If you grew up with Bible stories, you know the challenge it is to read a familiar passage of Scripture with fresh eyes. When we come to a story like the Good Samaritan or Noah and the flood, our task, as Bible scholar Kenneth Bailey used to say, is to “rescue truth from the jaws of familiarity.”
So it is with the Easter story. Most everyone knows Jesus died on the cross. It is one of those facts essential to the story, like how we know the Titanic sank or that Lincoln was shot in a theater. But the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is drenched in details of remarkably significant insight which affect not only what we understand about the story, but also about Jesus Himself.
How clear are you on the foundational story of Jesus’ death and resurrection? If you are a Christian, your confession is that Jesus died in your place and paid for your sins with His death. But why was He crucified? Was He a martyr? How secure did He make your salvation?
Prior to His arrest, Jesus said, “No one takes [My life] from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again” (John 10:18). This was not simply a passing statement. It was a promise that Jesus was going to the cross on purpose.
During this last week of Lent, as we make our way through the final chapters of Isaiah, our supplemental readings will trace, in real time, the path Jesus walked that last week of His earthly ministry. On Monday, we will read what happened on the Monday before the Resurrection, on Tuesday we will read what happened on Tuesday of that week, and so on.
Our hope as we read these Scriptures is that we would know Christ better through the careful study of His Word, and that we would understand that His death and resurrection were purposefully endured for our salvation. His victory over death frees us to serve Him with vigor in this life, secure in the salvation He has accomplished.
As you read, see how He laid His life down. He did this for you.
Written by Russ Ramsey