This week at WNW we covered part 3 of the "Why?" series. We opened with a worship set that included "Hosanna (Praise is Rising)" (Paul Baloche), "Because of Your Love" (Phil Wikcham), and "Sweetly Broken" (Jeremy Riddle). During the set one of our students read Isaiah 53:1-6. At the welcome time we showed a video highlighting last week's Disciple Now weekend, which I will post later.
After a brief into and review of the previous week I introduced the question for the night. We know that during this Easter season we celebrate that Jesus died on the cross but we need to answer the question "Why did He have to die?" The simple answer to the question is that He died to save us from our sins. This answer then raises a question that must be answered first "Why do we need to be saved from our sins?" The answer to this question is in two parts
1) God is Holy - Leviticus 11:45; Habakkuk 1:13
-God is holy which means He is "set apart" from us. There is no one or nothing like God that has ever or will ever exist. He is perfect and pure
2) We are sinful (not holy) - Romans 3:10-12, 23
-We must understand and always remember that our sin is in rebellious opposition to God and makes us enemies of God. Our sin is a big deal!
So this brings a major dilemma- how can we, sinful and unholy humans be made right with a holy God? The only way is through atonement. Atonement is something done to make up for wrong deeds. In the Old Testament, atonement was made through animal sacrifices (Leviticus 4:35). However this had to be done continuously because it was only temporary and needed the ultimate sacrifice made for atonement on our behalf. We can praise God that Jesus became this ultimate sacrifice for us! So why did Jesus have to die? To provide atonement for our unholiness so we could have a right relationship with God. Jesus' atonement by dying on the cross involves the following four:
-Jesus died as a substitute for us who have actually committed sins. He never sin, yet died in our place. We deserved death but He took on death in our place.
-To redeem something is to pay for something. We use coupons and vouchers to redeems items. Jesus' death on the cross redeemed us by paying for our sins. We are supposed to die for payment of our sins, yet Jesus made this payment on our behalf.
-Propitiation means to ease or satisfy. Our holy God has righteous demands for sinful people to be able to be in a relationship with Him. We are to be made holy and pure. Jesus' death on the cross satisfied God's righteous demands, resulting in His being able to forgive our sins.
-To reconcile differences between two people means that their relationship has been made right. Jesus' death on the cross brings us into a right relationship with God.
So how do we know that Jesus' atonement on the cross is perfect and complete for us. He said so Himself in John 19:30 when He cried out "It is finished!" He said "It" and not "I" am finished. The Greek word "tetelestai or "teleo" here means a completed or perfect work. This word was stamped on receipts when a debt was paid in full. This meant that there is nothing else owed and that the debt has been completely paid. When Jesus cried out "It is finished" He was saying that the atonement was completely paid and that nothing else could be done to earn it. We closed by watching the video "It is Finished" by Matt Papa. I challenged the students to let the words "It is finished" to speak to them in a fresh way.