Some very well known, very reputable celebrities have expressed their belief that there are many ways to get to Heaven. I believe there is only one way to Heaven. And that is through the Lord Jesus Christ. But what does that mean, “through the Lord Jesus Christ”?
The premise here is that Christ shed his blood on the cross for our sins, but that sounds like He did it for us. Well, yes, Jesus did indeed die on the cross for us, for our sins, but there’s more to it than that. And not too many people know the whole story here, myself included. But I think I have a better understanding of it now, especially after hearing a sermon from Dr. Charles Stanley from In Touch Ministries. His message about the death of Christ on the cross and what the cross symbolizes was most interesting and intriguing.
Jesus was put through the most barbaric, horrible torture anyone could imagine. He was treated like a criminal, or worse, because he told everyone that he was the Son of God, and His Father was not from an earthly place. Plus, He was betrayed three times by His own disciple, Peter. So what price did Christ pay for this? What did he go through?
The barbaric act of crucifixion was invented long before Christ was born. At the time it was the most vicious, cruel, painful form of punishment. The process was handed down from the Barbarians to the Greeks and eventually to the Romans. Crucifixion was so intense that the Romans could barely stand to perform it on their own people. Think about it; think about how Jesus must have been treated during His crucifixion. I mean, no, I obviously wasn’t there when these events took place, but research has shown that the Romans had little compassion for rebellious leaders, and Jesus was claiming to be the King of the Jews. I can imagine He was whipped, kicked, thrown to the ground, insulted, and struck profusely. And that was likely before He was given His sentence.
There was great misunderstanding of the messages that Jesus was presenting to His followers. His followers didn’t necessarily misunderstand His message of the Messiah, but rather His enemies most likely created their own version, or gave misdirected meaning to the prophesies regarding the coming of the Messiah. Whatever the case may be here, Christ was treated very cruelly, and He knew it was coming (Matthew 20:28).
When Jesus was presented to Pontius Pilate for sentencing, Pilate could not see where any law had been broken, and he had the authority to free Jesus, but, as governor, he also wanted the support of the Jewish leaders. However, Caiaphas, a Jewish high priest, was adamant that Jesus was blasphemous. Pilate even went so far as to send Christ to Herod since Herod was the ruler of Galilee, which included Jesus’ home town of Nazareth, but Herod passed sentencing back to Pilate.
Christ’s ultimate fate appeared to be determined by Pilate, who reluctantly gave in to Caiaphas and his peers. I say “appeared” because that’s how things looked to the people who didn’t believe in Christ’s deity. The fate of Jesus Christ was determined by God, and as mentioned earlier, Jesus knew it was going to happen. Jesus is often referred to as the “Lamb of God”. The lamb was used in sacrificial offerings to God since the time of Cain and Abel, and Abel’s offering of a lamb to God, the shedding of the lamb’s blood, was the remission for Abel’s sin. And through this sacrifice, Abel was acknowledging that he was a sinner. God accepted Abel’s sacrificial offering of the lamb, but the blood of that lamb, and the blood of the many sacrificial lambs that followed through history, could not save us from our sins.
Jesus Christ was God’s lamb, God’s sacrifice for our sins. Jesus was the last lamb to be offered to pay for sin. The blood of the Lamb of God flowed not just on the day of the crucifixion, but flowed back to the time when Eve disobeyed God, the first sin, and continues to flow up to the present and beyond.
He paid the ultimate price for us. All of us. No one was left out. But our acceptance into Heaven will not be granted unless we believe by faith that this is true. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Through, by definition, means passing from one side to another. We must make the journey from this world to Heaven through Christ.
I wear a cross around my neck as a symbol of my acceptance that Christ died for my sins. It reminds me daily of the torture, the pain, and the blood that was shed for me. And I can look at it as though it was done for me personally, just like each of you can. Because it was.
God Bless you all.