- Text: 1 Pt. 3:18.
- 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.
- The cross is the death of death by the death of Christ.
I. Christ Came into the World to Die
- The prophets had spoken of the death of the Messiah - Psa. 22:1-31; Isa. 52:13-53:12. Cf. Ac. 8:30-35.
- When Jesus was born, Mary was told that "a sword will pierce through your own soul" (Lk. 2:34,35).
- It was intended by God that the author of our salvation would be made "perfect through sufferings" (Hb. 2:10).
- 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.
- He even spoke of the manner in which He would die - Jn. 12:32,33. Cf. 3:14; 8:28.
- Whatever glories were to follow, Jesus knew they lay on the other side of the cross - Hb. 12:2.
- When the moment of His death finally came, Jesus could say, "It is finished" (Jn. 19:30).
II. By His Death, Christ Defeated Death
- Death is the weapon of the devil - Ezek. 18:4,20; Rom. 6:23. Cf. Rom. 7:9-11; 1 Cor. 15:56.
- By dying and being resurrected, Jesus conquered the power of death - Gen. 3:15; 1 Cor. 15:54-57; 2 Tim. 1:10.
- Consider Col. 2:14,15.
- What was lost in Adam can be regained in Christ - Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:20-23.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In addition to the physical torture of it, there was no more shameful and demeaning death than crucifixion.
- Roman citizens were exempt -- it was normally reserved for enemies, slaves, and criminals.
- Jesus gave His life as a "ransom" for us - Mt. 20:28.
- Such an act is obviously a token of the highest love - Jn. 15:13; 1 Jn. 3:16. Cf. Eph. 5:25.
- 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
- Christ commanded that we be baptized in order to be saved - Mk. 16:16.
- To be baptized into Christ is to be baptized into His death - Rom. 6:2-4; Col. 2:12.
- 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.
- We must be willing to "partake of Christ's sufferings" (1 Pt. 4:12,13). Cf. Phil. 3:10,11.
- Jesus Christ is the "Lamb who was slain" (Rev. 5:6-14). Cf. 13:8.
- If we are willing to die with Christ, "we shall also live with Him" (2 Tim. 2:11-13).
- But in order to be identified with Him, we must "go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach" (Hb. 13:11-13).
- 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.
- 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.
- He died for us that we might live for Him - 2 Cor. 5:14,15.
Gary Henry - WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com