28th April 2014

Obedient to Death, Even Death on a Cross 

“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!”
Philippians 2:8 (NIV)
 

More than two thousand years ago mankind nailed his maker to a cross. It seemed to the entire world that Jesus’ mission had failed; who was going to save us now? But although wicked men had put Jesus to death, this was done “by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge.” (Acts 2:23)  Jesus laid down his own life (John 10:11, 15) in complete agreement and obedience to the Father’s plan.  Although Jesus’ death looked like a defeat at the hands of the Jews, the Romans and ultimately Satan, it fully provided for the salvation of all mankind. 

As we think about the sacrifice of Christ and what his obedience to the Father’s will achieved, here are three things to reflect on. 

Jesus dispelled division
“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom…” (Matthew 27:51) This veil, this dividing wall of partition, hung between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. Only the High Priest once a year could walk past the veil into the Holy of Holies.  The veil symbolized that Mankind is sinful and separated from a Holy God. Yet, when the veil was rent in two, the barrier was removed, that ‘dividing wall of hostility’ (Ephesians 2:14) was removed and all can come into the Holy of Holies, into the presence of God, boldly and without fear (Hebrews 4:16).  

Jesus dispelled death
“…the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.” (Matthew 27:52)  While Jesus was dying on the cross, people got up out of their graves and walked into Jerusalem. Death had been defeated, its sting had been removed (1 Corinthians 15:54-57), it was no longer an enemy to be feared (Hebrews 2:14-15). We have victory over death because of Christ’s death and resurrection. 

Jesus dispelled doubt
“When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God!’” (Matthew 27:54)  This military leader no doubt had crucified scores of men over the years. Yet, when he saw the way this man died, coupled with all the miracles taking place, his doubts were removed and he made the great profession of faith that we are all called make, “Surely Jesus is the Son of God!”  Matthew’s gospel began with Gentiles (the Magi) acknowledging that Jesus is the King of the Jews and predicting his death with the gift of myrrh (Matthew 2).  He concludes his gospel with a Gentile (a Roman centurion) no longer doubting. 

All peoples are included in what Christ achieved on the cross, Jew and Gentile alike. Like the centurion let’s acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God and like the Magi let’s worship him for all that has resulted from his death. 

Prayer
Father, we thank you that Jesus was obedient to you and laid his life down for all humanity, providing an all-sufficient sacrifice for our eternal salvation.
Amen
 

Study by Barry Robinson

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barryrobinsonAbout the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder in and pastoral worker in the Greater London area, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Camberwell
The Salvation Army Hall
105 Lomond Grove
Camberwell
LONDON
SE5 7HN

Meeting time:
Saturday 11 am

Local Congregational Contact:
Barry Robinson
Email:  barry_robinson@wcg.org.uk

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