Somebody Died for *Me*
2000 years ago, this week, Jesus entered Jerusalem on his way to the cross. He took a long hard journey in order to pay the price for my sins. He took upon himself my shame and my guilt and absolutely everything that separates me from God. He fulfilled the Jewish Temple sacrificial system, he fulfilled numerous prophecies in Scriptures detailing why he had to die, how the sacrifice of things that are perfect is the only thing that can atone for sin. He died for me, not to show me what being nice was all about so that I could copy him and do it myself. He died to make me nice so that I didn’t have to do it myself.
Apparently, Jeffrey John thinks this is all a lie. He thinks it’s all a load of bunkum. He thinks that Penal Substitutionary Atonement is “repulsive” and “insane”. When Isaiah says that Jesus “took our infirmities and carried our sorrows”, that when he describes him as being “pierced for our transgressions” and “crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:4-5), that he got it wrong.
I think Jeffrey John has got it seriously wrong. Yes, there are other things going on on the cross, but the heart of what Jesus is doing is that he is dying for us, taking upon himself our sins, becoming a cursed one so we don’t have to.
I’m going to blog more on this over the next few days, but in the meantime I’ll leave you with the following picture which I think summarises the true theology of the cross pretty well.