The Passion of Jesus Christ, a blockbuster movie starring James Caviezel, displayed the intense, horrific torture which Jesus endured for our sins.
Yet to this day, Christians are fully informed about what happened at the Cross.
Subsequent productions, whether in press or film, focus on what Jesus went through in His body, the blood that was shed, the damage done to His body, and the pain He felt, and which we hear.
Yet today, we need to focus more one what His death and resurrection accomplished at the Cross.
Instead of talking about what happened at the Cross, we need to start learning more about what it means.
For example, why did Jesus have to die in the first place?
He died for our sins.
"20But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1: 20-21)
We need to be saved from our sins, indeed, and yet, even when Christians declared that Jesus died for their sins, they are still convinced that they have to add something, like acts of penance, or confession.
All sins cleared forever
Yet what does the Bible say? What did Paul expound upon to all of us?
"13And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." (Colossians 2: 13-15)
What Paul explains in these three verses would take ages for us to ponder and expound upon.
And it should. Peter was not mincing words, nor waxing emotional when he wrote at the end of his Second Epistle (thus his last written words in the Bible):
"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." (2 Peter 3:18)
How do we grow in grace? We learn more about who Jesus is, and what He has done for us, and what He is still doing for us as our High Priest Forever.
"2Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord," (2 Peter 1: 2)
"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5: 17)
"But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." (1 Corinthians 15: 10)
The grace of God is the central tenet of all that Jesus is and did, and does for us, and will do.
The New Covenant
Another element of what the Cross means, not just what happened:
The New Covenant. To this day, every time I hear a pastor or a preacher talk about the New Covenant, they mention that they have never heard someone preach the New Covenant.
What is this New Covenant, anyway? Christians need to know, because their Bible recognizes the distinction between the Old and the New Testaments.
"Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." (2 Corinthians 3: 6)
So, where is this New Covenant? Mentioned all over the Old Testament:
"As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever." (Isaiah 59: 21)
In previous chapters, Isaiah records the key elements of this New Covenant, starting with a clear and convincing, unshakeable yet unsettling account of what Jesus would go through for us:
"1Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53: 1-5)
And yet for all of this. . .
"10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand." (Isaiah 53: 10)
Wow! What is the massive benefit (correction, benefits) of what Jesus accomplished for us at the Cross? Isaiah revealed:
"4Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more." (Isaiah 54: 4)
9For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.
10For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee." (Isaiah 54: 9-10)
"The Covenant of my peace" Isaiah prophesies. Why do we have this covenant of peace today with God our Father? Because of Jesus, who became sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5: 21).
This gift of righteousness cannot be ignored, for the righteousness of God is the very essence of the Gospel:
"14In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee." (Isaiah 54: 14)
"1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (Romans 5: 1-4)
Notice we have peace with God, because we have been justified by faith, in that we believe that Jesus has taken care of everything for us at the Cross!
The New Covenant is revealed in further portions of the Old Testament, in Jeremiah:
"31Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jeremiah 31: 31-34)
"38And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: 39And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: 40And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. 41Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul." (Jeremiah 32: 38-41)
Wow! A covenant in which God promises to do nothing but good for us! To put the fear, the reverence of God, in our hearts, too! People should be clamoring to hear more about this New Covenant, one which Jesus cut at the Cross for us (Mark 14: 24, Luke 22: 20).
The Blood of Jesus
We need to know more about our inheritance in Christ, for we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1: 3)
So much happened at the Cross, and what Jesus accomplished there in that one event has eternal, ongoing implications.
Daniel prophesied about this:
"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy." (Daniel 9: 24)
As for the blood of Jesus, many people are still woefully, (shamefully?) ignorant of what the blood of Jesus does (yes, present tense!):
"And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel." (Hebrews 12: 24)
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1: 7)
There is simply so much that happened at the Cross, which are only beginning to fully understand.
What happened at the Cross, and more importantly what Jesus' death at the Cross means, and the Resurrection which followed, cannot be ignored.
Meditate on all, and ask for greater revelation today to know all that Jesus accomplished, and is accomplishing for you, at the Cross, and at the Father's right hand today!