CM2000 2 January, 2001
Plenary: Community Transformation

Messiah's Sacrifice

Emeka Nwankpa

"Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:1-5)

This prophecy from the book of Isaiah encapsulates a summary of the sufferings of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, for us mankind on the cross. He suffered in different ways; that is to say, there were many dimensions to his suffering on the cross. If we understand the implications of each aspect, we can then be in a better position to appropriate the blessings and benefits that arise from them. Furthermore we can then apply and enforce their legal power on the earth, in our circumstances and in the propagation of the gospel of the kingdom of God in the nations.

1. His Betrayal

The betrayal of Jesus has some significant things about it. Firstly, the transaction was between Judas Iscariot and the chief priests. (Matt.26: 14-16). Secondly, it was only after this transaction that he lost his personal liberty and therefore could be arrested. Thirdly, he was sold for thirty pieces of silver. This money was described in Matthew 27:6 as the price of blood - in other words blood money. Furthermore the piece of land it was used to buy was called, the field of blood, (v.8). This transaction was like Jesus being sold into slavery. He thereby paid for the whole matter of slavery with all of its implications. It is significant that the highest amount of damages due to the owner of a slave if an ox in an accident killed him, was thirty pieces of silver (Exodus 21:16).

2. The Crown of Thorns

The soldiers who were part of Pilate's palace guard and who formed part of the military garrison of Jerusalem played a significant role in the sufferings of Jesus. One of the things they did was to plait a crown of thorns and jam it on his head. It must have been indescribably painful! In enduring this, Jesus was paying for the curse that God put upon the ground in Genesis 3:16-18 as a result of man's sin. This aspect of his suffering needs to be understood and applied in the breaking of curses on the land, in redeeming land and to enforce the benefits of the sufferings of the Messiah when it comes to farming, laying foundations for buildings. Satan and the forces of darkness need to be told that their hold upon the land and ownership of it in any way has been paid for.

3. His Stripes

The prophet spoke of the stripes that the Roman soldiers inflicted upon him to the point where his visage was so marred that there was no beauty in him that we should desire him. They damaged his features extensively with those stripes. The stripes paid for our healing.

We see further references to attest to the severity and benefit of these stripes in Psalm 129:3, Isaiah 52:14 and 1 Peter 2:24.

4. Hunger, Thirst, Nakedness and want of all things.

In Deuteronomy 28:48 we read a summary of the curse of poverty resulting from sin. As part of his sufferings on the cross, Jesus did not eat anything from the Last Supper till the resurrection. He was thirsty and said as much on the cross. The soldiers took his clothes and gambled among themselves as to who would take them. He was therefore left naked. When he died, he did not even have a grave in which to be buried and the sepulcher owned by Joseph of Arimathaea had to be used. We see that he paid the price for poverty. It is indisputable that hunger, thirst and want of all things are the hallmarks of poverty. See John 19:28; Matthew 27:35; Matthew 27:57-60.

5. The Cross

Jesus could have been stoned to death like Stephen, beheaded like John the Baptist or from the beatings he received. But he had to die the death of the cross because had to be made a curse for us mankind (Galatians 3:13-14).

If he had not died on the cross the blessings of Abraham could not have come upon the Gentiles. Furthermore the promise of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit would not have come.

The Blood of His Cross

"And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled. In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight." (Colossians 1:20-22)

As we read through the New Testament we discover that the blood of Jesus Christ that he shed on the cross has provided many blessings for us:

  1. Peace between God and us.
  2. Reconciliation of all things unto himself- this is to be enforced by the church. The blood was not shed for the benefit of man alone. It was shed for the reconciliation of all things unto himself.
  3. Reconciliation of man to God.
  4. Forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7)
  5. Redemption (Ephesians 1:7)
  6. Justification (Romans 5:9)
  7. Sanctification ( Hebrews 13:12)
  8. Remission of sins ( Hebrews 9:22 & Hebrews 10:17-18)
  9. Continual cleansing from all sin as we walk in the light (1 John 1:7)
  10. The blood of Jesus speaks better things for us than the blood of Abel from the mercy seat in the tabernacle of God in heaven. (Hebrews 12:24).

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