Peter Meadows answers your questions about God
You are so right. No one could ever say Jesus was anything other than 'good'. And that has to be the greatest understatement of all time.
So how come He died strung up like a common criminal? The answer – amazing as it must sound – is that this was God's plan from the start.
The significance of Jesus' death is ultimately wrapped up in who He was and what He came to do. You see Jesus didn't stumble onto the stage of history. The script had already been written – with Him as the central character.
Jesus was to be the kingpin of God's rescue plan. The one who would deliver us all from the mess we've created.
The Jewish scriptures had been promising such a deliverer for hundreds of years. They made clear statements – prophecies – recorded centuries before Jesus was ever born. This included specific details about the one who would come as the deliverer, such as –
He would be born in Bethlehem and of a virgin
He would be betrayed by a friend and sold for thirty pieces of silver
He would be struck and spat on
While his hands and feet would be pierced – and so would his side
The soldiers would throw dice for his clothes but would not break even a bone of his body
He would be buried in a rich man's grave - and would rise again from the dead
Imagine the odds for any one person living a life that matched even a few of these prophecies. Yet Jesus fulfilled them all. Without doubt He was THE one.
And God took all that trouble because of what the death of Jesus was designed to accomplish. He was to die as a sacrifice to pay the debt all of us owe to God for failing to live His way.
The picture comes clear when you take account of what happened at the time Jesus died. The record shows that at midday the sky went black – as black as midnight.
Again this had been foretold. Over 800 years before a Jewish prophet, Amos, wrote, "'In that day,' declares the Sovereign LORD, 'I will make the sun go down at noon and make the earth dark in broad daylight.'"
That darkness points to the magnitude of what was taking place. It was a picture of the way Jesus suffered due to our sin. As Jesus became the curse of the world He drowned in our sin on a midnight afternoon.
And all for us. To make our forgiveness possible and so we can be clean to enter into God's holy presence. But, of course, that calls for a response from us – that we hand our lives over to God.•