As I wrote in Monday’s blog, we all hear a lot of talk about “being an overcomer.” I said that before we can begin to understand the process of being an overcomer, we must first take a good look at The True Overcomer: Jesus Christ. Just hours before He was to be arrested and ultimately put to death, our Lord told His disciples:
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
This series of articles was drawn from a sermon I preached at Cross Community Church, which outlined the three pillars that point to the True Overcomer: On Monday I discussed Pillar #1, His life, which was marked by His active obedience. Today I’d like to showcase Pillar #2—His death.
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)
In theological circles, this aspect of the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ is called His “passive obedience.” The sinless Lamb of God took our place on the cross . . . He took your place and mine . . . He took our scourging . . . He took our nails . . . He took our crown of thorns . . . He took our death . . . and He did it all in complete passive obedience to the will of the Father. You’ll recall that in the Garden of Gethsemane . . .
Jesus fell with his fact to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)
Jesus did not turn away from the cup that was handed to Him on that first Good Friday; He drank the full cup of God’s wrath and judgment for the forgiveness of our sins. In His passive obedience, Jesus overcame the world and there is no better place to see this truth than in the supernatural event that took place in the Temple at the moment of His death:
When Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.(Matthew 27:50-51)
Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, our sins have separated us from God, blocking our vertical relationship with our Heavenly Father. The Temple curtain was a visible symbol of this truth: only the High Priest could go past this curtain into the presence of God and this only one day each year to make atonement for his own sins and the sins of the nation of Israel. But Jesus overcame the world in His death and He has given us—both Jew and Gentile alike—unlimited access to God . . . any time, any place!
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings. (Hebrews 10:19-20)
The death of our Lord Jesus was the death of death. Jesus overcome it all by His active obedience—living the perfect, sinless life—and also by His passive obedience. He died in our place and paid the penalty for our sin . . . all of our sin . . . past, present, and still to come.
On Friday, we’ll examine the third and final pillar of the True Overcomer: His Resurrection.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!