Christ Died for Our Sins According to the Scriptures—Day One

Today I begin a Lenten series on the passion, the crucifixion, the death of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Since this blog is dedicated to the theory and practice of biblical theology, I have decided to do this Lenten series with a particular biblical-theological, redemptive-historical slant in mind.  The overall heading for the series comes from the Apostle Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 15:3 that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.”  The posts will attempt to address the question, “What does it mean that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures?”  And, of course, the Scriptures which Paul is referring to are the books of the Old Testament.  Commentators on Paul’s statement here in 1 Corinthians have rightly asked what Scriptures in particular Paul might have had in mind.  Beginning with tomorrow’s post, we will look at a number of passages in the Old Testament that may well have been in Paul’s mind.  It is my hope to contribute a post every day throughout Lent.  God may have other plans.  We’ll see.  I also hope to include along the way, not just my own thoughts on these passages, but also a few “guest” contributions from others who have written about these passages and the death of Christ from an especially biblical-theological perspective.

For today’s post, I just want to point out to the reader various places where Jesus himself and the New Testament authors invite us to look at the passion and death of Christ as being fundamentally and profoundly scriptural; that is, in accordance with had been, in some fashion or other, prophesied in the Old Testament.  I have highlighted various phrases in the passages given below to help demonstrate this crucial point.

24 “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him.” (Matt 26:24)

31 Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'” (Matt 26:31)

53 “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?  54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matt 26:53-54)

56 “But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” (Matt 26:56)

9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel.” (Matt 27:9)

48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me?  49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” (Mark 14:48-49)

31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled32 He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him.  33 On the third day he will rise again.” (Luke 18:31-33)

37It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” (Luke 22:37)

25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”  27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Luke 24:25-27)

44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”  45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.   46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.”  (Luke 24:44-46)

18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: ‘He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.'” (John 13:18)

25But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.'” (John 15:25)

12 “While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.” (John 17:12)

24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, “They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” So this is what the soldiers did. (John 19:24)

28 Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28)

36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,”  37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.” (John 19:36-37)

15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty)  16 and said, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus.” (Acts 1:15-16)

18But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer.” (Acts 3:18)

27 “The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath.” (Acts 13:27)

2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,  3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead.  (Acts 17:2-3)

22 “But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen23 that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:22-23)

3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” (Rom 15:3)

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Cor 15:3-4)

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care,  11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. (1 Pet 1:10-11)

As you can easily see, our faith rests largely, not simply on the fact that Jesus suffered and died for our sins, but also that he did so according to the Scriptures.  Join me in this Lenten journey to discover what that means.

Jerry Shepherd
Ash Wednesday
March 5, 2014

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