4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; 5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. - Revelation 1:4-6 (KJV)
I've been thinking a lot lately about what Jesus' final hours must have been like. Perhaps it's because it's Holy Week, or perhaps because I play Jesus in Faith Chapel's current drama production, but nevertheless, that's what has been on my mind during my prayer time recently.
When we say "Jesus took on the sins of the world," what do we mean? One thing we mean is that because of Jesus' sacrifice, we no longer have to be bound by the enemy. But one way it's also described is that Jesus "bore the weight" of our sin. I can't help but feel like that's literal. During a sermon, I heard Pastor James Taylor describe that when Jesus hung on the cross in those final moments, he was doing more than just taking on the sins, He became the sin. This may be controversial to some, but he went on to say that Jesus became every sin. Jesus became an adulterer, He became a murderer, He became a rapist. This doesn't just apply to the sins of the time, it applies to the sins of all time, which means He also became the man addicted to pornography, He became an alcoholic, and so on. There is literally no sin too great that can't be repented of. God loves us that much, and Jesus' blood was sufficient to protect us from any and every sin.
<p>To put it into perspective, if Charles Manson, the most infamous serial killer in American history, were to show true repentance for his actions, then I would see Charles Manson in Heaven one day. That's still a hard thing for me to wrap my head around, which goes to show why God's love is beyond our understanding. Jesus loved those who spat in His face. Jesus prayed for those who persecuted Him. Jesus appealed to Heaven for the salvation of the men who drove the nails through His hands and feet, and yet we let someone cutting us off in traffic ruin our morning. We alone are not capable of loving those who have wronged us, but when we allow Holy Spirit to enter in, we can do anything.
Another thing that's really been impressed upon me recently is the amount of pain Jesus went through. It's an easy thing to forget. Yes, Jesus is the Son of God, but it wasn't until after His resurrection that He referred to Himself this way. Before His death, Jesus referred to Himself as the "Son of Man." This means that prior to coming down from the cross, Jesus was a mortal man. The opening scene in our Easter production, It Is Finished, is of Jesus at the whipping post. It does a good job or showing people the brutality of what Jesus suffered through. But we take precautions to make sure that nothing actually happens to me during this scene, Jesus didn't have that luxury. He felt every lash from the whips, He felt the crown of thorns being placed and driven into His head, He felt it every time the hammer met the nails, He felt everything.
It's the single greatest act of love the world has ever seen or will ever see. I wouldn't have been able to survive a fraction of the punishment our King went through. He died for us when we had nothing to offer Him. I deserve Hell, and there's nothing I could ever do to change that, but Jesus insured that I'll never have to experience that eternal torment. His blood was sufficient. If He wanted to, God could have made it to where Jesus could have taken a needle, poked his finger, squeezed out a single drop of blood, and that would have been enough to save us. But God had something so much greater in mind for all of us. That's why Jesus didn't give a drop of blood, He gave every drop of blood. He poured out every fiber of His being for us.
This Sunday, we celebrate the resurrection of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. When He came out of the tomb, that was our proof that we no longer have to remain slaves to death, Hell, and the grave. Jesus kicked down the gates of Hell, got right up in Satan's face, snatched the keys to death out of his hands, and said "I'm taking these, and there's nothing you can do to stop me!" What's the best part about this? The fact that when we accept Christ, we gain the authority to do the exact same thing. We don't have to put up with Hell's harassment anymore, friends. When we say that we're going to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, that's what it means to me.