Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

The Arrow that Flies Inwards

This is Good News

Some people think, “It is all very well for God to come. The Creator certainly can visit His creation. But why did He take on flesh”? Look for the answer in death.

Born To Die

God as Spirit cannot die. As flesh, He could die. The Old Testament had prepared people to see the need for sacrifice. Laws of Moses had required the killing of the best lambs as sacrifices to remove sin. Those sacrifices pictured the death of an innocent to save the guilty.

Jesus fulfills that old picture. He is the pure, sinless “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus’ death was no mistake. Jesus often foretold His death and its saving purpose. He insisted that His life would be given more than taken.

I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep…. I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father (John 10:11, 17-18).

Here is a free man with a mission. Whether people love or hate Jesus, they admire His courage and drive.

As we read John 10, we realize that Jesus’ “sheep” include us. For our sake, Jesus accepted the insults and the whippings, the thorns and the agonizing crucifixion—death by hanging from nails in His hands and feet. Finally, a Roman soldier plunged a spear inward, deep into His dead body.

Old Testament prophets had foreseen these sufferings. Isaiah, for example, wrote seven hundred years before Jesus’ crucifixion. In Old Testament law, the “guilt offering” was an animal killed instead of a person. Yet Isaiah foresaw a human sacrificed as the ultimate “guilt offering” to remove sin and guilt from “us all.”

The Painful Price

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement [punishment] that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity [wrongdoing] of us all (Isaiah 53:5-6).

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish [pain] of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities (Isaiah 53:10-11).

The arrow that flies inward stands for all this: the piercing wounds, the shame of death on a cross, and the spear driven into Jesus’ body. All this paid the punishment we should have suffered for our sins. All this was the price that justifies us (makes us just or right with God). This terrible death also explains why God’s Son came as a true flesh and blood human.

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery (Hebrews 2:14-15).

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