My son recently said those words to me, and I was amused because he’s not the only one who has felt that way.
When Jesus told his disciples that he was going to suffer, be killed and on the third day raised to life, Peter took Him aside and began to reprimand Him. “Far be it from you, my Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”
In response, Jesus said, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” Why? Was Peter himself Satan? Definitely not; instead, Jesus knew His sacrificial death was of utmost importance to mankind’s redemption, and of course Satan never wanted us to be redeemed, so Peter was unknowingly speaking for Satan!
There have been several attempts to rip apart the most important hope of Christianity – Christ’s death, burial and resurrection – including teachings that Jesus did not really die, or that He died but his disciples had stolen his body and faked a resurrection, etc. Nice try, Satan. Get thee behind me!
Under the Law, God made it known that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. However, He knew that the blood of bulls and goats would never be able to truly cleanse mankind of sin. Only the blood of His Son, the pure and spotless Lamb of God, could do that.
Jesus was crucified and He died in our place. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
As the prophet Isaiah prophesied centuries before Jesus was born, “He was bruised for our transgressions, He was wounded for our iniquity, and the chastisement of our peace was upon Him. By His wounds, we are healed.”
The Romans in their very thorough manner carried out the capital punishment chosen for Jesus, confirmed Him dead, and released his body to Joseph of Arimathea who laid him in his brand new tomb. However, Jesus didn’t stay dead: God raised Jesus up on the third day just he had said it would happen, and hundreds of His followers saw their risen Lord and rejoiced. Oh, what joy!
Romans 4:25 tells us that Jesus Christ was delivered over to death for our sins and raised from the dead for our justification. What does this mean?
Joseph Prince once gave an illustration to help us understand the significance of the resurrection:
‘Let’s say that you are living in a foreign country. One day, you happen to break a major rule of the land. You appeal to the king for mercy. He says, “A rule is a rule. I cannot bend the rule for you. What will others say about my integrity? However, if you can find a substitute to take your punishment — three months in jail — I will allow it.”
By God’s grace, you find a willing substitute. He goes to prison on your behalf and you don’t see him for some time. Days, weeks and months pass by.
Now, how or when will you know that your crime has been fully paid for? When will you be able to rest easy regarding your crime? It is when you see your substitute walking free again! When you see him out of prison, you will know that the sentence has been fully served. You will know that you are now free and no one can bring a charge against you for your old crime. No longer will you be afraid of the king or his guards coming after you because you know that the one who was punished in your place is now walking free.’
And that, dear friends, is The Good News!
Christ’s death paid the price for our sins, and the empty tomb is our assurance that we have right standing with God.
When my little boy grows up to understand this, I can bet he will change his tune: “Mummy, I am so glad that Jesus died!”