Read: Matthew 27:11-26
Many people today wear the Christian cross as just a piece of jewellery or to identify themselves as Christian. They may not attach much meaning to it. The cross, as the symbol of Christianity, has great meaning. First of all, through the death of Jesus, the Father proclaimed the value of every single human being: “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Second, it came at a great cost which we cannot fully comprehend. The Father God separated Himself from His Beloved Son while Jesus bore the weight of humanity’s sin: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46). Thirdly, the redemption of man was accomplished. The blood, which Jesus shed on the cross, purchased us from slavery to sin and reconciled us to God (1 Pet. 1:18-19).
The justice of God was carried out on the cross. God’s Word tells us that death is the debt owed for sin (Ezek. 18:20). Nevertheless, God requires a blameless sacrifice (Deut. 17:1). We couldn’t sufficiently pay our own penalty because we would only die in our own sin. For the absolutely holy God to forgive us, a sufficient substitute had to be found – one who qualified to pay for our sins. Jesus, the only one without sin, willingly took our place and assumed responsibility for our debt. All of our sins and iniquities – past, present, and future – were placed on Christ, and God’s judgement which was to come upon us was carried out against Jesus.
Barabbas, the notorious criminal was condemned to death. God’s innocent Son, Jesus was substituted for him. Barabbas was set free, but Jesus was sentenced to death by crucifixion. Like Barabbas, all of us were condemned (Rom. 3:23). And though unworthy, we have been set free in Jesus. Today, the cross of Jesus continues to offer life and freedom to even the most undeserving.