It is not necessary here to quote further in detail the sayings of Jesus which indicate that He foreknew the violent death which He was destined to suffer. He assured James and John, when they sought places of honor and power in His Kingdom, that they were not able to drink the cup that He had to drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which He was to be baptized. And at the last supper, when He instituted the ordinance we call now the sacrament. He said of the broken bread, "Take, eat; this is my body;" and of the cup, "Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." From these statements, it is apparent that certain facts were clearly understood by Jesus, and that He endeavored as clearly to teach them to His disciples. These points are four, and you should try to remember them. First, Jesus foreknew and {274} proclaimed that the hatred of His enemies—the scribes and the Pharisees and the rulers in general—would finally bring about His death. Then, He knew equally well, and asserted with the same assurance, that His death was divinely appointed. Again, He assured His disciples that if they would gain places of honor in His kingdom, they too must be prepared to practice self-denial, to humble themselves and render service, and even, if necessary, to lay down their own lives for the Gospel's sake. Finally, Jesus announced that, through His death, mankind would be redeemed from sin, and that His death was therefore not a defeat but a glorious victory.

Worldly views of how Jesus's death can save.

These teachings are certainly inspiring and hopeful. The last one is particularly consoling. But, of course, it is only natural to ask, From what does the death of Christ actually deliver us? How can His death deliver us from sin? These questions have been asked by men ever since the crucifixion. It is almost amusing what strange notions people have held—and do still hold—in answer to these questions. Thus, some people believe that the death of Jesus represented the price paid to Satan to prevail upon him to release man from his power. Others believe that when Jesus gave His life for many, it was to protect them, or deliver them, from the fear of death. Still others hold that through His death Jesus broke the bonds that held His disciples to the belief and understanding that God's kingdom, was an earthly and temporal kingdom, and that the salvation which Jesus taught was earthly. Of course, no one of these theories—nor any one of several others not here mentioned—satisfies the conditions of the sacrifice made by Jesus. It does not really reveal from what {275} His death rescues us, nor how it is possible for His death to rescue us at all.


It is strange that there should be so much confusion about the nature and purpose of Jesus's atoning sacrifice. It is well known that through the sin of Adam, death came into the world. That death was not only physical but spiritual; for man was driven out from the presence of God. Adam broke a divine law. Necessarily, punishment, came to him. Now, in accordance with the law of justice, Adam and his children could be redeemed from death, and restored to the presence of God, only by satisfying in some way the broken law. How could that be done? We have learned, you remember, that there was a council in heaven before the earth was formed. There the whole plan of salvation was revealed. Jesus was appointed to become the Christ. His mission was to teach men to know God, that they might be prepared to return to Him, and through His own death to satisfy the demands of justice and thus to break the bands of physical death. This may, perhaps, be a little difficult to understand, but it is certainly what Jesus taught; for the learned Paul wrote, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming." This, too, is the testimony of John the Baptizer, who exclaimed when he saw Jesus approaching from the distance, "Behold {276} the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world;" and also of John the Beloved, who wrote in his Book of Revelation, "All that dwell upon the earth shall worship Him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."