How would you answer the question, “What has been the most significant
event in the history of mankind?’ Would it be a huge natural disaster?
The Magna Carta? The Enlightenment? The harnessing of electricity? The
electronic revolution? The splitting of the atom?
It would be hard to put down one event that affects the whole human race. But
it can be done. Nothing has significance as large as the crucifixion of Jesus
Why is it so?
Mel Gibson tried to convey
something of the significance of the cross in the stunning presentation The
Passion of the Christ.
The physical sufferings of Jesus were graphically and powerfully portrayed.
People all over the world were impacted by that film.
But the whole story was nowhere near being told. Christ was the God-man. His
life and His own claims cannot be explained any other way. His capacity to
suffer was infinitely greater than a mere man’s.
A man is more than physical. He is mind and spirit. The suffering of Jesus in
mind and spirit, prior to, and during the hours spent hanging on the cross, is
too deep, too beyond us to comprehend.
He felt abandoned by His Father. He was identified with human sin.
An immeasurable weight of penalty for sin was
being laid on Him, just as if He were the most guilty offender of all time.
More than that, the accumulation of human guilt was attributed to Him.
The reason this is the most
significant event in history is that He died for the sins of the world. The
word ‘substitution’ in a way summarizes what happened. He took
your place and mine, accepting the guilt, though He was the only innocent man
ever to live on earth.
Anyone reading the Bible with an open mind would have to see this message
right through its pages. The Old Testament, completed four centuries before
the birth of Christ, predicted this sacrificial death. Animal substitutes
prefigured the human substitute. The coming Messiah would be a ‘man of
sorrows’. “All of us like sheep have gone astray, but the Lord
laid on Him the sin of us all” — so said Isaiah 750 years BC.
Jesus Himself declared that He had not “come into the world to condemn
the world, but to save the world through Him” (see
John chapter 3, verse 17).
The open way
The death and resurrection
of Jesus opened the way for any and all to find forgiveness and everlasting
life. Hear His words:
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes on Him who
sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from
death to life.”
We cannot add anything to the value of Christ’s death. The two things
which the Bible asks of us are repentance and faith. These are one thing in a
sense, because they are inseparable. Turning away from self and sin to the
risen Saviour, trusting Him for full salvation.
“In the past God overlooked [our disobedience of Him], but now He
commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will
judge the world with justice by the man (Jesus) He has appointed. He has given
proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead”
(Acts 17, verses 30-31).
May this Easter be the time for many to come to this point and receive what He
died to gain.