The Death of Jesus – Week 12 / March 19th

At this time of the year our thoughts turn, as they should, to the tragic and yet glorious events that surrounded the crucifixion of Jesus. Understanding these events transforms the cross from an instrument of execution to one of a glorious and only pathway to heaven. Paul saw the implications of what Jesus did on the cross as something amazing, glorious and worth telling to the whole world. The message of the cross is good news indeed and no passage underlines this more than the first two chapters of the book of Hebrews.

Jesus, through whom God made the worlds

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in
time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these
last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed
heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
who being in the brightness of His glory and the express
image of His person, and upholding all things by the word
of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat
down at the right hand of the Majesty on high……………..”
Hebrews 1:1-3

The writer’s focus here is upon the glorious credentials of Jesus. He is perfect God and perfect man; a Godman who was not born into the world but begotten. (John 1:14) Jesus pre-existed with God from all eternity, is His express image and was the instrument by which His Father created the worlds. He not only created the worlds but also upholds them by the “word of His power!” It is this One that purged or wiped away all our sins on the cross. That is, our past, present and future sins have been removed from our lives thus freeing us from their awful consequences and enabling God to see us sinless and perfect in Christ. Our past sins were deliberate but, as Christians, our present and future sins are by default or unintentional. (Hebrews10:26-27) If we then confess them “He is faithful and just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1:9)

Jesus, crowned with glory and honor

“For in that He put all in subjection under him (mankind), He
left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet
see all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made
a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned
with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste
death for everyone.”
Hebrews 2: 8-9

The intention of God in creation was that humankind would rule over or have dominion over the earth. The original man, before the fall, was a superman! His calling was to tame the world, give it order and allow it to thrive and become even more beautiful. This was God’s plan for men and women. We cannot even begin to imagine the capacity that we have and that has been marred by our sinfulness. Quoting from Psalm eight the writer of the book of Hebrews laments the fact that humankind never fully entered into its destiny; “We do not yet see all things put under him (humankind).” However, we do see Jesus in this place of dominion and His death for every person on the earth guarantees a place of full restoration to all those who repent and accept Him as Lord. The write exclaims, “He tasted death for everyone” meaning that, potentially, all of mankind has an opportunity to recover its place of dominion. Now we are embracing the life of Christ in order to overcome the effects that sin has had upon our lives but one day, when Jesus comes, we will be like Him and with Him we will rule the worlds! His death is the only pathway back to the place that God originally intended for us.

Jesus, through death destroyed the devil

“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood
He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He
might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime
subject to bondage……..Therefore in all things He had to be made
like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High
Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins
of the people.”
Hebrews 2:14-17

Strangely the power of the devil over our lives was the character of God. Sin, rebellion and wickedness separates us from the life, presence and protection of God. We were thus “cut loose” from God’s care and left prey to the devil and his demons. (Ephesians 2:1-3) We could only return to God if the demands of His character could be met. This we could not do but Jesus, by virtue of His sinless life, satisfied the demands of God’s character fully on our behalf when He died on the cross. This is what the word “propitiation” means. The way is now open for all peoples to return to God in Christ and the devil cannot stop this! The devil’s jail house has been plundered, the gates are unlocked and we can all walk free! (Revelation 1:18) It is this message that we have to preach and which the devil seeks to keep blinded from the world. (2Corinthians 4:3-4) Our Father now invites us “home” and welcomes us just as the father welcomed his wayward son in the story of the Prodigal. (Luke 15:11-32)

This then is the story of Passover and the one that we should focus upon as we approach Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Meditate on these wonderful things and make them your own.

Malcolm Hedding

©Malcolm Hedding Ministries

2013Devotional