By Pastor Tom Kline
In 2004, a movie was released that caused considerable commotion, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. The movie gave a very graphic depiction of the physical suffering Jesus endured on the cross and raised several questions but the most important of these is, “Why did Jesus suffer such horrendous torture?” Does His death truly have meaning for me? The answer really can only be found in the Bible.
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” (I Corinthians 15:3) It was for our sins that Jesus suffered such a horrible death.
“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. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)To understand the meaning of the death of Jesus Christ we need to understand that it was not for crimes that He committed, but for the sins we commit. No film could fully capture what Christ suffered for sin, but Jesus’ suffering and death ought to reveal to us how God feels about sin and what His punishment of sin is. “For the wages of sin is death …” (Romans 6:23) A holy and just God must punish sin. We would expect a just God to judge the sins of murderers, rapists etc. But God must judge our sins as well. To face God without having our sins forgiven will result in the judgment of eternal separation from God in hell.
The second thing that Christ’s violent death ought to show us is how wonderfully God loves us. “But God commendeth (demonstrated) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) God so loved you and me, that when our sin had condemned us to an inescapable punishment, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to take that punishment for us. Having secured the forgiveness of our sins by His death, He now offers this salvation to anyone who will acknowledge his sin and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13) God’s Word declares that to be saved is to come humbly as a sinner to Christ and trust Him for salvation. The terrible death that Jesus Christ endured was because of His great love for you. Don’t despise that love but receive Christ now as your personal Savior.