Jesus’ death was part of the mystery of God’s plan for salvation of the human race
God is NOT a puppet-master God as master of time/history accomplished His purpose through freely made human decisions
Traditional Purpose: Ever since Adam-Eve, human race has been under curse of death, as penalty for their sin (original sin)
Traditional Purpose cont. God (Himself) took on the burden of human sin for all humanity, dying so we might be free from the sentence of death. Jesus = New Adam
How does Jesus’ death free us? 3 Metaphor - Explanations
Metaphor 1: Suffering Servant Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Suffering Servant Jesus’ followers –the early Christians – were also Jews who looked to Hebrew Scriptures for an explanation. Isaiah described an unnamed servant of God, who suffers greatly - not punishment for own sins, but to save people from theirs. Early Christians understood Jesus’ freely given obedience to God’s will as reasoned this way.
Metaphor 2: Ransom for Many Mark 10:45
Ransom for Many In Roman world ransom = price paid to release a slave “Ransom” is made in front of a shrine of local god i.e. slave is now property of god, not another human person. Jesus paid God-price for our freedom - so we’re no longer “owned” by sin and death
Metaphor 3: Paschal Lamb Exodus 12:1-36
Paschal Lamb Israelites killed a lamb & used its blood on door posts, so angel of death would pass over their homes Accd. to John: Jesus was crucified on feast of Passover, just as lambs were being slaughtered. Just as blood of Paschal Lamb liberated Israelites from death and slavery, so too Jesus’ death (& resurrection) saves humanity from death & slavery to sin
Is God mean? In all 3 metaphors, God comes across as mean, angry, cold-hearted, demanding exact payment in blood. Not meant to be taken literally!!!
Through death of Jesus Christ, separation between God and humanity (caused by sin) has been bridged.
God loves me! Cross = ultimate sign of love of God, available to each person who puts faith and trust in God
God loves me! Symbol of death is transformed into symbol of Freedom & Life!