Summary: The only way to the Empty Tomb goes to the Cross where Jesus died. This is the first in a series on what Jesus did for us when he died. (Theories of the Atonement)

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Series Introduction:

Today we start the countdown to Easter. That’s the highest day in the church year. However, there is only one way to arrive at the empty tomb of Easter Sunday. Like Jesus we need to travel to the cross.

For the next 8 weeks we will discover the blessings or benefits we can receive because Jesus died on the cross. These blessings are often called by one name – the atonement. There are several explanations or theories of how the atonement works. There are at least seven. Some Christians claim their favorite is the only right one.

I tend to agree with the writer who declared, “There is an essential mystery about the atonement, so that men cannot know completely how it works.”

Citation: Leon Morris in Basic Christian Doctrines, edited by Carl F. H. Henry, Baker Book House, 1962


I grew up singing a song with these words:

That God should love a sinner such as I

Should yearn to change my sorrow into bliss

Nor rest till He had planned to bring me nigh

How wonderful is love like this?

That Christ should join so freely in the scheme

Although it meant His death on Calvary

Did ever human tongue find nobler theme

Than love divine that ransomed me?

That for a willful outcast such as I

The Father planned, the Savior bled and died

Redemption for a worthless slave to buy

Who long had law and grace defied.


Such love, such wondrous love

Such love, such wondrous love

That God should love a sinner such as I

How wonderful is love like this.


Jesus died to pay the ransom that would set us free from slavery.

Key Question:

Why did Jesus need to pay a ransom to set us free?


To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

They answered him, “We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:31-36)

I. We are slaves to sin because we have all sinned.

A. In case you’re not sure about that, listen to this list of sins from Romans 1. (28-32)

Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.

B. If you’ve done nothing else, I’m sure you disobeyed your parents. That is sin and so you are a slave to sin.

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