Bible Reading: Titus 2:14, NKJV
For people who lived during the time of Jesus, the cross was not a cute piece of jewelry or a decoration to hang in their home. Rather, it was a barbaric instrument of torture and execution.
The cross was intended to not just bring agony and death, but to do so in such an obscene, traumatic, humiliating, and public fashion that everybody knew the punishment they would receive should they disobey Rome. No one, and I mean no one, wanted to end up on a cross.
As I consider the cross of Jesus Christ, I’m often tempted to ask: Why would Jesus submit to being rejected, beaten, ridiculed, and crucified on my behalf?
This question often leads me to Paul’s letter to Titus. In Titus 2:14, Paul writes of Jesus: “… who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
This short passage encompasses incredible truths about Christ’s great sacrifice on our behalf.
First, we see that Jesus died because of His deep love for us. He showed the depths of this love when He “… gave Himself for us” (2:14a). It wasn’t Pilate, the religious leaders, or even the Romans who ultimately took His life. No, Jesus voluntarily laid down His own life on our behalf. 1 John 3:16a says, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.”
Second, we see that Jesus died so that He could redeem us. Redemption means to buy back at a price. The term has been used in relation to the slave market, when a slave would be redeemed out of bondage and set free. And since we were slaves to sin and under sin’s control (see John 8:34, for instance), Jesus died in order to purchase our true and lasting freedom.
Why did He have to give His life? Because that was the price. Leviticus 17:11 states, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” The only way for Christ to purchase us was to die for us and shed His own blood.
Finally, we see that Jesus died so that He could purify us. This means that we are in a process of being made holy and set apart for God as we draw ever closer to Him. He died so that we could be freed from the power of the bondage of sin. Now we are His!
Jesus went to the cross because of His deep love for us, in order that He may redeem and purify us for His good works. He took away our sins and placed them on Himself, and in return He gave us His righteousness and salvation. This is how we can be assured of eternity in heaven, not because of anything we’ve done, but because of what Jesus did for us.
At the cross, Jesus offered you the gift of eternal life. If you have not yet accepted that gift and surrendered to Him as your Savior, I encourage you to do that today.
He died for you. Will you live for Him?
Scripture Reference: Titus 2:14
14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.