It is Easter again, time for those common sermons by our Pastors on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nothing new for us this Sunday in church. I bet they will preach it again, explaining why and how he died, and how he rose again!
I love to hear this again and again. How I love this story, a story of our salvation. Easter means a lot to us as Christians. Without Easter, then we would not be Christians! It is therefore important to understand why He came, and why He died…I mean Jesus!
The common Old Testament narrative of Abraham wanting to sacrifice his son will help us understand this better. In Genesis 22, we encounter the father of faith who heeds to God’s instructions of wanting to sacrifice his only son Isaac, whom he loved and waited for long.
Without hesitation, we see Abraham embark on a journey to the place where he would make the burnt sacrifice for God. The author clearly tells us that it even puzzled Isaac when he saw that they had the fire and the wood but they had no sheep for the burnt offering. His father confidently answered that God will provide himself a lamb.
On reaching up the mountain, Abraham prepares the altar for the offering, ties Isaac and lays him down on a wood, ready to kill him as a burnt offering. It is at this point that we see an angel of the Lord call Abraham and tells him not to kill his son. Instead, there in the thicket he sees a ram caught by its horns, which he sacrifices in place of Isaac.
From the narrative, we see God spared Isaac from becoming the sacrificial lamb.
Note the parallel between the ram offered on the altar as a substitute for Isaac, and Christ offered on the cross as a substitute for us! We deserved to be there, at the cross. We deserved death for our sins, but he went there for our sake. God did not spare his own son, Jesus Christ, from dying on the cross for our sins. He had power to do so, but He didn’t. Why? That in his death, we may live!
If Jesus had lived, the rest of human kind would not have lived. God sent his only son to die for us on the cross so as to spare us from the eternal death we deserved and instead receive eternal life (John 3:16)
The death of Jesus on a cross means a lot to us. John Stott, a Bible teacher says, “The real heart of the gospel is not ‘Why did God become a man?’ but “Why did Christ die?’”
Apostle Peter summarizes it this way, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness…1 Peter 2:24
In conclusion just think of these words of the hymn, Before the throne of God above:
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of guilt within
Upward I look and see him there
Who made an end to all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me!
About Kenneth Irungu
Ken is an Apprentice with iServe Africa serving at DOVE Christian Fellowship Kawangware, Nairobi.
He is Passionate of Gospel service and Faithful Bible Teaching.