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Easter is the high point of Christianity. It is the long-awaited fulfillment of the promise in Genesis 3:15 (CSB) that there will be an offspring that will trample death forever: ”I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” And in John 3:16 (CSB) we are given that fulfillment: ”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”.
When sin entered into the world, it meant that God’s judgment also had to come on the disobedient (Ephesians 5:6 CSB); something had to appease God’s Holy and Perfect Justice. And that was done through the Mosaic covenant system (i.e the Law). But even that, we are told, was unable to take away sins: “Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the reality itself of those things, it can never perfect the worshipers by the same sacrifices they continually offer year after year. Otherwise, wouldn’t they have stopped being offered, since the worshipers, purified once and for all, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in the sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year after year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:1-4 CSB).
So, another sacrifice was needed that would appease God’s Justice and take away the sins of the world. And that was accomplished in Jesus Christ on the cross: “He (Jesus) entered the most holy place once for all time, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12 CSB). So, while the sacrifices of bulls and goats reminded the sinner of his sin year after year, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ reminds the sinner of Jesus Himself: ”This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:25 CSB). Jesus was made sin, though He knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21 CSB). And now we can draw near the mercy seat with confidence because our relationship with God has been restored.
While the old covenant (the Law) was a reminder of sin, the new covenant is Jesus and His work of salvation on the cross — the place where He appeased God’s wrath due to our sin, He clothed us in His righteousness, and adopted us into the family of God.
May you remember Jesus this Easter!