Lesson 17 | Sabbath, 23 April 2022
“God could not do more for man than He has done in giving His beloved Son, nor could He do less and yet secure the redemption of man and maintain the dignity of the divine law. He poured out in our behalf the whole treasure of heaven; for in giving His Son He threw open to us the golden gates of heaven, making one infinite gift to those who shall accept the sacrifice and return to their allegiance to God. Christ came to our world with love as broad as eternity in His heart, offering to make man heir of all His riches and glory. In this act He unveiled to man the character of His Father, showing to every human being that God can be just and yet the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 418.
NO DEFENSE FOR THE INNOCENT
1. What did Jesus’ trial and judgment show that is all too typical of human justice? Through His innocence, for whom did He suffer and pay the penalty of sin?
Isaiah 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
Acts 8:33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
“It is the glory of the gospel that it is founded upon the principle of restoring in the fallen race the divine image by a constant manifestation of benevolence. This work began in the heavenly courts. There God decided to give human beings unmistakable evidence of the love with which He regarded them.
“… In order fully to carry out this plan, it was decided that Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, should give Himself an offering for sin. What line can measure the depth of this love? God would make it impossible for man to say that He could have done more. With Christ He gave all the resources of heaven, that nothing might be wanting in the plan for man’s uplifting. Here is love–the contemplation of which should fill the soul with inexpressible gratitude! –Counsels on Health, pp. 222, 223.
2. Although the agony that Jesus suffered on the cross was in the company of criminals, what did prophecy say about His burial? Why did He have to pass through death when He had done no wrong and had spoken not one single evil word?
Isaiah 53:9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
1 Peter 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
“The Saviour of prophecy was to come, not as a temporal king, to deliver the Jewish nation from earthly oppressors, but as a man among men, to live a life of poverty and humility, and at last to be despised, rejected, and slain. The Saviour foretold in the Old Testament Scriptures was to offer Himself as a sacrifice in behalf of the fallen race, thus fulfilling every requirement of the broken law. In Him the sacrificial types were to meet their antitype, and His death on the cross was to lend significance to the entire Jewish economy.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 227, 228. “Satan assailed Him [Christ] in every point, yet He sinned not in thought, word, or deed. He did no violence, neither was guile found in His mouth. Walking in the midst of sin, He was holy, harmless, undefiled. He was wrongfully accused, yet He opened not His mouth to justify Himself. How many now, when accused of that of which they are not guilty, feel that there is a time when forbearance ceases to be a virtue, and losing their temper, speak words which grieve the Holy Spirit?” –(Manuscript 42, 1901) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1148.
GOD PERMITTED JESUS’ SUFFERING AND DEATH
3. Why did God permit Jesus to go through such terrible suffering and death? What did prophecy explain about this?
Isaiah 53:10, first part Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin,…
Ezekiel 18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn your- selves, and live ye.
Acts 2:22, 23 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.
“The Majesty of heaven pleased not Himself. Whatever He did was in reference to the salvation of man. Selfishness in all its forms stood rebuked in His presence. He assumed our nature that He might suffer in our stead, making His soul an offering for sin. He was stricken of God and afflicted to save man from the blow which he deserved because of the transgression of God’s law. By the light shining from the cross, Christ proposed to draw all men unto Him. His human heart yearned over the race. His arms were opened to receive them, and He invited all to come to Him. His life on earth was one continued act of self-denial and condescension.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 418.
4. After carrying out His supreme sacrifice, what would God’s servant feel when the plan for man’s salvation is completed?
Isaiah 53:10, last part … He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
John 17:4, 26 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do…. 26And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
“All this humiliation and anguish were endured to bring back the wanderers, guilty and thankless, to the Father’s house…. All the redeemed saints will see and appreciate as never before the love of the Father and the Son, and songs of praise will burst forth from immortal tongues. He loved us, He gave His life for us. With glorified bodies, with enlarged capacities, with hearts made pure, with lips undefiled, we shall sing the riches of redeeming love…. Rest, thank God, there is a rest for the people of God, where Jesus will lead the redeemed into green pastures, by the streams of living waters which make glad the city of our God. Then the prayer of Jesus to His Father will be answered: ‘I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.’” –Maranatha, p. 318.
MANY WILL BE JUSTIFIED
5. Seeing the result brought about by His suffering, how will Jesus rejoice in eternity? Thanks to the sacrifice of the righteous Servant, how many will be justified?
Isaiah 53:5 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
Psalms 22:30; 110:3 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation…. 110:3Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holi- ness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
“Christ looks upon His people in their purity and perfection as the reward of all His sufferings, His humiliation, and His love, and the supplement of His glory–Christ the great center, from whom radiates all glory.” –(Review and Herald, October 22, 1908) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1180.
“How great will be the joy when the redeemed of the Lord shall all meet–gathered into the mansions prepared for them! O, what rejoicing for all who have been impartial, unselfish laborers together with God in carrying forward His work in the earth! What satisfaction will every reaper have, when the clear, musical voice of Jesus shall be heard, saying, ‘Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ ‘Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.’” –Counsels on Stewardship, p. 348.
6. What honor would He receive from His Father for His great offering?
Isaiah 53:12, first part Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death:…
Philippians 2:8, 9 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.
“On whose side are we? The world cast Christ out; the heavens received Him. Man, finite man, rejected the Prince of life; God, our sovereign Ruler, received Him into the heavens. God has exalted Him. Man crowned Him with a crown of thorns, God has crowned Him with a crown of royal majesty. We must all think candidly… the death of Christ is hope and eternal life to all who receive Him and believe in Him.” –(Letter 31, 1898) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1107.
“Those who walk even as Christ walked, who are patient, gentle, kind, meek and lowly in heart, those who yoke up with Christ and lift His burdens, who yearn for souls as He yearned for them–these will enter into the joy of their Lord. They will see with Christ the travail of His soul, and be satisfied. Heaven will triumph, for the vacancies made in heaven by the fall of Satan and his angels will be filled by the redeemed of the Lord.” –(Review and Herald, May 29, 1900) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 949.
PLEADING FOR SINNERS
7. What sins and guilt did the Saviour carry on the cross? Following His great sacrifice, for whom did He continue to plead?
Isaiah 53:12, last part … And he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Romans 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
“Christ offered up His broken body to purchase back God’s heritage…. By His spotless life, His obedience, His death on the cross of Calvary, Christ interceded for the lost race. And now, not as a mere petitioner does the Captain of our salvation intercede for us, but as a Conqueror claiming His victory. His offering is complete, and as our Intercessor He executes His self-appointed work, holding before God the censer containing His own spotless merits and the prayers, confessions, and thanksgiving of His people. Perfumed with the fragrance of His righteousness, these ascend to God as a sweet savor. The offering is wholly acceptable, and pardon covers all transgression.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 156.
FOR ADDITIONAL STUDY
“At the very commencement of His public ministry, He presents Himself in the character He sustains to man throughout His mediatorial work. He identifies Himself with sinners as their substitute, taking upon Himself their sins, numbering Himself with the transgressors, and doing the work the sinner is required to do in repentance, faith, and willing obedience. What an example is here given in the life of Christ for sinners to imitate! If they will not follow the example given them, they will be without excuse.” –Lift Him Up, p. 79.
“O the mystery of godliness–God manifest in the flesh! This mystery increases as we try to comprehend it. It is incomprehensible, and yet human beings will allow worldly, earthly things to intercept the faint view it is possible for mortals to have of Jesus and His matchless love…. How can we be enthusiastic over earthly, common things and not be stirred with this picture–the cross of Calvary, the love that is revealed in the death of God’s dear Son…?” –Maranatha, p. 318.