As we arrive at Easter and find ourselves refreshed in the amazing and glorious truth of Jesus’ triumph over death through His resurrection, it is good that we first consider how He was victorious over sin before that.
First of all, He was victorious in that He lived a sinless life. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15 ESV). This is what 1 Peter 1:19b means by saying that Jesus is “a Lamb without blemish or spot” and calls to mind the commandment of God that their “Passover Lambs”: a special sacrifice, the blood of which would serve to shield them from the judgement of death for the firstborn of the Children of Israel while they were in Egypt (see Exodus 12, especially verses 5, 7, 13 and 29).
This, of course, leads to the point of Jesus’ death, that He had to come and die in our place because of our sin. He did not die because of anything He had done. Indeed, “He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6 ESV).
This is why we do not only preach (proclaim) that Jesus loves us. This is why we do not only preach and teach about the resurrection. Without the cross there is no resurrection. Without His death, there can be no life. Without His sacrifice for our sin, we could have no hope.
This is at the heart of the Church’s message today and what unites us as a people under God in our mission to evangelize and disciple anyone and everyone to whom the Lord opens the door for us. Like the Apostle Paul, we can decide “to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2 ESV).
Let us be careful to not lose sight of this one, all-important mission. To preach Christ and Him crucified. Let it guide every work we do. Let it be the framework for everything we say. Let it be our goal in all that we take on in this world and let it be the essence of our philosophy. Be on guard against teachings, ideas, and counsel that dilute this primary task. Be careful that it doesn’t get so crowded out by “good ideas” and worldly sentiments that you forget why you’re here.
And let us rejoice in that from the cross, He returned to life and gave us an eternal hope!
Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 25 years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com”. Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed are the work of the author.