In his first letter to the church in Corinth, Paul wrote something very intriguing. Take a look:
“Brothers and sisters, I’m making known to you the Good News on which your faith is based. In addition, you are saved by this Good News if you hold on to the doctrine I taught you, unless you believed it without thinking it over. I passed on to you the most important points of doctrine that I had received:
Christ died to take away our sins as the Scriptures predicted.” (I Corinthians 15:1-5)
You see, Paul is setting an example by elevating the death of Jesus on the cross. For those of us who discovered this wonder, it is the most important event of all time. Jesus’ goal was to die on the cross, because He said, “I didn’t come so that others could serve me. I came to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45)
John the Baptist was sent to, among other things, identify and confirm Jesus as the Christ. And once he saw him, he exclaimed to his disciples, “Look! This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)
John knew that Jesus was the incarnate Word of God, but he indeed recognized the greatest gift of all time. There are all kinds of things that John could have acknowledged, but the most important thing John wanted his disciples to know was that Jesus would pay the price to open the way to God – and it was as the Lamb of God, and within the Law, the only purpose of the lamb was it death, as sacrifice of atonement. In regards to Jesus, His death on a cross!
Later, as Jesus’ ministry advanced, He asked His own disciples, “Who do you say I am?“ Well, the disciples tossed around a few names, but finally, Peter declared, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” (Matthew 16:15,16)
Wow! Peter realized that Jesus was God’s Son, and His role as the Christ and Redeemer, but he had no idea how this redemption would happen, but Jesus didn’t waste any time giving them specifics.
“From that time on Jesus began to inform his disciples that he had to go to Jerusalem. There he would have to suffer because of the leaders, the chief priests, and the experts in Moses’ Teachings. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be brought back to life” (Matthew 16:21)
During this time, He didn’t provide any specifics or explanations, but in hindsight, it is easy to recognize that Jesus was saying, “Brothers, it’s gonna take the cross to accomplish this.” Peter was so shocked that he took Jesus aside and told him not to talk like that.
“God forbid; May it never be! Those things must never happen to you.” But then Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me! You ·don’t care about the things of God, but only ·about the things people think are important” (Matthew 16:22,23)
Whoa! Pretty harsh words but Peter was (unknowingly, I admit) attempting to divert Jesus’ primary purpose of coming to earth! Jesus came to die! As Paul wrote, “Christ died to take away our sins as the Scriptures predicted.” If Jesus had not died, we would still be living in our sins. Redemption would neve be available. No, at the time, Peter had no idea what would be accomplished by the cross. But eventually, he learned.
Yeah, it took me awhile to get to the point, but many unbelievers are like Peter and still do not fully understand the purpose of Jesus’ mission. Sure, they know that he died on a cross, but do not fully grasp the importance of his death or how we should glory in it. This is why they are unable to fully enter into the victorious life His death won for us.
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