Jesus – What You Need to Know – 23

It is worth noting, while the death of Jesus on the cross was cruel and some have a problem with God using human blood as a means of justification, it was a fortunate substitute to the alternative.  The only other option God would have, if He was to remain consistent in His justice, would be to pour out eternal punishment on us all as He did in the time of Noah.  In other words, the choice was between a hellish experience for Himself on the cross, or Hell for us.

We should also recognize this is the only time God shed human blood as a sacrifice.  Throughout history there are those who have been put to death for their sins.  An early biblical precedent for capital punishment can be found in Genesis 9:6: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man”.  There have also been countless individuals who have willingly given their lives for others.  But only Jesus shed human blood to atone for the sins of the world.

Our Living God stands opposite pagan idol worshippers who have used self-abasement and human sacrifice to appease false gods.  This difference is clearly illustrated in the account of the frenzied prophets of Baal atop Mount Carmel.  They cut and slashed themselves to evoke fire from their god in order to light an altar.  In contrast, Elijah prayed and God sent a bolt of fire that consumed the altar, even after it had been thoroughly soaked with water (1 Kings 18:20-39).  It is also seen in the example of Abraham who was willing to sacrifice Isaac on a mountain.  At the last moment God stopped Abraham’s hand from killing his son and provided a Ram in a thicket as a worthy substitute.

The only innocent blood ever shed to atone for our sins belonged to Jesus, and He was indeed Immanuel, “God with us.”  When it was time to offer a human sacrifice for the sins of the world, God came in the flesh to accomplish the work personally.  It cost us nothing.  It cost Him everything.

About LJones

Minister and story teller.
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