“[T]he Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,
and to give His life a ransom for many.”
For those who witnessed the spectacle of Jesus being sentenced before his accusers and the court of Rome, there was no sign on that “good” Friday of the cataclysmic event that would follow but “three days” later. On that bleak Friday, all Jesus’ followers knew was that their hopes and dreams for personal and national redemption were being crushed before their eyes. Helpless amidst the darkening skies, they could only observe as the “Son of Man’s” hands and feet were pierced through with nails and His blood poured out until, finally, He would utter His then inexplicable last words, “It is finished.” (John 19:31) Even as the ground began to shake, the tombs open, and the veil of the temple was torn in two…, still they did not understand. Only later would the meaning of the cross come into full focus and blaze with light.
It blazes still!
To redeem fallen man, both a deliverance is required and the price to obtain it, the price of ransom. That the cost of such redemption is high is hinted at in the beginning chapters of Genesis, where God slays an animal as the first sacrifice in order to cover (atone for) Adam and Eve’s nakedness. That innocent animal’s blood is what begins the “Scarlet Thread of Redemption,” a thread that weaves itself through the Bible’s passing centuries and gradually revealed design. It knits itself through the invisible war between God and Satan over the fate of men’s souls, a war that began with Satan deceiving Eve in the Garden, and God telling him: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heal.” (Genesis 3:15)
By the time of the first century the Jewish nation was anxiously waiting for their Messiah, who they expected would purge the land of its Roman occupiers and usher in the Messianic Kingdom. Yet what they failed to grasp was that the Scriptures foretold not one coming of Messiah, but two. The first as a Suffering Servant, the second and yet future as a Conquering King. Some seven-hundred years before Jesus began His fateful ministry, the Prophet Isaiah described how Messiah would be received by those He was sent to save:
“He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him…
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…
“He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:3,7,11)
To “justify many,” to “bear [our] iniquities.” Here is revealed why the Suffering Servant’s innocent blood was poured out. What no animal sacrifice could ever accomplish for us, God, in the second Person of the Trinity, did. Just prior to His crucifixion Jesus revealed to his disciples: “Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of the world (Satan) be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.” (John 12:31-33) God used the object of His judgment, His own Son, to save His people from the judgment that would otherwise be theirs. By the Scarlet Thread of His own blood Jesus, “bore our sins in His own body on the tree….” (1 Peter 2:24).
There’s the story told of Scottish novelist George McDonald’s son, who after his first encounter with the gospel remarked to his father what so many people feel, “that it’s a fairy tale, too good to be true.” To which the older McDonald replied, “Nay, Laddy, it is just so good that it must be true!” Indeed, no human mind could invent such a story, God’s story. It’s the Scarlet Thread of Redemption, a love story written to all those God is still seeking to ransom.
To all our many friends and subscribers, on behalf of all of us at Protect Our Kids, I wish you a blessed Easter!