By what means did the Lord Jesus become our sin, and thus become our healing righteousness? Why did God not simply die? How did He become our propitiation so that we are healed by His stripes?
Surely He had to taste death; this was symbolized by the vinegar and gall they gave Him. But drinking of the cup of the Lord’s wrath, the cup Jesus drank from, submitting to His Father’s will, was much more than this. For one, it was the whole process of His forsaking and crucifixion.
The part of His death I want to focus on is that Jesus died as the Son of God. That was the claim He made which brought the condemnation of the Sanhedrin. It was as our Holy One, but contested, that the Messiah died. In other words, the Savior dies as the revealed mystery, naked yet cloaked to unbelievers, in order that He is forsaken as the living Hope.
Jesus must be our sin, must be forsaken, in order that He can become our righteousness when we accept Him. It is the rejection of Christ, and His meek submission to the ensuing wrath, that makes Him our Savior. Until we give our lives to the Lord we are His murderers, right along with the Sanhedrin. We either reject or accept the testimony of His Father – that Jesus is the Son of God.
In Jesus’ march to the Cross, in His slow climb to conquer Satan and death, His star of Truth became more clear. First the Sanhedrin reviled His claim to be God’s Son. But because the Cross asks the question, “Is He the One?” Jesus is able to accept in His death all our sin. If He was killed for murder or theft, He is perhaps not the risen Savior, though He is still our perfect God.
But as it is Pilate brings Him out and says, “Behold the man!” And on the Cross we know He nailed our offenses up and gave His blood as against the wrath they deserved according to His noble placard there, “King of the Jews”.
As written in 2 Peter 1:16, “we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” Every detail of His death is perfect and meaningful. Just as the slain lamb was the only One worthy to open the seven seals in the book of Revelation, so the perfect Man, whose life is infinite and divine, is the only man worthy of paying for all the sin of the world. His death is potential salvation but it is also potentially a witness against us and that is because He showed us on that Cross perfect love. Jesus does this as the Son of God, the charge against Him and at the same time, His redeeming glory.
Jesus in dying for that preeminent place takes the preeminent place because He is not a liar. As Colossians 1:17 says, “He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” Glory be to God who is lifted up before us in His glory and whom we can know and exalt for His rescue, His glory, and His virtue!