Christ, Our Sacrifice
Lesson #7 for November 16, 2013
Jesus’ death is atonement in the form of penal substitution, which means that He took the penalty that others deserved and, in fact, died as a Substitute for them. Here are some of the implications of this passage for Jesus’ ministry for us:
1. Jesus suffered for others. He took their grief and sorrows (vs. 4), transgressions, iniquities (vss. 5, 6, 8, 11), and sin (vs. 12).
2. He brings great benefits to those for whom He suffers: peace and healing (vs. 5) and justification (vs. 11).
3. It was God’s will for Jesus to suffer and be crushed (vs. 10). God put our iniquity on Him (vs. 6) because it was God’s plan that He died in our stead.
4. Jesus is righteous (vs. 11), without violence or deceit (vs. 9).
5. He was a guilt offering, an atoning sacrifice for sin (vs. 10).
Do you agree with these statements, assertions, and interpretations and their implications?
1) It should be clear in every Christian’s mind that if Jesus had not come and lived and died, we would have no hope of salvation. In that very broad sense, Jesus was definitely a Substitute for us.
2) Many of our Christian friends believe that the sufferings and death of Jesus were necessary because they were required by God. In their thinking, God was upset because man had sinned; and therefore, He demanded a death to pay for that sin. Jesus offered to come and live the perfect life without sin and die as a sacrificial death to meet the requirements of God; and thus, we can be saved. In that context, it is very interesting to read the last part ofIsaiah 53:4, “All the while we thought that his suffering was punishment sent by God.” Of course, the implication being that it was not punishment sent by God. However, all the rest of Isaiah 53 seems to suggest that it was punishment sent by God.
3) The way most people read Isaiah 53 is very self-centered. It is all about how God saves you and me–especially me. But, what do their views say about God? Is God a harsh, demanding Tyrant?
Upon Christ as our substitute and surety was laid the iniquity of us all. He was counted a transgressor, that He might redeem us from the condemnation of the law. The guilt of every descendant of Adam was pressing upon His heart. The wrath of God against sin, the terrible manifestation of His displeasure because of iniquity, filled the soul of His Son with consternation. All His life Christ had been publishing to a fallen world the good news of the Father’s mercy and pardoning love. Salvation for the chief of sinners was His theme. But now with the terrible weight of guilt He bears, He cannot see the Father’s reconciling face. The withdrawal of the divine countenance from the Saviour in this hour of supreme anguish pierced His heart with a sorrow that can never be fully understood by man. So great was this agony that His physical pain was hardly felt.—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 753.1.
Did Jesus feel the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane?
Christ’s blood does not refer to His life, but instead it is a symbol of His substitutionary death. As such, it describes the functional aspect of that death. Christ’s shed blood is amazingly multifunctional. Christ’s blood obtains eternal redemption for us, provides us with cleansing from sin, provides us with forgiveness and sanctification, and is the reason for the resurrection.
In Hebrews, there is a powerful contrast: Christ’s blood is better than any other blood. In fact, no other blood can really provide forgiveness; Christ’s death is the only reason why sins are forgiven, before and after the Cross (Heb. 9:15). The shedding of Christ’s blood, and its effects, are clear evidence that Christ’s death was substitutionary, which means that He took the penalty that we deserve.
By comparing their lives with Christ’s character, they will be able to discern where they have failed to meet the requirements of God’s holy law; and will seek to make themselves perfect in their sphere even as God is perfect in his sphere. [Matthew 5:48]—Ellen G. White, The Paulson Letters, p. 374.
Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. “With His stripes we are healed.” [Isaiah 53:5]—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 25.
Nothing less than the death of Christ could make His love efficacious for us. It is only because of His death that we can look with joy to His second coming. His sacrifice is the center of our hope. Upon this we must fix our faith.—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 660.
© 2013, Kenneth Hart MD, MA, MPH. Permission is hereby granted for any noncommercial use of these materials. Free distribution is encouraged. It is our goal to see them spread as widely and freely as possible. If you would like to use them for your class or even make copies of portions of them, feel free to do so. We always enjoy hearing about how you might be using the materials, and we might even want to share good ideas with others. So, let us know how you are using them. [email protected]
Last Modified: October 27, 2013
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