If you asked, “What are the two most important things a person needs to know about Jesus,” what would you answer? You should not be surprised to know that Jesus told us what those two things are. This is what Jesus wants us to know about Him.
Jesus wants us to know Who He is, vs. 13-16, 20. His Messiahship….Deity.
Public consensus, v. 13.
- John the Baptist...preaching.
Personal conviction, v. 15.
- “The Christ,” means “the Anointed One, the Messiah.”
- “The Son of the living God.”
Private commission, v. 20. “Tell no man.” Messiahship had been misunder– stood...Political leader...revolution against Rome.
Jesus wants us to know What He Came to Do, vs. 21. His Mission….Death. This was what was ahead for Jesus. “Jerusalem...suffer...be killed...raised the third day.” This was the very first direct prediction of the cross by Jesus to His apostles. Mark 9:32 tells us that the disciples “understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask Him.” They were in such total shock that their minds were not willing to process what Jesus had just told them. In the midst of their ignorance and fear, Peter, true his impulsiveness, blurts out, “Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee.” Peter was horrified. He had no intention of following a ridiculed, suffering, dying Messiah. It doesn’t surprise us that Peter reacted so impulsively and instinctively in objecting to a dying Messiah. But Jesus had no tolerance for such interference. In some of the strongest word, Jesus immediately rebuked Peter. “Get thee behind Me, Satan: thou art an offense unto Me: for thou savorest not the things which be of God, but those that he of men,” v. 23. While Peter had moments before understood who Jesus was through a revelation from the Father, v. 17, in the very next moment he had been deceived by the devil in denying what Jesus came to do.
1. Jesus Predicted the Cross.
Jesus’ second prediction comes in Matthew 17:22-23. “And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill him, and the third day He shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.”
A third prediction followed in Matthew 20:17-19. “And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them. Behold, we go up to Jerusalem: and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.” Jesus knew about the betrayal, the trials, the mockeries, the scourging and the crucifixion.
2. Jesus’ Purpose was the Cross.
For Jesus, the cross was not some kind of unavoidable tragedy, but the very purpose for Him being in the world.
Look at Matthew 20:28. “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Jesus’ death was not because…
- He would be a helpless victim caught in religious and political conflict.
- He would be a pawn of fate.
He would die because it was His purpose from eternity past. Revelation 13:8 says He was “a lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit determined a plan in the councils of eternity past that called for God the Son to take our sin upon Himself and go to the cross. The cross was not an accident or an afterthought, but a divine appointment.
While Jesus’ teaching, and healing, and example are a part of His time on this earth, they were no, t the heart of His mission.
3. On the Cross Jesus took our Place.
The cross is not simply about Jesus dying. The cross is about Jesus dying “for us.” Listen and look at all of these “for us” passages.
· 1 Corinthians 15:5 “Christ died for our sins…”
· Romans 5:8 “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…”
· 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
· Galatians 3:13 “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”
With those two words, “for us,” you have the doctrine of substitution. His cross was meant for you. His nails should have been driven in your hands. The crown of thorns should have been on your head. The spear should have pierced your side. The jeers and the insults should have been for you. You should have been hanging on a tree, naked, bleeding, dying. But it wasn’t. It was Jesus dying in your place!
Some “modern-thinking” people seem shocked, embarrassed, repulsed by such an idea. Many Christian denominations have “toned down” the death of Jesus, “tore out” the hymns about the blood, and have “tuned off” to the whole idea of needing someone, even God, to do something for them.
4. Through the Cross Jesus Bore our Penalty.
· Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death…”
· 2 Corinthians 5:21 “He became sin for us, who knew no sin…”
· Hebrews 2:9 “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and hour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. “
Jesus Christ voluntarily accepted liability for our sins. The chorus says, “He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay, I needed someone to wash my sins away…” Paul is not suggesting in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that Christ became a sinner. That was not possible. He was God in the flesh, while at the same time the God of absolute holiness and purity. Isaiah 53:12 prophesied Messiah would be “numbered with the transgressors.” He died between two sinners and died as they died—a criminal’s death on the cross. Jesus became a sin-offering for us.
5. By the Cross Jesus Secured our Pardon.
· 1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”
Look at a word and a phrase in this verse, “Once.” That’s exactly what Hebrews 9:28 says. “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Through Jesus’ suffering and shed blood and death on the cross there is now the full pardon for sin provided. On the cross Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” John 19:30. He did not say, “I am finished.” He said, “It is finished.” That is actually only one magnificent Greek word, “tetelestai,” which means “paid in full.”
“In Jesus’ day when a man was put in prison, a certificate of debt would be nailed to his prison door stating his crime and the penalty. When the prisoner had served his time, the judge would write across this certificate, ‘Paid in full,’ and give it to the man so he could never be punished again for the same crime. If anyone ever accused him again, the former felon could produce his certificate and say, ‘You can’t touch me. My debt has been paid.’
What debt did Jesus pay in full on the cross? Your sin-debt and mine. So when the devil comes to taunt and accuse you for your sins, you can point to God’s Word and say, ‘You can’t touch me because this is my bill of deliverance. The debt for my sin has been paid by Jesus on the cross once and for all.’
If you know Christ as your Savior, ‘Paid in full’ is written in crimson red over your sin-debt in the records of heaven’s courts!”
Adrian Rogers, The Passion of Christ and the Purpose of Life, p. 27.
“That He might bring us to God…” That word “bring” was often used when a person was brought into the throne room to see a king. Last year when Susan and I were in England and Scotland we saw the crown jewels both of England and Scotland. We also spent half a day at the Edinburgh Castle where Mary, Queen of Scots, gave birth to James who would be King James VI, the King known for commissioning the Bible we love. Even after 400 years, those places still have a sense of glory and awe. No one, then or now, could get into those places without proper authorization.
Neither will anyone strut or stroll into heaven. When you and I come into heaven’s throne room, there is One who will take us by the hand and bring us in. He name is Jesus. And His hands will bear the marks to prove who He is and the price He paid to bring us before God.
· 2 Corinthians 5:21 “He became sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” There are three “Great Transfers” in the Bible.
(1) Adam’s sin was transferred to all his descendents.
(2) All of our sins were all transferred to Christ on the cross.
(3) Christ’s righteousness is transferred to those who believe.
The question is not, “Did Jesus take my place?”
The question is, “Have I taken my place with Jesus?”
It is not a question of your guilt or innocence, for you and all the world stands condemned before God. It is now only a question of whether you will accept God’s substitute as your substitute. So, which will it be?
· Christ’s death on your behalf?
· Your eternal death to satisfy the justice of God?
Alas! And did my Saviour bleed, And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head, For such a worm as I?
Was it for crimes that I have done, He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! Grace unknown! And love beyond degree!
- Isaac Watts - Buried in Bunhill Cemetery, London