Easter is the celebration of Jesus of Nazareth rising from the dead after his crucifixion at the hands of the Roman and Jewish leaders. The events leading up to his crucifixion are found in tightly packed narratives in the four Gospels of the Bible.
The trial of Jesus was an invention of charges, none of which could be proved true. When brought before the Roman governor Pilot and questioned, he did not find Jesus guilty of any crime. However, the Jewish religious leaders stirred up the crowd and they demanded the death of Jesus.
To appease the crowd, Pilot stood before them and washed his hands, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” The crowd replied, “His blood be on us and on our children!” While this was a statement of self-imposed guilt for them, it was also a prophetic statement soon to be fulfilled.
Throughout the Bible, blood had two primary meanings. First, it was clearly taught that the life of a creature is in the blood. We all know this. If we are badly injured we can bleed to death. No blood in the body means no life. Leviticus 17:14 says, “For the life of every creature is its blood: its blood is its life.”
To emphasize the life-giving nature of blood, God forbade the eating of blood. God also showed that disobedience to His perfect nature would lead to death. After Adam and Eve sinned they were expelled from the garden so that they couldn’t eat from the Tree of Life and live forever. But God also showed them that He would continue to commune with them by offering the sacrifice of innocent animals.
Please understand these important points. 1) God loves every part of His creation, humans being the pinnacle. 2) God abhors disobedience (sin), not because He is a tyrant, but because His commands are the absolute best course for our lives. 3) God always had a plan for a sinless human to die on behalf of all sinful humans. 4) God provided a metaphor to foretell of the coming Savior.
The purposeful sacrifice of a perfect animal (without spot or blemish; the best of the herd) would be accepted by God as a temporary covering of a person’s sin. This allowed fellowship with God to be restored. But for permanent forgiveness, the full restoration to a sinless state in the eyes of God, the sacrifice would have to be a human who lived completely in line with God’s nature.
The only way to accomplish this was for God himself to become human through the person of His Son. Then Jesus, the Son of God, offered His own life as a substitute for all humanity. The word to describe what happens is atonement. To atone is to make reparation or supply satisfaction for doing wrong against someone. An archaic use of the word, which is still the Biblical meaning, is to bring from a state of enmity or opposition to a state of friendliness, toleration, or harmony. [“Atone.” Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://unabridged.merriam-webster.com/unabridged/atone. Accessed 16 Apr. 2022.]
This brings us back to the Easter story. To fulfill the Old Testament promises that a Savior would be sent, God became a human being as Jesus of Nazareth. Living in obedience to God the Father, Jesus spread the message of redemption for three and a half years culminating in His bloody torture and death on a Roman cross. The shedding of Jesus’s blood is the atonement for our enmity with God.
While hanging on the cross, Jesus said, “Father forgive them”. The substitutionary death of Jesus on our behalf offers full forgiveness for all sin, past, present, and future. The apostle John, who witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus later wrote, “the blood of Jesus his [God’s] Son cleanses us from all sin”. [1 John 1:7]
The statement of the Jewish crowd, “His blood be on us and on our children!”, was fulfilled in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. While they accepted immediate guilt for the death, Jesus offered forgiveness as He died. Those people who later recognized this were offered salvation from sin by the very blood they called out to Pilot for.
This atonement is for you too. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” [Romans 6:23] The atonement was not free. But the forgiveness is offered freely by God to anyone who believes in the atoning death of Jesus.
But wait, Easter is about more than the death of Jesus. After being physically dead for three days, Jesus rose from the dead to declare to His understandably troubled disciples that His sacrifice was complete and accepted by the Father. The resurrection of Jesus tells all who believe that they will live with Him forever.
Remember how Adam and Eve were banished from the Tree of Life? In the last chapter of the Bible, we read that those who accept the gift of forgiveness from God “have the right to the tree of life”. We can live forever, face to face with God!
If you have questions regarding eternal life through Jesus, please email me at email@example.com. Your correspondence will remain confidential.Biblical quotes taken from the English Standard Version; Copyright 2001, 2007, 2011, 2016 by Crossway Bibles. All rights reserved. Used with permission.