, He was composed of ever-living Spirit. It was impossible for Him to die. However, to redeem man from the law of sin and death, it was necessary for Him to die. The only way for God to die was to become human—to be “manifested in the flesh.” Thus the God Who had created man in His image and likeness took on the same substance as man.
Paul’s words to the Philippians reveal exactly how God did this. The Elohim Who became Jesus Christ “emptied Himself” in order to be made in the likeness of man. In emptying Himself of His glory as God, He placed Himself under the power of God the Father, who reduced Him to only a pinpoint of life. By the power of the Holy Spirit of God the Father, He was impregnated into a human ovum within the virgin Mary’s womb.
When the virgin Mary asked the angel Gabriel how it was possible for her to conceive, not having known a man, he answered, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you; and for this reason, the Holy One being begotten [Greek gennoomenon, a present tense, passive participle, meaning that the impregnation was taking place at that very moment] in you shall also be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).
At the instant Jesus was conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary, He became the divinely begotten Son of God, fulfilling the prophecy in Psalm 2: “I will declare the decree of the LORD. He [the Elohim who became the Father] has said to Me, ‘You are My Son; this day I have begotten You’ ” (verse 7).
This is also indicated in another prophecy of Jesus’ coming in the flesh. In his epistle to the Hebrews, the apostle Paul quotes these words from Psalm 40: “For this reason, when He comes into the world, He says, ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but You have prepared a body for Me [Christ’s human body of flesh]. You did not delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin. Then said I, Lo, I come (as it is written of Me in the scroll of the book), to do Your will, O God’ ” (Heb. 10:5-7).
Jesus revealed that He had authority from God the Father to lay down His life and to receive it back again. “On account of this, the Father loves Me: because I lay down My life, that I may receive it back again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have authority to lay it down and authority to receive it back again. This commandment I received from My Father” (John 10:17-18).
Jesus also said of Himself: “I am the living bread, which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is even My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:51). In order to give His flesh for the life of the world, Jesus Christ had to be fully human, sharing the same mortal existence that every human being experiences.


Jesus Christ Shared the Human Experience


In writing to the Hebrews, the apostle Paul used many passages in the Old Testament to show that Jesus Christ shared the mortal existence of all human beings. In translating Psalm 8 from the Hebrew into the Greek language, Paul used the middle voice, which expresses God’s personal involvement with man: “But in a certain place one fully testified, saying, ‘What is man, that You [Yourself] are mindful of him, or the son of man, that You [Yourself] visit him? You did make him a little lower than the angels; You did crown him with glory and honor, and You did set him over the works of Your hands; You did put all things in subjection under his feet.’ For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that was not subjected to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.
“But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor on account of suffering the death, in order that by the grace of God He Himself might taste [partake of] death for everyone; because it was fitting for Him, for Whom all things were created, and by Whom all things exist, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Heb. 2:6-10).
Continuing in his letter to the Hebrews, Paul wrote, “Therefore, since the children are partakers of flesh and blood, in like manner [Greek parapleesioos, or “in exactly the same way”] He also took part in the same [flesh and blood], in order that through [His] death He might annul him who has the power of death—that is, the devil; and that He might deliver those who were subject to bondage all through their lives by their fear of death. For surely, He is not taking upon Himself to help the angels; but He is taking upon Himself to help the seed of Abraham. For this reason, it was obligatory [Greek opheiloo, or “owe, be indebted, be obligated”] for Him to be made like His brethren in everything [sharing the same flesh and nature] that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, in order to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered, having been tempted in like manner, He is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb. 2:14-18).
When God entered into covenant with Abraham by taking a maledictory oath, He obligated Himself to die to fulfill the promises of the covenant. Thus, He obligated Himself to take on a mortal body that was subject to death.


Jesus Took on and Overcame Sin in the Flesh


The apostle Paul specifically stated that the flesh of Jesus was sinful: “For what was impossible for the law to do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, having sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom. 8:3). A literal translation of the Greek text is “in the likeness of flesh, of sin…”
Paul’s statement that Jesus was made in the likeness of sinful flesh shows that “the law of sin and death” was passed on to Jesus from His mother Mary. Because Jesus had inherited the law of sin and death, He had the potential to sin at any time during His human life. If, as some claim, Jesus was incapable of sin, it would have been impossible for Him to be tempted. Yet, He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, as the Scriptures record (Matt. 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13).
Jesus was fully aware of the consequences of giving in to temptation. If He had sinned even once, He would have died for His own sins and would never have returned to His glory with the Father. The apostle Paul shows how earnestly and agonizingly Jesus prayed for strength to resist the temptations of the flesh: “Who, in the days of His flesh, offered up both prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to Him Who was able TO SAVE HIM FROM DEATH, and was heard because He feared God [He was reverent and submissive to God the Father]. Although He was a Son, yet He learned obedience from the things that He suffered; and having been perfected, He became the Author of eternal salvation to all those who obey Him” (Heb. 5:7-9).
Thus while Jesus was in the flesh, He experienced exactly the same temptations that we do because He was made “in the likeness of sinful flesh.” “For we do not have a high priest who cannot empathize with our weaknesses, but one Who was tempted in all things [in every way] according to the likeness of our own temptations [Greek kath omoioteeta, or “in every way just as we are”]; yet He was without sin. Therefore, we should come with boldness to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15-16).
Jesus was made in the likeness of sinful flesh so that as our High Priest He could sympathize with our weaknesses. Because He has shared the same sinful nature, He can have compassion when we weaken and commit sins. He mercifully intercedes for us with the Father, obtaining His forgiveness for our sins. Through Jesus’ ongoing intercession in our behalf, God the Father’s mercy and grace can continually be imparted to each one of us.
The gift of grace is possible only through Jesus Christ, Who offered His own sinless body as the substitute sacrifice for our sins: “...Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow in His footsteps Who committed no sin; neither was guile found in His mouth … Who Himself bore [carried] our sins within [Greek en, within] His own body on the tree…” (I Pet. 2:21-24).


Jesus Gave His Body to Redeem Mankind


From the beginning of the world, it was ordained that Jesus Christ would suffer and die to atone for the sins of mankind: “But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor on account of suffering the death, in order that by the grace of God He Himself might taste death for everyone; because it was fitting for Him, for Whom all things were created, and by Whom all things exist, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Heb. 2:9-10).
Because He was sinless, Jesus was able to offer His own life for the sins of others as Paul wrote, “For He [God the Father] made Him [Jesus Christ] Who knew [Greek ginooskoo, to know by self-experience] no sin to be sin for us…” (II Cor. 5:21).
The Creator died for His creation! In so doing, He demonstrated His eternal love for mankind.
“For even when we were without strength, at the appointed time Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, although perhaps someone might have the courage even to die for a good man. But God commends His own love to us because, when we were still sinners, Christ died for us…” (Rom. 5:6-8).
Each one who repents of sin and accepts the sacrifice of Jesus Christ can be reconciled to God the Father: “For you were once alienated and enemies in your minds by wicked works; but now He has reconciled you in the body of His flesh through the death…” (Col. 1:21-22).
The apostle Paul was inspired and overwhelmed by the greatness of God’s plan of salvation for man: “O the depth of the riches of both the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unfathomable are His judgments and unsearchable are His ways! For who did know the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who first gave to Him, and it shall be recompensed to him again? For from Him, and through Him, and unto Him are all things; to Him be the glory into the ages of eternity” (Rom. 11:33-36).


Blessings Through Partaking of the Body of Christ


When we accept the body of Jesus Christ for our salvation, we receive not only forgiveness of sin but also the promise of physical healing. As our sin offering, Jesus took upon His own body both our sentence of death and our physical sufferings so that He might be both our Savior and our Healer. Jesus was wounded for our sins and transgressions, and by His stripes we are healed of our sicknesses and diseases (Isa. 53:4-12, Matt. 8:17, Jas. 5:14-16, I Pet. 2:24).
When we understand the significance of the body of Jesus Christ, we can begin to grasp the importance of obeying His command to partake of the unleavened bread of the Christian Passover: “Take, eat; this is My body, which is being broken for you. This do in the remembrance of Me” (I Cor. 11:24).
True Christians will be manifesting their acceptance of the body of Jesus Christ for their forgiveness and healing by partaking of the unleavened bread each year at the Christian Passover. By partaking of this symbol of His body, they will be showing that they as individuals have a part in the blessings that are offered through His sacrifice for sins (I Cor. 11:26).