Mark 12:41- 44

And Jesus, having sat down opposite the treasury, saw how the crowd was casting money into the treasury; and many rich cast in much. And a poor widow came and cast in two mites, which is a farthing. And having called his disciples to him he said to them, Verily I say unto you, This  poor widow has cast in more than all who have cast into the treasury: for all have cast in of that which they had in abundance, but she of her destitution has cast in all that she had, the whole of her living.

Before I talk to you about those verses, I want you to look further up the page: you see in verse 35, towards the end of the verse, Jesus asks a question. He says, “How do the scribes say that the Christ is son of David? for David himself said speaking in the Holy Spirit, the Lord said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand until I put thine enemies as footstool of thy feet. David himself therefore calls him Lord, and whence is he his son?” A good question.

Look across to verse 16. We find another question. Jesus asks them, “Whose is this image and superscription?” A good question.

Turn back another page, to Mark 11, and look at verse 29, “And Jesus answering said to them, I also will ask you one thing, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things: The baptism of John, was it of heaven, or of men? answer me.”

As you go through Mark’s gospel – it is probably the same in the other Gospels, I was noticing it in Mark – Jesus is continually asking questions. In Mark 8 Jesus asks His disciples, “Who do men say that I am? And they answered him, saying, John the baptist; and others, Elias; but others, One of the prophets. And he asked them, But ye, who do ye say that I am? And Peter answering says to him, Thou art the Christ.” You see, this is the Teacher, Jesus. It is worth looking at His methods of teaching and one of the methods He uses is to continually ask questions. And when He asks a question He is asking people to think.

This is Paul writing to the Philippians. Paul says, “for the rest brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are noble, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are amiable, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if any praise, think on these things.”

My point, just to start with, is a simple thing because I have found this really helpful. Jesus asks questions and He encourages us to think. You see, what Paul says next to the Philippians is; Think on these things and you will learn and you will receive and you will do. You will see why I am saying this in a second, but I have found this really helpful and I am just passing it on. I find it helpful to think of something that interests me, a question from the Bible.

In the past I have thought about questions like this. Why does God say he chose us from before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1 v 4)? Or, Why was Jesus crucified – why did He not die some other way? Or, Why does God love me? I find it helpful to ask a question like that to the Lord and to ask Him to show me by the Holy Spirit what the answers are. And then I find that as I read my Bible every day or as I listen to other Christians talk about Scriptures – in Bible readings or elsewhere, or as I listen to someone preach or teach, or as I read books about the teachings of Scripture, I find, over time, the Spirit answers my question. I encourage you to do the same.

I am saying that because I have a question for you to look at tonight. Both Mark and Luke seem to place this little story about the widow and the Treasury in the last week of Jesus’ life, probably on the Tuesday if He died on the Friday. On that day Mark says He was sitting in the temple in Jerusalem opposite the Treasury. That is sometimes called the women’s court. If you look at a plan of Herod’s magnificent temple, there is an outer court into which the women can come. They could not go any further.

The Bible does not tell us this but history tells us that around that court there were 13 wooden boxes and above each box was a sort of funnel made of bronze. When people came into the Treasury with their offering, with the money they were going to give, they put it into the funnel and it dropped down into the box.

You can imagine on this day when Jesus was sitting there the clatter of the coins as the rich people cast their money into the box, into the Treasury. And then a tiny, insignificant noise as this poor widow came in and she dropped in her two tiny copper coins. Jesus sat there watching and He draws the disciples’ attention to this woman. He says, Look, and He does something which He frequently does in the Gospels, He turns human wisdom on its head. He says to them, effectively, Who has cast in the most? This woman, this poor widow, with her two tiny little coins – Jesus says she has cast in more than all. More than all! But she had not, had she? She had put in two tiny coins and they had put in large amounts of money. Jesus says, Look, this is heaven’s view – she has cast in more than all. He says, she has cast in all that she had, the whole of her living. What was He teaching them? He was teaching them about sacrifice. It is a lesson for the ages. You see it instinctively – He is right, she cast in more than all.

I want you to think tonight about a question that has been going round in my head for the last few weeks – Why did Jesus have to be our sacrifice? Why did it have to be Him?

I will share a few thoughts that have come to me. This is not intended to be a comprehensive answer to my question: I am hoping that you will come up with other answers. I have asked the Holy Spirit to help us in how we think about it.

I do not mean, what was the sacrifice for? You are all believers, you know what it was for. But, why did it have to be Him? Why could it not be something else or someone else. Why did it have to be Jesus? That is what I want you to think about tonight.

I sometimes find a helpful place to start is to look in the Bible and see what was prophesied and what has been promised. Why was the sacrifice Jesus and not something or someone else? Well, if you look in the Old Testament you will find that is because God promised it would be Jesus and He delivers on His promises.

Look at Isaiah chapter 61 and verse one. “The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me, because Jehovah hath anointed me to announce glad tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of Jehovah”. Now, we know those verses speak about Jesus. We know that for certain because Jesus stood up in the synagogue at Nazareth and He read those verses and He said, “To-day, this Scripture is fulfilled in your ears”. He said, effectively, Today this Scripture has come true. It was about Him.

Hundreds of years before He came, Jehovah gave Isaiah the words to write that someone would be sent to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to open the prison to them that are bound. We know now that He was talking mainly about the cross. Those bound by sin, those held captive by sin, would be freed by the sacrifice that Jesus made at the cross. That is what this prophecy is about.

It does not mention His name but you know that it talks about Jesus because Jesus claimed those verses for Himself. So, once it is written down, once Isaiah has prophesied God’s words, it is a commitment and God had to fulfil it.

There are many, many scriptures like this. Go back to Isaiah 53. The end of Isaiah 53 says this in verse 12, “Therefore will I assign him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong: because he hath poured out his soul unto death and was reckoned with the transgressors; and he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors”.

Now if you ask somebody who is a Jew today, who is not a Christian and does not believe in Jesus, they will say we do not know who that verse is about. But you know, you are a believer, you have trusted Christ, you have the Holy Spirit in you. When you read those verses you instinctively and clearly see they speak about Jesus. He poured out His soul unto death, He bore the sin of many. It is talking about the sacrifice of Jesus and yet it does not mention His name.

You will find this throughout the Old Testament. It does not mention the name of Jesus and yet it is clearly Him. My point is this. God gave Isaiah these words and God, when He gave Isaiah these words, knew and intended that they should speak about Jesus. And having said it and given the message it was a commitment that Jesus would be the sacrifice. Can you see that?

God has said this will happen and He meant that it would happen through Jesus. He could not then deliver it some other way. The sacrifice had to be Jesus.

You can go right back to the beginning of the Bible, right back to Genesis 3 and you can look at those well-known verses where Jehovah said to Satan,  “he shall crush thy head, and thou shalt crush his heel”. The name of Jesus is not mentioned but right back there at the beginning of the Bible, just immediately after the fall of Adam, there is a promise from Jehovah that Jesus will do something.

You see, Jesus’ name is not written there but God knew that He was talking about Jesus and He would never go back on what He had promised. Jesus would crush his head – Satan’s head – at the cross – and Satan would crush His heel.  You can fast-forward and find commitments that the sacrifice would be Jesus in the New Testament.

There was one night when Jesus sat round the table with His disciples.  He took a loaf of bread (this is Luke 22), and He gave thanks and He broke it and He gave it to them. He looked at them and He said, “This is my body which is given for you”. And then He took a cup of wine and He gave it to them and He said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you”.

He must have looked at 11 or 12 or maybe more, uncomprehending faces not understanding what He was saying. But later they would understand that on that night He had told them He was giving His body for them and He was going to give His blood for them. He made that promise face to face with them. He could never go back on it. The commitment was made before the sacrifice was made. Can you see that?

So, part of the answer to the question, Why was Jesus the sacrifice? Why was it not something else? is because God committed to it. From the beginning of the Bible, from the time of Adam right through to the night before Jesus died God promised and promised and promised that it would be Jesus. Just think about this for a second. All those millions of animals that were sacrificed – Moses was given to understand that some of those sacrifices were sin offerings. And yet we know now that none of those goats, none of those sheep, could take away sin. It was not enough of a sacrifice. It was not the right sacrifice. It would not take away sin. And yet God told the children of Israel to make those sacrifices and He would forgive their sin. Every time they made one of those sacrifices, every time an Israelite made it from his heart genuinely, God would forgive him his sin.

But God knew then that those sins could only be taken away through Jesus’ sacrifice and His death. Can you see that every time He accepted a sacrifice from an Israelite He was committing that Jesus would die? Can you see that? Because when you see it cumulatively the Old Testament becomes an enormous volume of millions of commitments from God that one day it would be Jesus who came and Jesus who died. Nobody understood it except Jehovah at the time but Jehovah understood and He was not going to go back on His commitments, not ever. There could be no going back.

Another way to look at this: Why was Jesus the sacrifice and not someone else? Or not something else? Well, think about what the alternatives might be. So that woman came into the Treasury and she put two tiny coins into the Treasury. It was a sacrifice, Jesus highlighted it. Just two tiny copper coins, they were just bits of metal. The rich men put in lots of bits of metal. If you took all the bits of metal in the world, they would not be enough of a sacrifice to remove any sin.

If you took all the gold and all the silver and all the precious stones in the world, everything that was valuable in the whole world and offered it as a sacrifice it would not remove any sin. Peter tells us, we are not redeemed by corruptible things such as silver and gold (1 Peter 1:18). Somehow it is corruptible, it is not a suitable sacrifice for many reasons.

But one of the reasons is that right back there at the beginning, when Adam sinned and when he was cast out of the garden of Eden, death came on Adam and the human race but the ground was cursed. Do you see that? The ground was cursed (Gen 3:17). There is a kind of stain of mankind’s sin on the whole of creation. It means that nothing in creation naturally is something that you can offer to remove a sin.

What about animals, if metal is no good? Surely you could offer animals to remove sin instead of Jesus? But we know now from the New Testament that the blood of bulls and goats and the blood of sheep and lambs cannot remove any sin (Hebrews 14:4). When Adam sinned, death came on mankind, but death also came to the rest of creation and the animals started to die, too, as a result of Adam’s sin.

It is all contaminated by sin – can you see that? – the whole of creation!

So why could not some other man be offered instead of Jesus, instead of that precious, precious Son of God? Why could not somebody else suffer? Well, the simple answer is that we are all contaminated by sin.

He died for our sin. He was the sacrifice to make us clean. We cannot offer ourselves. There is no man or woman or child who could be offered because we are all contaminated by sin.

Well, you might say, there are things that are not contaminated by sin.

There are angels. A large number of angels fell when Satan sinned. But God has more than 12 legions of angels. And when you get to Revelation it seems He has far more than that. Extraordinary numbers of angels at His command, beings that have never sinned, not contaminated by what Adam did. So why did God not send one of them?

Well, there is something in common between metals and the stuff in the ground and animals and men and women and angels: we are all created and I think that makes a difference. I will explain in a minute. But no angel, either, would have been strong enough. No angel could have undertaken what God asked Jesus to do; it just was not possible.

I know someone who is thinking of starting pottery. What will be the most valuable thing in his potter’s workshop? Will it be the object that he has made, or the equipment that he has used, or the potter himself? The answer is instinctively obvious. You can put a value on an item produced; you can put a value of the equipment that is used, it has a market value. But you cannot easily put a value on a man. You cannot take an emotional, intelligent, rational human being and put a value on him. You cannot, can you? You instinctively know that.

The one who creates the pottery is infinitely more valuable than the pottery he creates. Jeremiah tells us a story about this. Jeremiah says in, chapter 18, “The word that came to Jeremiah from Jehovah, saying, Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. And I went down to the potter’s house; and behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made was marred, as clay, in the hand of the potter; and he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, House of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith Jehovah. Behold, as the clay in the potter’s hand, so are ye in my hand, house of Israel”.

And then Jehovah talks to Jeremiah about the way He can pick up nations and remould them and put them down, change the affairs of the world. And Israel, even Israel, is as nothing in the hands of the potter. And there is another underlying message that He has given Jeremiah which is that there is an infinite difference between the Potter and the thing that He makes.

Isaiah has some similar words (in chapter 29 verse:16). He talks about esteeming the potter and the thing that he makes as having very different values. Can you see that? It is so simple in the way God explains it.

When you come to the New Testament you find Peter preaching in Acts. And there is an echo of the message to Jeremiah in what Peter preaches. When Peter preaches his first preaching in Acts 2, the very first preaching in the New Testament after Jesus’ resurrection and Pentecost, he says this, in chapter 2 and verse 21 “And it shall be that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus the Nazaræan, a man borne witness to by God to you by works of power and wonders and signs, which God wrought by him in your midst, as yourselves know – him, given up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye, by the hand of lawless men, have crucified and slain”. Jesus the Nazaræan, a man borne witness to by God.  That is his first preaching.

But you turn the page to Acts 3, and this is his second preaching, and he says something I would not dare say if it was not in Scripture. He says, “But ye denied the holy and righteous one, and asked that a man that was a murderer should be granted to you; but the originator of life ye slew”. And there is a note at the bottom of the page in my Bible, it reads, ‘This word ‘originator’ is difficult to render in English. It is a ‘leader,’ but it is more. It is used for one who begins and sets a matter on’. Peter said to them the One who began and set on life you have killed.

Why did the sacrifice have to be Jesus? There is an infinite difference in the value of the originator of life compared with something He has given life to. Can you see that? Metals, minerals, animals, men, angels; none of them, none of them even begin to compare in value with the one who gave them life.

“The originator of life ye slew”. The value of this sacrifice was immense.

One day God will take the whole creation and burn it up and destroy it. It is no good as a sacrifice. But this, this is different. “The originator of life ye slew”. Jesus was the sacrifice. It had to be Him. He has a value beyond anything else you can think of.

Now listen to Nathan the prophet in 2 Samuel 12. Whoever wrote this tells the story of when King David had sinned. Most of you know what the sin was but at the time nobody really knew. David thought he had hidden his sin away and he was getting on with life.

And then one day into David’s court came the prophet Nathan sent by Jehovah, the Scripture tells you that. Nathan told him a story about two men who lived in a city together. He said one was very rich and he had very many flocks and herds. But the other one was a poor man who had nothing at all except he had one little ewe lamb which – I am reading it to you – “which he had bought, and was nourishing; and it grew up with him, and together with his children: it ate of his morsel, and drank of his own cup, and slept in his bosom, and was to him as a daughter”, this little lamb.

And the rich man had a visitor, Nathan says, and to feed his visitor the rich man sent and took the poor man’s lamb, ignored everything that he owned himself, ignored his vast herds; he went and took the poor man’s lamb. He had it killed and fed it to the visitor. Nathan paused and David was angry. He said this man deserves to die (v.5). And he said a few other things in his anger.

And then Nathan said something which is chilling: he said, ‘You are the man’. I find it chilling because in my life there are sins that nobody knows. They are forgiven now because Jesus knows but I would not want you to know. And this experience is true for all of us – we all have sins in our lives, secret things we would not want anyone to know.

But David is selected from amongst all of us and exposed – You are the man. Generations of people have read this Scripture in every country in the world: you are the man, David, and your sin is totally exposed. It is chilling.

And out of that, because David repented, came a beautiful Psalm but also judgment for his family. It is a well-known story but there is another storyline in what Nathan said, can you see it?

Why did it have to be Jesus who was our sacrifice, why could it not be someone else? He is the God of the universe, Jehovah, everything is at His command. He has immense, vast resources, far greater than the rich man in this story. How could He reach out and take someone else’s son to be the sacrifice for sin?

How could he take your son? Can you see it? David’s reaction is right. What this rich man did in the story is terribly wrong. God does not behave like this rich man. But, nevertheless, He cannot come and take someone else’s son to be His sacrifice. He cannot do it; it would just be terribly wrong.

Do you see the language here? 2 Samuel 12 says in verse four “and there came a traveller to the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock”. He did not take of his own flock. Can you hear the echo of that in what Paul says in Romans, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who against us? He who, yea, has not spared his own Son, but delivered him up for us all”. Can you hear the echo of that story in what Luke wrote in Acts 20, “shepherd the assembly of God, which he has purchased with the blood of his own”.

This man did not take of his own herd, he took someone else’s. God could not do that. When it came to the sacrifice that God was making, He had to give of His own. It is why, I think, it is not an angel or an animal or any other man. He gave of His own.

There is a question that you may not have come across, but I want to talk about it because it is real enough. Some people wonder about the resurrection of Jesus. You see, a sacrifice – think back to that woman in the temple –a sacrifice is when somebody gives something, they do not hold onto it, they give something that they value, and they give it to someone else. In that instance in the temple while Jesus was watching she gave her last two coins. They could not be more valuable to her but she gave them to the temple; she was giving them to God.

Well, if she knew she was getting them back three days later does that devalue the sacrifice? Or, put it more bluntly, some people wonder – does the fact that God knew that Jesus would be raised on the third day, does that devalue the giving? Because He would be back?

If you want the answer to that, I found it when I looked in Genesis 22. It is the story of Abraham and Isaac. Again, it is a chilling story. It starts with God testing Abraham. He said to him, take your son, your only son whom you love, Isaac. Take him to the Mount Moriah and there offer him up for a burnt offering on the mountain which I shall tell thee of.

Now, Mount Moriah is somewhere near Jerusalem, or it might be Jerusalem, nobody is entirely sure. But Abraham was asked to take his son Isaac, the son that Scripture tells you that he loved, and to travel for three days with him and then go up onto this mountain that God had identified and to sacrifice him there.

“And Abraham built the altar there, and piled the wood; and he bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son”. I am not sure, apart from the cross, whether there is anything greater that God has asked a man to do in the Bible. He did not ask Abraham to give his own life: that would, in a way, have been easier. Instead He asked him to sacrifice his own son and to do it himself. To bind him himself, to take the knife himself. And if he had carried on, then to burn his son as a burnt offering. It is horrific.

The New Testament tells you that, “By faith Abraham, when tried, offered up Isaac, and he who had received to himself the promises, offered up his only begotten son, as to whom it had been said, In Isaac shall thy seed be called: counting that God was able to raise him even from among the dead”. The New Testament tells you that as Abraham travelled to that mountain, as he bound his son, as he took the knife and approached his altar to kill his son, he was counting on the fact that afterwards God would raise him from the dead.

Are you telling me that that meant it was less of a sacrifice for Abraham? To take the knife, for his son to be killed at his own hand. To do it himself. Was it less of a sacrifice because he believed God would raise him? It does not diminish the sacrifice one iota that Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day. Not one little bit.

I love it when someone comes and talks to us about Jesus, tells us from the scriptures what He was like, His life, His death, His words, His compassion.  I will just tell you this. There is Someone you can ask to talk to you like that tonight – you can open your Bible, wherever you are, and you can say to the Holy Spirit ‘Talk to me about Jesus’ and if you are genuine in your heart when you ask Him, He will. What you read on the page will come alive to you and sometimes it will move you to tears.

But all those things that move you to tears about Jesus, all those qualities that you more than admire, that you love, they are all things that answer the question, “Why did the sacrifice have to be Jesus?”

Because, you see, He was perfect. Whichever way you look at Him you are going to see someone that is perfect. And when God asked for a lamb without blemish from the Israelites, He was thinking about Jesus –  a Man without any blemish. He even went so far as to allow Satan to tempt Him. That in itself is an extraordinary thing, that God allowed Satan to do that to His Son. And Satan – I sometimes wonder if he knew what he was doing – He offered the One whose name is on the title deeds to the universe, he offered Him the kingdoms of the earth if He would worship Satan. Did he not know who he was talking to? And having completed every temptation he left Him for a while and left on the record for us the understanding that this Man was perfect.

But you can see for yourself that He needed to be perfect to be our sacrifice. Back there at the beginning of time when Adam and Eve sinned, it was a man sinning and ever since then every man and woman who has ever lived has perpetuated sin and continued to live with sin. You and me, we have all done it. The sacrifice of an animal or some object from the earth, it would not be enough.

You know where the Bible says in the Old Testament that the judgment should be an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Well, Jesus changed that. He said, Turn the other cheek (Matt 5:39). But if you go back and read where God put that down in the Old Testament it says, “eye for eye, tooth for tooth”, it also says, “life for life” (Deuteronomy 19:21). And a man sinned at the beginning and men, one by one, have sinned ever since. And then a Man took the responsibility for it all.

Can you see the rightness of that? A man for a man. A man has taken your place, a man has taken mine. A perfect, lovely, holy, sinless Man. It had to be a man. And when you think about the population that has lived on this earth since Adam at the beginning of time until now; there are 7 billion of us tonight and it is still growing fast. And if you were able to stack us all up from the worst, the most evil, to the very best of us you would have an enormous line of human beings: of men and women who have lived on the earth.

When you got to the top of the line and you looked at the very best you would then have an infinite gap until you get to the one at the top. You cannot measure the gap between Jesus and you and me. He is pure. He is perfect. He is without sin.

There is no sin in Him. He knew no sin. He did no sin (1 John 3:5; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22). He is the Man without blemish. He is the one God marked out to be the sacrifice. You see, it had to be Him. No one else could do it. No one else would do.

There is one more thing: Why did the sacrifice have to be Jesus? You can think of 100 other reasons – please do. But just this one more for tonight.

The sacrifice had to be Jesus because of the result that God wanted. Now, I could explain that in many different ways because there are many results from the death of Jesus. But think about this:

You have been to Jesus and asked Him to forgive you your sins. You know that He stepped into your place and was your substitute and actually bore your sins in His body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24). And in your heart you have an immense depth of gratitude to Him. You worship Him because of who He is and because of what He has done. There is an intimate bond between your soul and His now, that is there for ever. It would not be the same if He had offered something else as the sacrifice. The intimacy between you and Him is there because you know He offered Himself in your place.

Because the sacrifice is Jesus, the result is different to if the offering had been something else. I mean, in the words of Scripture – this is Paul to the Galatians – he says, “I live by faith, the faith of the Son of God, who has loved me and given himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). If he had said, ‘I live by faith, the faith of the Son of God, who has loved me, and gave one of His angels for me’, it is not the same at all, is it? That is not what he says.

There is an intimacy between Paul and Jesus. You can see it. The Son of God who has loved me – extraordinary thing – and given Himself for me. There is an intimacy because the sacrifice is Jesus. It had to be Jesus because of the result that God wanted.

There is a myriad of reasons why it had to be Jesus. It was never, ever going to be anyone else.

Come back to where we started. Jesus was sitting in the temple on that Tuesday in the court watching the rich cast into the Treasury one by one. And He watched this widow come in and He watched her cast her two tiny coins. He spoke to the disciples about it and said, Look, she has cast in more than the others. Quite clearly the two tiny coins were worth almost nothing at all. Not much use in the Treasury.

So, what was He doing? He was valuing the sacrifice that she was making. He was valuing the heart that offered the sacrifice. You can see it immediately He says it. I do not need to explain it to you.

Then, three days later He made a sacrifice of His own. Probably only a few hundred yards away from where He was sitting that day. On a cross. And this time the value of the sacrifice was not two tiny coins, not almost insignificant. This time the value of the sacrifice was immense, immeasurable. Beyond price, beyond value. Never can we value it. The exact opposite of what the widow actually put into the box. This one had value beyond anyone’s understanding.

God valued it. He also valued the heart that offered it because this time the offeror and the offering were the same. The same. Jesus was the offeror now and Jesus was the offering. Scripture is quite explicit about it. It does not want you to be in any misunderstanding. It says He gave His body; He says it Himself. It says that our sins were born in His body on that tree, that cross (1 Peter 2:24). It says, He gave His blood, it was poured out for you (Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20). It says, He gave His soul: Isaiah tells you, “When thou shalt make his soul (or ‘when his soul shall have made’) an offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10). And He gave His life, He gave it up Himself (John 19:30). “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Scripture says, to sum it all up, He gave Himself. (Galatians 1:4). Himself.

When He was raised, on the third day, on that Sunday, it did not detract, one iota, from the offering that He had made, from the sacrifice. It did the exact opposite: it confirmed the sacrifice. It is like a seal on the sacrifice.

When He died on the Friday He not only bore your sins He was also, as the Scripture says, made sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). But when He was raised on the Sunday, on that Lord’s Day morning, there was no trace of sin on Him at all. Not a trace. That resurrection is meant as evidence to you and to me that we can look at – and see that there is no sin on Him at all. The work is done. It is evidence that the sacrifice was complete.

He offered Himself once (Hebrews 7:27). Never again. The sacrifice is complete and accepted and God raised Him to show you that it was done. He is raised for your justification (Romans 4:25).

I want to read you a verse to finish in 1 Peter. Why did Jesus have to be the sacrifice? Why could God not have given something else, anything else. Why did it have to be His Son? 1 Peter 1:18. “knowing that ye have been redeemed, not by corruptible things, as silver or gold, from your vain conversation handed down from your fathers, but by precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, the blood of Christ”.

It could never, ever have been anything or anyone else. It had to be Jesus.

An address on Zoom by Tim Pons on 6 March 2021