Bible Society of South Africa
Frank Retief

Remember his strength – Day 14

The King who came to die

Bible text(s)

Jesus Speaks about his Suffering and Death

21From that time on Jesus began to say plainly to his disciples, “I must go to Jerusalem and suffer much from the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law. I will be put to death, but three days later I will be raised to life.”

Matthew 16:21GNBOpen in Bible reader

Mark Twain once wrote, “A man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds”. History is, of course, full of stories of people who had great ideas, which at first were rejected, only to prove them right later and make them heroes.

Something of the “crank” idea must have entered the minds of the disciples when they heard Jesus talk about dying and rising again. Their minds were full of the new revelations that he had given them, that he was the “Christ” – of the Messiah of Israel.

The problem was with this idea of the Messiah. They thought entirely in earthly terms. The Messiah was a King, a soldier, sent by God, who was to overthrow all Israel’s enemies and establish Jerusalem as the centre of the world, once again. It was hard not to think in “soldier” categories or in military terms when it came to the Messiah, because, for the Jews, salvation was mainly a political salvation or vindication that they were indeed the people of God. Therefore, the idea of the Messiah dying was totally out of all their categories of thinking. It sounded absurd to them.

As we know, Jesus did indeed die on the cross in Jerusalem. Three days later, he rose from the dead. Slowly, it dawned on the disciples that Jesus did not come to do battle with the Romans but with Satan. He did not lay his life down for an earthly cause, but rather as an atonement for the sins of the world. He shed his blood, not only to set Israel free, but also to set free everyone who would believe in him and trust him for salvation.

Here is the Saviour we all need. Sinless and unblemished, he voluntarily goes to the cross and dies as our substitute.

With great confidence, we can come to him and as we do so, all our sins are forgiven, forever.

We must always remember why Jesus came into this world. It was to deal primarily with sin. If we forget this, then we run the risk of constantly feeling disappointed, that he cannot sort out our problems.

However, when we remember that he died and rose again, exactly as he said he would, we take heart knowing that each unexpected twist in the road, no matter how hard it may be, he has solved the greatest of all problems – the matter of our guilt and sin. Therefore, he will stand by us in all the lesser problems of life in this fallen world.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.8
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