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OBEDIENT UNTO DEATH - Easter Lesson 2023 - by Paul M Hanssen



Seven Pillars Church of Praise, Int’l

We are quickly approaching Resurrection Sunday, a day in which we particularly focus on the greatest miracle of all time; the resurrection of Jesus and the ultimate victory over sin, death, and the grave that His crucifixion and resurrection accomplished!

Since resurrection morning over 2000 years ago, this story has been told over and over again, and yet it is never old, always fresh, and still full of power.

There were multitudes of people crucified during the months and days prior to Jesus’ crucifixion. Also, others were crucified the same day that He was crucified. We have been given the example in the Bible of the thieves and malefactors who were crucified with Jesus. Many others were also crucified during the days, months, and years following His crucifixion. Yet, none of the multitude of people who were crucified rose from the dead after three days; none of them could have done for me what the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus did for me! So, what is the difference between the crucifixion of Jesus and the crucifixion of all of the others that the Romans brutally placed on a cross?

Crucifixion was a common form of Roman torture and punishment. The practice became especially popular in the Roman-occupied Holy Land. In 4 B.C., the Roman General, Varus, crucified over 2,000 Jews. Mass crucifixions continued during the first century A.D., according to the Roman-Jewish historian Josephus. It is also recorded that as many as 500 were, at times, crucified within a 24 hour period. In other words, we understand from historical documents that crucifixion was common, very common.

Back to the question at hand, “What was the difference between the crucifixion of Jesus and the thousands of others who were also crucified?” The “act” of crucifixion, itself, did not purchase my redemption. If it were the act of becoming a martyr crucified on a cross that secured our salvation, then any one of the thousands who were crucified would have been able to secure our redemption. Salvation for mankind was not provided merely because blood was spilled. Obviously, everyone who was crucified also spilled their blood. Rather, the crucifixion and the redeeming power that was released at the cross was due to “who” was crucified, “the obedient One”! The price for man’s sin was paid on the cross because of the “kind of blood” that Jesus carried in His veins, namely surrendered, obedient, spotless, sinless, blood. If anyone else throughout all of history had attempted to give their life’s blood on a cross for the sake of man’s redemption, it would have accomplished nothing; the sacrifice would never have been accepted by God as an offering. First of all, God never required this of anyone, and secondly there was only one that the Father could ask to fulfill His redemptive purpose.

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:18-19).

The difference between ‘the thousands’ who were crucified and ‘the One’ whom was crucified, the One who made the difference for all of mankind, is the fact that all of the others were sinners. But He, the One, Jesus, the Lamb of God, had no blemish and no stain of sin.

Under the prophetic type and shadow of the crucifixion, God’s Law required that a lamb be offered, but not just any lamb. It was a must that the chosen lamb may not have “blemishes”. It was also to be a lamb that had not yet reached one year in age (a pure lamb that had never mated).

Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats (Exodus 12:5).

The word blemish means: entire (figuratively or morally), integrity, truth, complete, full, perfect, sincerely, sound, without spot, undefiled, upright, and whole.Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God, asked His accusers, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” (John 8:46). Paul wrote to the Hebrews concerning the High Priest, Jesus, stating “He was separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26). He also wrote, “But was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Paul also wrote to the Corinthian Church, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus was pure, sinless, and spotless. He had no blemish!

Jesus was unlike all others in the fact that He had no sin, knew no sin, and never did sin. Hence, the blood flowing in His veins was unlike any human blood on Earth. His blood was like the blood that flowed within the veins of “spotless” Adam, the son of God, before his fall (Luke 3:38). Jesus was called the “second, or last, Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45). Where Adam the First failed, Adam the Second succeeded! God the Father gave the first Adam a command; a command that he did not fulfill. The Father gave the second Adam a command; a command that He did fulfill. Because Jesus fulfilled and obeyed what He was commanded of the Father, He was able to pay the penalty for the first Adam’s disobedience.

Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father (John 10:17-18).

But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence (John 14:31).

The lamb that God required for the blood sacrifice was to have no blemishes. Also, the lamb was to be placed within “a fence” for four days before it was to be slain as the sacrifice for sin.

And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month (Exodus 12:6).

The meaning of this verse is that the lamb was placed within confines where it was watched, scrutinized, observed, guarded, and safeguarded. The nature of the lamb was to be observed! Not just any lamb could fulfill the role of the prophetic picture of the Lamb of God. There were a multitude of lambs among the flock. But only a lamb that had been “fenced in” and “kept”, or observed for four days without displaying any signs of blemish could fulfill God’s purpose.

The Lamb of God, the Eternal Christ, came to this earth and was “confined” to a human body. The Living Word of God became flesh and dwelt among men (John 1:14). Christ Jesus was confined within a human body. He was not omnipresent. He could only be in one place at one time. He hungered, He became weary, He needed sleep, food, clothing, and shelter just like any other human being. The Eternal Word of God was confined within a body made of flesh.

Adam the first was also confined and placed inside the Garden Paradise, a fenced garden. He was positioned therein and was given a command. Mankind failed God when they disobeyed the command given to them. Adam Female faced a threefold temptation within the walls of Eden’s Garden. She, along with Adam, succumbed to all three temptations.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat (Genesis 3:6).

The temptations that the serpent placed before mankind in the garden were exactly the same temptations that Jesus faced in the wilderness whilst He was within the confinement of a human body.

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil (Matthew 4:1).

In your Bible, please read verses 1 - 10 in Matthew chapter 4. As already mentioned, just as mankind was tempted in the garden, Jesus also faced a threefold temptation. The temptation in the Garden of Eden and Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness are the same temptations placed before all of mankind, before you and I, namely the temptations of the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (1 John 2:15-16).

Jesus’ 1st Temptation – Lust of the Flesh

· After fasting 40 days Satan tempted Jesus to turn the stones into bread – (feed your flesh)

· The Temptation of the World – Lust of the flesh

· The Temptation in the Garden of Eden - Eve saw the tree was good for food

Jesus’ 2nd Temptation – Pride of Life

· Satan tempted Jesus to cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple and prove who He was

· The World - Pride of life

· The Temptation in the Garden of Eden – Eve saw it was a tree to make one wise

Jesus’ 3rd Temptation – Lust of the Eyes

· Satan shewed Him the nations of the earth – Jesus was promised the glory of everything He saw if He would bow to Satan and his will

· The World - Lust of the eyes

· The Temptation in the Garden of Eden - Tree was pleasant to the eyes

(Jesus’ temptation Matthew 4:1-10, The world 1 John 2:15-16, The garden temptation Genesis 3:6)

Jesus did not succumb to one temptation. He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:5). In “His confinement”, within the fence in which the Father had placed Him, He was proven to have no blemish. He obeyed the commandment of His Father, whereas Adam disobeyed. If Jesus would have been crucified after having succumbed to temptation, His crucifixion would have accomplished nothing. His blood would have been blemished and tainted with sin. However, where Adam failed, Jesus succeeded!

Back to the point of this lesson. It was not the crucifixion, itself, that purchased my redemption. Rather, it was who was crucified – the spotless, untainted, without blemish, obedient Lamb of God.

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8).

In John 10:17 and 18 we read, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life;… This commandment have I received of my Father.” Within the confines of a human body that felt pain and suffering, the Father commanded His Son to reverse the curse of man’s disobedience by yielding in obedience to His command to give His life. Jesus was “obedient unto death”, even the death of the cross. The cross was the vehicle, the means, and the tool by which Jesus became obedient unto death. But the power released from the cross was not from the cross or the crucifixion itself. Rather, the power that purchased our redemption was realized because the second Adam obeyed the command of His Father. The effect of sin that resonated throughout all of mankind because of one man’s disobedience was overcome and conquered by the obedience of the Son of God.

For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous (Romans 5:19).

The obedience of the Lamb of God made the difference. His obedience squashed the power of sin that all of mankind inherited through the disobedience of Adam. Yes, many were crucified around the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. However, only one crucifixion made the difference for all of mankind. Only one crucifixion was endured based upon obedience. All of the other thousands who were crucified suffered the excruciating death due to sin, due to disobedience.

The moral of this story is the fact that it is not the sacrifice itself that matters – no, it is the obedience to the voice, command, and purpose of the Eternal Father!

And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams (1 Samuel 15:22).

The Eternal Father delights in obedience before the sacrifice itself. Many have attempted to “hang on a cross”, as it were, so as to live and display a crucified life. However, their self-made sacrifice did not produce the power, life, and glory that they anticipated. Therefore, they quit, gave up, threw it all away, ran away, and further deny the power of living a sacrificial life. Many also choose to live a life of “religious sacrifices” that God never required of them. Sacrifices based upon a religious format or duty. This creates spiritual death and barrenness. However, sacrificial living in obedience to God’s will and the fulfillment of His purpose brings power, resurrection, and glory into the life of the believer. The question we must ask ourselves is this, “Am I giving my sacrificial offering in obedient surrender to God, or is my sacrifice, crucifixion, and offering based on self?” The power is not in the sacrifice, it is in the obedience!

The difference between “His cross”, the cross of the Lamb of God, and all of the other crosses is obedience. Who was on the cross that paid for my redemption? It was not the thousands of others who were also crucified. It was only one – the obedient, spotless, unblemished, Lamb of God. In His confinement, the Lamb was proven to have no blemishes. He displayed no rebellion or opposition. He was led to the slaughter like a lamb without saying a word and without opening His mouth in complaint and resistance. (Isaiah 53:7) This is the power of the cross of Calvary! OBEDIENT SURRENDER!

-Paul M Hanssen

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