3) THE CURSE BECAME THE BLESSING
The opposite of this blessing of God is a curse – to have God turn His face away from us. When Jesus hung on the Cross, God who couldn’t bear to look at sin had to turn His face away from His beloved Son.
Let’s compare this scene to the Old Testament practice of sacrifice that God had instituted. On the Day of Atonement, two lambs would be brought before the Priest. One was killed and the shed blood was proof that the sin of the people had been punished. The second animal was the scapegoat. The priest would confess the sins of the people and lay it on this lamb symbolically. Then this animal was driven out into the wilderness to die and never return. Hanging on the Cross, Jesus represented both the animals at the same time. He was taken outside Jerusalem’s walls and crucified there. He became a castaway bearing our sins. It was at that moment that the Father turned His face away from His blessed Son.
4) IT IS FINISHED
The Apostles Creed says that Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried, descended into hell (Jesus experienced hell on the cross!) God the Father allowed His Son to experience suffering even to the point of hell because of His great love for us. This great love that was planned in eternity past by the Trinity! So when Jesus came to the earth and died on the Cross, He didn’t feel betrayed by His Father. He came to die!
This was not an unannounced truth. Hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, God prophesied through Prophet Isaiah about this unique love that He would show man.
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
6 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.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
9 And they made His grave with the wicked—
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
Verse 10 reads that it ‘pleased God to bruise Him’. It was no sadistic pleasure. It pleased God because though that His beloved people would be able to experience redemption. It pleased the Father that the Son beautifully went ahead with the Redemptive plan. God was pleased not in the pain that Jesus endured but in the redemption He provided!
The Father and the Son were in complete harmony. Jesus’ last words reflected this unity. He said, ‘It is finished. Now into your hands I commit my Spirit’. The Father and Son’s Redemption Plan had been beautifully accomplished. Further, when the soldiers came to see if Jesus and the thieves were dead, they found that Jesus had already died. He didn’t die by their spear but by His own voluntary giving up of His life. Not only that, Jesus was given a glorious burial. A criminal’s body is generally dumped in the garbage bin and burnt. But God sent a rich man called Joseph of Arimathea to bury His Son’s body in a tomb!
God didn’t forsake His obedient and beloved Son. Three days later, He raised Jesus back from death, lifted Him from the dominion of every power, principality so that every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus is the Lord.
What a loving God we have and are privileged to serve! He loved us enough to plan and give His Only Son to die for our sins. We are not an afterthought! He continues to love us and His love never forsakes us. We can put our trust in Him and never be put to shame!