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The Atoning Death Of Jesus

All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.
–Isaiah 53:6

Peter was standing on the temple steps at Pentecost, preaching the very first sermon about Jesus. He said, “This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death” (Acts 2:23). That took guts for Peter to say. He was looking into the eyes of the very people who, weeks earlier, had cried out, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” and saying, “You are the ones who nailed Him to the cross.”

But Jesus Christ was no victim. Peter said Jesus was “delivered.” That word means “surrendered”–that is, God voluntarily surrendered Jesus to be executed. Not only that, He planned for His own Son’s death. Christ’s death was no accident, Peter was saying. It was all according to the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God.

In fact, the evidence of that is in the hundreds of prophecies about the death of Christ written hundreds of years earlier in the Old Testament. For example, Zechariah 11:12 says the Messiah would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver. Psalm 22:16 says when He died, the Messiah would have his hands and feet pierced–describing Jesus’s crucifixion before crucifixion had even been invented. Psalm 22:18 says that His clothing would be divided up, and the soldiers would cast lots for it. Psalm 34:20 says no bone in His body would be broken. Amos 8:9 says that when He died, a great darkness would envelop the earth. And Isaiah 53:9 says He would be buried in a rich man’s tomb.

This was no accident. The death of Jesus Christ was God’s plan, not just for the salvation of the world but for your salvation as well. That is the heart of the gospel. The Bible says we have all fallen short of God’s perfect standard; we all deserve God’s eternal judgment. But Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” In some inexplicable way when Jesus hung on the cross, He took the punishment, the wrath of God, that you and I deserve.

When I accept the fact that Jesus died for me, when I quit trusting in my own goodness and instead put my full faith and trust in Him, I no longer have to fear the judgment of God–Jesus Christ endured my punishment for me. That is why He said in John 5:24, “He who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “This Man Jesus” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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