JESUS OUR SUBSTITUTE
1. The Cross is an inclusive term referring to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. I Cor 15:1-4
a. God’s power, God’s help, is available to us through understanding what the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus accomplished for us.
b. We are taking time to study the Cross to increase our understanding of what Jesus did for us.
2. To fully benefit from the preaching of the Cross you must understand identification.
a. The word is not found in the Bible, but the principle is there. Identification works like this: I wasn’t there, but what happened there affects me as though I was there.
1. The Bible teaches that we were crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20), we were buried with Christ (Rom 6:4), and we were raised up with Christ (Eph 2:5).
2. We weren’t there, but whatever happened at the Cross, in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, affects us as though we were there.
3. That is why we need the preaching of the Cross– so we know what happened to us in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
b. To identify actually means to make identical so you can consider or treat the same.
1. On the Cross Jesus identified with us or became what we were.
2. At the Cross God treated Jesus the way we should have been treated.
c. Through the Cross an exchange took place.
1. All the evil due to us because of our sin and disobedience went to Jesus so that all the good due to Him for His obedience could come to us.
2. Jesus became one with us in our sin and death so we could be one with Him in life and righteousness. II Cor 5:21; Gal 3:13
3. Jesus went to the Cross for us so that He could go to the Cross as us.
a. Jesus had to become what we were in order for God to treat Him like us, so He first became a man.
b. Then on the Cross He took our place, became our substitute, so He could identify with us or become identical to us so that God could treat Him as us.
c. Identification is our complete union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.
4. In this lesson and the next we want to look at how complete the process of Jesus’ substitution for and identification with us was.
1. Jesus’ death involved more than what could be seen by looking at Him dying on the Cross.
a. Our sins were laid on Him (Isa 53:6). He was made sin (II Cor 5:21). He was made a curse
(Gal 3:13). All of those things were unseen or spiritual.
b. When we talk about the spiritual sufferings and death of Jesus we are referring to what went on in the unseen realm, in the spiritual realm.
2. When the Bible speaks of death in connection with people, it never means “cease to exist”. All humans will exist forever, either in heaven or in hell.
a. There are several kinds of death mentioned in the Bible including physical and spiritual death.
1. Gen 2:17–God told Adam the consequence of his sin would be death — in dying he would die.
Adam died twice because of his sin.
2. When Adam sinned, he was separated from God and cut off from access to life. Adam died physically 930 years later. Gen 3:7-10,22-24; Ezek 18:4,20; Gen 5:5
b. To be dead spiritually means to be cut off from God, lacking the life of God in your spirit.
1. Eph 2:1–Before we were saved we had physical life, but we (the spirit man) were dead — not non-existent, but lacking the life of God. Eph 2:1–You were spiritually dead through your sins and failures. (Phillips)
2. Eph 4:18–Alienated, in the Greek, means to estrange away, to be a non-participant.
c. W. E. Vine says spiritual death is the opposite of spiritual life. Spiritual life is union and communion with God. Spiritual death is separation from God.
3. I Cor 15:22, Rom 5:12–The whole human race died in Adam. Man’s death because of Adam’s sin is two fold — physical and spiritual.
a. Adam’s inner man was cut off from God, then his body died. Separation from God produced a change in his nature (his spirit) which he passed on to his children. Gen 4:1-9; I John 3:12
b. If Jesus is going to identify with us, He is going to have to take on whatever we are, whatever we have in the way of death.
c. Isa 53:9 tells us Jesus experienced two deaths on the Cross. Death, in the Hebrew, is plural — deaths. Jesus died physically, but He died spiritually as well.
4. What does it mean that Jesus died spiritually? Two things:
a. Matt 27:46–It means He was separated from His Father. Forsaken means to desert or abandon.
b. It means He took on Himself the nature that was produced in man through separation from God — the sin nature. Jesus became what we were by nature. He was made sin. Isa 59:2; II Cor 5:21
1. No other word better describes man apart from Christ than sin. Sin is an act, a nature, and a state of being. Eph 2:3; II Cor 6:14; I John 5:17
2. Jesus identified with us and took our sin nature on Himself. Ps 22:6; Job 25:6; Isa 41:14
3. Jesus connected Himself and His crucifixion with the serpent on a pole. John 3:14; Num 21:9; Gen 3:1; Rev 12:9; 20:2
c. Remember, God the Father was not dealing with Jesus on the Cross, He was dealing with us through our Substitute and His identification with us.
1. Our union with Christ was such that He became us, became what we were and God treated Him like us.
2. Our old man, all that we were in Adam, was crucified when Jesus, the Last Adam, was crucified. Rom 6:6; Gal 2:20; I Cor 15:45
5. Jesus’ suffering for us was not just physical — it was spiritual. He suffered spiritually. Remember,
spiritual suffering refers to what happened in the unseen realm to Jesus’ spirit and soul.
a. Jesus could not bear our sins in His physical body because sin is not a physical condition. It is a spiritual condition which is physically expressed. Man’s root problem is not physical it is spiritual. Sickness and physical death are by products of spiritual death.
b. Jesus bore our sins in His spirit which was in His body. His soul was an offering for sin. Isa 53:10
c. Heb 9:14–On the Cross, Jesus was made a spiritual offering. He offered not just His body, but Himself for us.
1. To some, this is a new, possibly disturbing concept. But, remember these things.
a. Jesus going to hell is a logical extension of substitution and identification. That is where spiritually dead people go.
b. He did not go there for His sin, He had none. He went there for our sin.
c. Physical death is not the full payment for sin. If it were, every man could pay for his own sin by simply dying.
2. In the first sermon Peter preached he made reference to Jesus going to hell.
a. In Acts 2:22-32 Peter preached about the resurrection, and in doing so, he stated where Jesus was before He rose from the dead. He was in hell.
b. Some say that Jesus did go to hell, but it was not a place of suffering. Rather, it was Abraham’s bosom. Luke 16:19-31
1. Before Jesus paid for our sins, no one could go to heaven. All people, righteous and unrighteous, went to the heart of the earth.
2. There were two compartments a place of comfort and a place of torment. Jesus went to the place of suffering.
3. Consider these reasons why Jesus went to hell and suffered.
a. It is the logical next step of substitution and identification.
b. The word hell used in Acts 2 is HADES. It is translated grave, hell, place of departed spirits. It is used nine other times in the NT (Matt 11:23; 16:18; Luke 10:15; 16:23; I Cor 15:55; Rev 1:18; 6:8; 20:13,14). It never means a place of comfort, it means a place of torment, judgment, or an enemy of Christ.
c. Isa 53:9 tells us that Jesus made His grave with the rich and the wicked. He was buried alone in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea, a rich, good man (Mark 15:43; Luke 23:50). Where was He buried with the wicked? In hell.
d. Jesus Himself told us where He would be after He died. Matt 12:38-40
1. He said He’d be in the heart of the earth, and it would be like being in the belly of a whale.
2. Jonah 1:17; 2:1-10–When we look at Jonah’s experience in the belly of the whale, we see that it was not one of comfort.
3. Ps 88 describes a man experiencing the full force of the wrath of God. It is clearly intense suffering, like waves. v3,6,7,14,16,17. Grave is SHEOL or hell, the world of the dead.
4. Jesus’ spiritual suffering began on the Cross, but according to the type of Johan, the bulk of it occurred in hell.
e. Acts 2:24–The Holy Ghost tells us the resurrection released Jesus from intense suffering.
1. Pain is ODIN in the Geek. It means birth pangs, travail, intense suffering.
2. Physical pain from the crucifixion would have stopped as soon as He died. This is a pain, a suffering, which took place after His physical death.
f. Acts 2:31 shows the two fold aspect of Christ’s suffering — flesh (physical) and soul (spiritual).
1. “How can you say such a thing? It robs Jesus of His glory and insults His deity.” This is an emotional argument and not a scriptural argument.
a. None of this happened to Jesus because He deserved it. He didn’t! We did, and He took it for us.
b. Jesus became a man so He could partake of our death — physical and spiritual. Jesus suffering these things in His humanity. Heb 2:9
1. The Bible clearly states that death had dominion over Jesus for a time. What must that have been like for the Lord of life? Rom 6:9; Acts 2:24
2. Why was Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane so great? He was about to become sin, lose fellowship with His Father, and become the object of His Father’s wrath. Matt 26:36-38
2. Jesus told the thief on the Cross: Today, you’ll be with me in paradise. Luke 23:43
a. The word paradise is used three times in the entire Bible (Luke 23:43; II Cor 12:24; Rev 2:7). Each time it is clearly heaven not Abraham’s bosom.
b. The thief asked to be in Jesus’ kingdom. Abraham’s bosom is not the coming kingdom of Christ.
c. There is no punctuation in the original Greek. The translators decide where the punctuation goes.
1. Rotherham–And he said unto him — verily I say unto thee this day: With me thou shalt be in heaven.
2. In other words, Jesus was saying “I don’t have to remember you when I get my kingdom. I can tell you right now, you’ll be with me in paradise”.
d. Remember an important rule of Bible interpretation: If you have ten scriptures which clearly say the same thing and one scripture which seems to contradict, don’t throw out the ten for the one. Assume you don’t yet have full understanding of the one verse.
3. Jesus said everything was finished on the Cross. John 19:30
a. Jesus cannot mean everything was over at that moment.
1. He still had to die, be buried, and resurrected, according to the scriptures. I Cor 15:1-4,14,17
2. At this point Jesus is still a curse (Deut 21:23). He is still under the dominion of death.
3. In John 19:36,37 after Jesus said “It is finished”, He was still fulfilling scripture.
4. Heb 1:3 says redemption was complete when Jesus sat down at the Father’s right hand.
b. The resurrection is not a side issue or a footnote to the crucifixion. It is the proof of our justification, proof that our sins are paid for.
1. Rom 4:25–Who was surrendered to death because of the offenses we had committed, and was raised to life because of the acquittal secured for us. (Weymouth)
2. In the Book of Acts the disciples did not preach the crucifixion, they preached the resurrection. They preached the Cross — the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
Acts 1:22; 2:24,32; 3:15; 4:2,33; 5:30-32
c. Remember our rule of Bible interpretation. If you have ten scriptures which clearly make the same point and one verse which seems to contradict, don’t throw out the ten.
f. What did Jesus mean when He said, “It is finished.”?
1. The man Jesus had completed fully and perfectly the will of God for His life on earth.
2. Jesus is the only man who has ever been able to say at the end of His life — It is finished, it is perfectly complete. Heb 4:15
1. Through Jesus, the Father not only dealt with what I did, but with what I was.
a. God punished me, killed me, executed me. Jesus died the death I should have died.
b. Jesus took my death so I could have His life. He took the curse of my disobedience so I can have the blessing of His obedience.
2. Jesus became what we were so that we could become what He is — holy, righteous sons of God, free from the dominion of death.