1. Text: 1 Pt. 3:18.
  2. It is irony of the highest order that Jesus gave us glory by submitting to shame and gave us victory by submitting to defeat — He gave us life by submitting to death! Cf. Hb. 2:14,15.
  3. The cross is the death of death by the death of Christ.

I. Christ Came into the World to Die

  1. The prophets had spoken of the death of the Messiah — Psa. 22:1–31; Isa. 52:13–53:12. Cf. Ac. 8:30–35.
  2. When Jesus was born, Mary was told that “a sword will pierce through your own soul” (Lk. 2:34,35).
  3. It was intended by God that the author of our salvation would be made “perfect through sufferings” (Hb. 2:10).
  4. Jesus knew clearly what His mission was — Mt. 20:17–19; Lk. 9:51; 12:50; Jn. 12:27. Cf. Mt. 16:21–23; Jn. 18:11.
    1. He even spoke of the manner in which He would die — Jn. 12:32,33. Cf. 3:14; 8:28.
    2. Whatever glories were to follow, Jesus knew they lay on the other side of the cross — Hb. 12:2.
  5. When the moment of His death finally came, Jesus could say, “It is finished” (Jn. 19:30).

II. By His Death, Christ Defeated Death

  1. Death is the weapon of the devil — Ezek. 18:4,20; Rom. 6:23. Cf. Rom. 7:9–11; 1 Cor. 15:56.
  2. By dying and being resurrected, Jesus conquered the power of death — Gen. 3:15; 1 Cor. 15:54–57; 2 Tim. 1:10.
    1. Consider Col. 2:14,15.
    2. What was lost in Adam can be regained in Christ — Rom. 5:12–21; 1 Cor. 15:20–23.
  3. No one would have been more dismayed than Satan on the morning of Jesus’ resurrection. For a few hours he was allowed to think he had overthrown God’s purpose and thwarted the establishment of the kingdom of the Messiah — only to find out that by taking the life of God’s Son he had fulfilled God’s purpose and doomed himself to utter defeat in the process! Cf. Jn. 12:31–33.
  4. Christ having won the crucial battle, it is only a matter of time until death is completely subjugated — 1 Cor. 15:24–28.

III. Christ Defeated Death by Dying for Us

  1. With no sins of His own (Hb. 4:15), Christ accepted the penalty of death for our sins — He substituted Himself for us — 2 Cor. 5:21; Hb. 2:9. Cf. Rom. 4:25; Hb. 9:27,28; 1 Pt. 3:18; 4:1.
  2. Caiaphas spoke more truth than he realized when he said it was expedient that “one man should die for the people” (Jn. 11:49–52). Cf. 2 Cor. 5:14,15.
  3. Christ “redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). Cf. Deut. 21:22,23. Cf. Mt. 27:46.
    1. In addition to the physical torture of it, there was no more shameful and demeaning death than crucifixion.
    2. Roman citizens were exempt — it was normally reserved for enemies, slaves, and criminals.
  4. Jesus gave His life as a “ransom” for us — Mt. 20:28.
  5. Such an act is obviously a token of the highest love — Jn. 15:13; 1 Jn. 3:16. Cf. Eph. 5:25.
  6. By dying for us, Jesus made it possible for us to be reconciled to God — Rom. 5:10,11.

IV. To Be Saved from Sin, We Must Die and Be Raised with Christ

  1. Christ commanded that we be baptized in order to be saved — Mk. 16:16.
  2. To be baptized into Christ is to be baptized into His death — Rom. 6:2–4; Col. 2:12.
  3. Having been “crucified with Christ,” we must then live as those who have died and had Christ come to life within us — Gal. 2:20; 5:24,25. Cf. Rom. 6:5–7.
  4. We must be willing to “partake of Christ’s sufferings” (1 Pt. 4:12,13). Cf. Phil. 3:10,11.


  1. Jesus Christ is the “Lamb who was slain” (Rev. 5:6–14). Cf. 13:8.
  2. If we are willing to die with Christ, “we shall also live with Him” (2 Tim. 2:11–13).
  3. But in order to be identified with Him, we must “go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach” (Hb. 13:11–13).
  4. Identifying ourselves with Jesus involves the doing of things that are not “easy” — but, of course, if Jesus had looked for an “easy” way to save us, we would still be lost.
  5. If we would be the disciples of the Lord, we will have to take up our cross and follow Him — Mt. 16:24–26. Cf. Mt. 10:38,39; Mk. 10:21.
  6. He died for us that we might live for Him — 2 Cor. 5:14,15.

Gary Henry — +

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