Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Cross: Something Done By Us, and Something Done For Us

This is a summary from our Bible study @ Rebirth: East St. Louis this past Thursday. With Good Friday coming up, we talked about the death of Jesus. Here is the original post. 

Following Tuesday's study on the weight of sin, and with Good Friday approaching, yesterday in Bible study we looked at the death of Jesus. Just thinking about it now, I am so thankful for the good news of the Cross and for the incredible opportunity to share and talk about this with our guys. Jesus dying for our sins is something most people (and our guys) have heard or are somewhat familiar with, but it is something that often gets glossed over. What does it actually mean that Jesus died for us? Yesterday was an incredible time to reflect on why Jesus had to die, and what this means for us.
You could spend a lifetime pouring over the significance of the Cross and still not exhaust its depth. Yesterday we talked about two realities of Jesus dying on the Cross. First, relating back to the weight of sin, I wanted our guys to see that the Cross was something done BY us, and secondly, that the Cross was something done FOR us. 
The main text we looked at was Isaiah 53:3-10. This is some pretty heavy stuff, but I wanted our guys to reflect on why Jesus died. It wasn't for his sins, but it was for our sins. We've spent a good deal of time talking about how Adam's rebellion effected our relationship with God, with each other, and with Creation. Yet, we are not innocent spectators in the Fall. We are active participants, who just like Adam, rebel against God, don't trust his authority, and disobey his word. This is something we do on an everyday basis, and because of that, we deserve the just wage of sin, which is death. And this is exactly the death that Jesus died for us. 
"But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins" Isaiah 53:5
Jesus took upon himself the punishment that we rightly deserved. I think this is important for our guys to see, because if we don't see the Cross as something done BY us, we can't rightly understand the Cross as something done FOR us. If we don't understand the weight of our sin, and the punishment that it deserves, Christ's death won't have much significance. It will merely be a metaphor of love, or a good example, but it will not be a saving work. At the cross, Jesus took the punishment for our rebellion. 
Furthermore, the Cross is something done FOR us. Because Jesus died, we are free from the condemnation of our sin. We are no longer on death row, hopelessly imprisoned, sentenced to eternal death. But now, we are completely set free from the condemnation of sin, and are free in Christ. This is amazing! Also, we are now made right again with God. The three relationships we've talking about (us and God, each other, us and creation) can now be restored. 
"He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed." 53:5
This is what Christ's death accomplished FOR us. I'm praying that for some of our guys, this is their beginning in recognizing and owning up to the reality of their own rebellion. More so, I'm praying that this would lead to repentance, and turning to trust in  Jesus' work on the Cross as the only way in which we can be saved. Next week, we'll be talking about the resurrection. Keep praying!

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