Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Cross of Christ - an investigation

          The death of the Lord Jesus must be understood from the whole of the Bible. In my purposed brief explanations, it is important to see the broad sweep of Divine revelation – from the Lamb foreordained before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20) through to the Lamb upon the eternal throne (Revelation 22:3). This along with many other pointers, show the crucifixion of Jesus was no surprise, no martyrdom, but rather, as Peter preached “ He was delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.....” (Acts 2:23).

      To see the final objective of God  - a redeemed people worshipping a once slain redeemer – gives much clarity to understanding the ‘why?’ of so many details. E.g. why He was judged by Jew and Gentile.

     I would like to make another general observation -  in the book of Acts , the death of the Lord is seldom explained as the basis of forgiveness. This is developed in the teaching letters. Forgiveness is in His Name  implies both who He was and the death and resurrection He  accomplished. His death is more often presented as a cause for repentance. When His death is explained in the letters of the apostles, it is often connected to the terms – redemption, ransom, remission, sacrifice, offering, suffering etc. To understand the terms, the Old Testament is vital.
      It is most important to notice that often when the Lord Jesus was foretelling His death, He referred to the Old Testament or implied it’s truth  to give meaning to the cross e.g. “ I will smite the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.” (Mark 14.27)

    Another preliminary to my investigation is the care needed to discern the symbolism, metaphors etc frequently used in the Old and New Testaments. The one which I will later look at is “shed blood” – is it literal , a metaphor, a  generality or what? Well the Bible does give an answer, and we do well to let the Bible speak for itself rather than force the Bible to say what we want it to say.

     I find I must restrain myself from building a mountain of interpretation upon a minor detail  e.g. The Lord said “It is finished”  - I love the thought that the work of salvation was declared finished and the debt of sin paid, however I have little support from any other scripture that this is the meaning of “It is finished”. It could have referred to the fulfilment of scripture. Or the finish of the suffering , or the giving up of His life.

So let us proceed with due care and diligence!

John McKee

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