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Summary: On the cross the penalty of sin was removed, the partition of sin was removed and the power of sin was removed.

THE CROSS - SUBSTITUTION

Actor Kevin Bacon recounted when his 6-year-old son saw Footloose for the first time: He said, "Hey, Dad, you know that thing in the movie where you swing from the rafters of that building? That’s really cool, how did you do that?" I said, "Well, I didn’t do that part--it was a stunt double." "What’s a stunt double?" he asked. "That’s someone who dresses like me and does things I can’t do." "Oh," he replied and walked out of the room looking a little confused. A little later he said, "Hey, Dad, you know that thing in the movie where you spin around on that gym bar and land on your feet? How did you do that?" I said, "Well, I didn’t do that. It was a gymnastics double." "What’s a gymnastics double?" he asked. "That’s a guy who dresses like me and does things I can’t do." There was silence from my son, then he asked in a concerned voice, "But then dad, what did you do?" "I got all the glory," I sheepishly replied. That’s the grace of God in our lives. Jesus took our sin upon himself and did what we couldn’t do. We stand forgiven and bask sheepishly triumphant in Jesus’ glory.

Rom 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

Why was the cross necessary? Why did Jesus have to die? To understand Easter we need to understand the cross. When we truly understand what happened when Jesus died then we also understand the significance of his birth and resurrection.

Heb 10:11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

1. PENALTY OF SIN IS REMOVED - Jesus takes our sin

The idea of substitution is clearly seen throughout the Bible. In Genesis we see this in Abraham willing to sacrifice his son Isaac but sacrificing the ram instead. The sheep died in Isaac’s place. God provided the sacrifice. In the Old Testament God gave Israel a pattern to follow which pointed to what would happen on the cross. The sacrificial system which God initiated was a picture of the cross and pointed to the day that the lamb of God would take away the sins of the world forever.

Lev 16:7 Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. 8 He is to cast lots for the two goats--one lot for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat . 9 Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the LORD and sacrifice it for a sin offering. 10 But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat

1Pet 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

Father Maximilian Kolbe, was a Catholic priest and a prisoner at Auschwitz. On August 14 of 1941 a prisoner escaped from the camp. The rule was that if any person escaped 10 prisoners would be killed. All the prisoners were brought out. ’The fugitive has not been found!’ the commandant screamed. ’You will all pay for this. Ten of you will be locked in the starvation bunker without food or water until they die.’

The prisoners trembled in terror. The ten were selected, including a prisoner named Franciszek Gajowniczek (Gah-yav-NEE-chek). He couldn’t help a cry of anguish. ’My poor wife!’ he sobbed. ’My poor children! What will they do?’ When he uttered this cry of dismay, Maximilian stepped silently forward and stood before the commandant and said, ’I am a Catholic priest. Let me take his place. I am old. He has a wife and children.’ Gajowniczek was returned to the ranks, and the priest took his place.

The Nazis kept Kolbe in the starvation bunker for two weeks and then put him to death by lethal injection. Gajowniczek survived the prison. He died on March 13, 1995, in Poland at the age of 95 - and 53 years after Father Kolbe had saved him. But he was never to forget the ragged monk. Every year on August 14 he went back to Auschwitz. He spent the next five decades paying homage to Father Kolbe, honoring the man who died on his behalf. In October of 1982, Franciszek Gajowniczek, his wife, children, and grandchildren gathered with 150,000 others in St. Peter’s Square in Rome to celebrate Father Kolbe’s victory over hatred at Auschwitz.

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