The price of our Redemption

Posted: April 14, 2022 in AG Presbytery

Good Friday, (15 April 2022) and Easter Sunday (17 April 2022) are days of special significance to all Christians. They mark the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Holy Bible gives the message of God’s relationship with his creation, particularly humanity. It records the fall of man into sin, which separates man from a holy God, and shows how God himself provided the way back to relationship with him, by sending his own Son.

Under divine law, the punishment for sin was eternal death. But the Bible declares that ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).  It was only the sinless Son of God who could pay the price for sin and return to life. He would bear the penalty of death, on humanity’s behalf, so that by faith in what he had done a person who believes in him would be free from the bondage of sin. So, ‘when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship’ (Galatians 4:4-5).

Good Friday records the payment of that price. Jesus was born into and grew up a carpenter’s family in Roman Judea. He grew up facing the same temptations all humans are subject to, but without sin. He lived an exemplary life and challenged religious hypocrisy with his teaching. In his thirty-third year, at the peak of his ministry, the religious establishment became the instrument of his death. Through a set up trial before the Roman judicial authority, he was sentenced to a criminal’s execution on a Roman cross. He was brutally flogged and cruelly executed on that first Good Friday. Creation itself convulsed with an earthquake and blackened skies, as its Author took on himself the price of humanity’s redemption.

The four gospel writers provide details of his sufferings on that cross before he finally breathed his last, saying of his task to atone for all humanity’s sin – “it is finished”. The jibes of the sneering mob at the foot of the cross were “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” (Luke 23:35). But Jesus had earlier declared “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour” (John 12:27).

Since the next day would be the preparation day for the Jewish Passover, Jesus’ body was hastily wrapped and laid in a tomb, which was sealed and guarded to ensure that no one stole the body.

Early on Sunday morning, when the grey streaks of dawn were giving way to daylight, some of his followers visited the tomb, and were amazed to find the large stone sealing the entrance rolled away, and the body of Jesus was gone, though the shroud and napkin binding his head had been left behind.

Angels declared, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again’ ” (Luke 24:5-7).

Easter Sunday is the day commemorating the resurrection. Paul the Apostle declared, “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.  For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…” (1 Corinthians 15:2-4).

Jesus revealed himself to his disciples, and interacted with them for forty days, before he ascended to his Father. At his ascension, “They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:10-11).

Those who put faith in the finished work of Christ for their redemption from sin that first Good Friday and Easter have before them the hope of Jesus’ promised return. “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power” (1 Corinthians 15:21-24).

The price of our redemption from sin has been paid in full, for all who put their faith in what Jesus has done for them. “… God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” (Romans 5:8-9)

The power of what Jesus did on the cross has been appropriated by many thousands who have been transformed by the power of simple faith placed in him. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions … For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:4,5,8,9).

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