This good Friday I want to consider in the bulletin article what it means that Jesus is a sacrifice.
Many times the New Testament speaks about Jesus being a sacrifice. The author of the book of Hebrews says: ‘we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’ (Hebrews 10:10). The apostle Paul in the book of Romans says about Jesus: ‘God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood’ (Romans 3:25). The apostle John says: ‘This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins’ (1 John 4:10).
But why is Jesus a sacrifice? Jesus is a sacrifice because humans are sinful and need a substitute to die for them if they are to live. Sin equals death. The death of us or something else for us. The idea of a sacrifice for sin is not new. In the Old Testament hundreds of years before Jesus, the Jews were told to make a sacrifice for their sins. The sinner was to bring an animal and transfer their guilt to the animal with their hands: ‘When any of you brings an offering to the LORD, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock. ” ‘If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he is to offer a male without defect. He must present it at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting so that it will be acceptable to the LORD. He is to lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him’ (Leviticus 1:2-4). That word ‘atonement’ in the last sentence speaks about what has happened by offering a sacrifice. The person who was in a broken relationship with God because of sin, now is at-one-ment with God – they are one with God again.
So why did Jesus need to be sacrificed for our sin instead of an animal? Jesus needed to be a sacrifice for us because an animal doesn’t suffice. Let’s face it, an animal is not a good trade for a human. But Jesus as one who is fully human and fully God is a very acceptable trade for a human. In fact, Jesus’ death is so valuable that it pays for the life of not just one human, but many humans.
So how do you transfer your sin to Jesus so that he dies on your behalf? You do it by simply trusting that it is so. You ask God to forgive you and believe that Jesus is your sacrifice. If you truly do that, Jesus Christ died for you.
Is Jesus the sacrifice for your sins, or are you yourself going to be punished for your sins one day?