May 1

1 Peter 2:22-25

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” vs. 24

In recent years there are many who have become uncomfortable with the traditional atonement theories. In particular, they don’t like the notion that Jesus took our punishment upon himself by dying on the cross, that somehow his death was the payment required for all of our sins. In their minds such a teaching is primitive, unjust, and inhumane. Jesus died, they say, because the religious leaders in collusion with the Roman occupiers, considered him a threat to their power and control. They’re probably right in their protestations, but we cannot deny that the image of Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb of God has had a powerful impact on Christian worship and practice. It was so natural for people steeped in the laws of Leviticus to see Jesus as the once-for-all sacrifice for sin. His death on the cross was for them the perfect metaphor for grace and forgiveness. They didn’t worry about the mechanics of it, the kinds of things our modern minds are obsessed with, they simply revelled in the miraculous healing that had come to them through Jesus’ death. It may be that we’re ready for another way to look at Jesus’ death, but it’s doubtful we’ll ever find an image that is more powerful and fitting than that described by Peter. Simply put, our sins are forgiven, and it’s all a gift from Jesus!

Thought for the Day: What does “Lamb of God” talk do for me?

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