What makes Jesus’ sacrifice of dying on the cross so great? So perfect? So excellent in nature?
It’s not just that He was “a good person.” It’s not just that He performed amazing miracles during His lifetime. It’s not just that He had done nothing wrong and was undeserving of such a cruel death. Yes, it’s all of these things but it’s also so much more.
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! | John 1:29
Why did John the Baptist exclaim these words with such excitement? What exactly makes Jesus’ death so special?
The N a t u r e of the Victim
Jesus is the perfect Lamb of God. None other existed in His state of perfection before Him, none other would exist as such after Him. The Bible tells us that a perfect sacrifice must be made to atone for sin (Hebrews 9:22, Leviticus 17:11). The animals sacrificed for this purpose in the Old Testament, though “without blemish,” could hardly be called “perfect.” So while those sacrifices did atone for sins, they were only a temporary fix for a problem that had eternal implications. Jesus Christ, the only perfect being in the history of the world, died on that cross to provide a permanent solution to this problem.
The E f f i c a c y of His Sacrifice
John the Baptist recognized that Christ’s work would be completely efficient in atoning for sin. Christ, the Lamb of God, died to take away our sins! Fully. Completely. He didn’t die so that our sins would be removed from us for a time. He didn’t die for just one of our sins or for a select few. He didn’t die just for the sins leading up to our acceptance of Him as our Savior. No, He died so that our sins would be completely removed from us, completely forgotten, completely forgiven. He died for all of our sins – the ones we did knowingly, the ones we did unknowingly, the ones we did before knowing Him, and the ones we continue to do even to this day.
The sacrifices of the Old Testament paid for the specific sins that were being confessed – for past sins. But nothing could atone for future sins. Nothing, that is, until Jesus Christ entered the world. Christ, ever so efficient, died for all our sins, past, present, and future, ridding us of the need to seek atonement with each new day.
The S c o p e of His Sacrifice
Christ’s death provides atonement for the whole world. Redemption is not privy to only a chosen few. Rather, it is provided for every single human in existence. The scope of influence of Christ’s sacrifice knows no boundaries, no walls, no racial distinctions, no language barriers, no age requirements, no gender specifications. It is for all. It is for the world. Preceding Jesus’ sacrifice, no other sacrifice was able to achieve so much, for so many. His death accomplished the impossible for the entire human race.
This one verse sums it up so simply and beautifully. Christ’s sacrifice was perfect, efficient, and global in scope. Nothing tops it, nothing outdoes it.
May we understand the excellence of Christ’s sacrificial death with renewed hearts softened to Him. And may we exclaim with joyful understanding as we gaze upon Him,