In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. In previous weeks we’ve been looking at how Christ was humbled in order to bring us eternal life. We’ve seen that Christ was humiliated throughout his life on earth and also by his death which involved Judas’ betrayal, the disciples’ desertion, the world’s rejection, the condemnation of Pilate, the torment of his persecutors and his experience of God’s wrath. This week I want to show that Jesus was humbled by becoming a sin offering.
Whenever we realise have sinned, we are humbled. If we have broken the law we have to face the reality that we are not as perfect as we would like to think we are.
Jesus also experienced the humility of having sin being counted against him.
Now, we must be careful here. Jesus never sinned himself. The Bible says that Jesus was ‘a lamb without blemish or defect’ (1 Peter 1:19). This is a clear statement about the personal sinlessness of Christ.
Jesus chose to become a sin offering for those who believe in him, which means he had their sin put over to his account.
How was sin put to someone else? In the Old Testament, sacrifices for sin involved placing your hand on the head of the animal that was to be sacrificed on your behalf – thus demonstrating the transfer of sin over to the sacrifice. For example, the law says the person :is to lay his hand on its head and slaughter it before the LORD’ (Levitcus 4:4).
Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would have sin transferred to him in a similar fashion when he said that he would become a ‘guilt offering’: ‘Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand’ (Isaiah 53:10).
Thus the sinless one felt the contagion of sin as it was placed on him. In fact the Bible says that Jesus became sin: ‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God’ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
What a humbling experience. Someone who had never sinned now felt sin come upon him, and not just a little sin, but the sin of all those who have become Christians. Numerous sins of thought, word and deed. Numerous major sins. Numerous minor sins. All placed upon Christ and bearing down with all their associated shamefulness.
So why would Jesus humble himself and allow himself to become a sin offering? Because of our sin we deserve to be humiliated for eternity in hell. But thankfully Jesus takes the eternal humility we deserve so we can have eternal glory instead. This eternal glory comes by trusting that Jesus was humiliated for you by becoming a sin offering for your sin.
Do you trust in Christ’s humiliation for you so that you will have eternal glory in heaven?