I have heard the gospel message hundreds of times. I’ve heard it explained in a number of ways, the most common one being from the angle of Jesus taking our punishment. I have thought to explore that angle a little further. How can someone make the claim that He took our punishment? Jesus was tried by the Sanhedrin in Matthew 26:59-66, Mark 14:55-64, and Luke 22:63-71. False witnesses couldn’t get their story straight and only with two witnesses could anyone, even Jesus be put to death. The High Priest took a more direct approach and asked Jesus “Are you the Son of God?”
Jesus’ answer would either be a lie or blasphemy. God in human form chose to claim that He was the Son of God. In the eyes of the Sanhedrin, that was blasphemy, punishable by death, and there were plenty of witnesses. In Isaiah, he is said to be “crushed for our sin and pierced for our transgressions, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him.” This is where an explanation of my thought process gets hard. Jesus was falsely accused and killed for blasphemy, claiming to be God.
Several years ago, Jason preached a sermon on “Offerings of the Bible”, which if you want an audio copy of it, I know some sound techs who would be more than happy to burn you a CD. Anyway, Jason talked about how God sets the standard of the sacrifice, that it must be perfect, spotless, and firstborn. Part of the text was Malachi 1:7-14 where God through Malachi condemned the bringing of lame, blind, and sick animals to be sacrificed. A quote that stood out to me was “The minute men determine what the offering should be is the minute they become god.” God also is the One who determines what is right and what is wrong.
Therefore, when we determine what is right and what is wrong, we’re asserting that we are god. Another way of saying that is that whenever we sin, we are claiming to be god, because we make the claim that what we’re doing is good and not evil. Incidentally, Malachi later talks about wearying God when we say ‘everyone who does evil is good in the sight of God’. (Mal 3:17)
Now to formally connect these statements, the assertion that we make when we call sin good is that we can decide what is right and what is wrong, God. A blasphemous claim. A claim punishable under the law by death. Jesus claimed rightly that He was God and was falsely killed for it. We deserved death for our claim, the death that Jesus received for His claim. There, He literally took our punishment. The death we deserved He Himself bore. But thanks be to God, death had no power over the One who created life. Truly, the punishment that brought us peace and reconciliation was upon Him.