The Power of The Crucifixion

"You who were dead in your trespasses God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross." Colossians 2:13, 14

I’m deeply moved by the truth and the imagery found in the above verses written by the apostle Paul.

First, notice the phrase in verse 13, “dead in your trespasses” which is a big phrase for our sins committed against God. You may be thinking, “But what about the guilt that I carry so much in my daily life?” Great question and I’m with you, but Jesus covered that too!

In verse 14 notice that Paul also wrote, “canceling the record of debt that stood against us.” Let me quickly break that phrase down. The clue is found in the phrase, “the record of debt.” The word “record” is the Greek word “autograph” and it’s best understood as signing your name to an IOU.

In Bible days, if you were convicted of a crime, the Roman judge made you write out the charges in your own handwriting and then you signed that document listing all your crimes. Then when you were put in prison, that “the record of debt” was nailed over your prison cell for everyone to see. If you owed someone money, the same thing was done in a Roman court. But in this case, the court made you literally carry “the record of debt” that you wrote out everywhere you went until it was paid off.

Paul says that all of us have a “record of debt” against us! What’s he talking about? Ever since Adam and Eve sinned, from that moment on we’ve all sinned, we’ve all been breaking the law of God. So, for 1000’s of years there has been this huge, massive sin debt.

Here’s an illustration. When you go to the store and purchase something with your credit card or debit card, you put your autograph on that slip of paper that says how much debt you just put yourself in and it has to get paid because you signed a “record of debt.” Now when you leave that store, has that debt been paid yet? No! So why does the store owner let you walk out? Because the credit card is a promise that the recorded debt will be paid.

With that illustration, let me first explain how the O.T. worked with this. People in the O.T. charged their sin debt or their record of sin debt to a spiritual credit card – known as animal sacrifices. So, the priest would sacrifice a lamb or bull and the blood from that animal was the spiritual credit card for their sins! So what God was picturing, predicting, and promising throughout the O.T. was fulfilled in Christ’s blood-stained cross on Passover 33 A.D. We will never know the “record of debt” piled up by 33 A.D. and for that matter the “record of debt” piled up for all mankind until Christ’s second coming! That’s humbling!

Think about it, what started with a tree in a Garden with the first Adam, was finished on another tree at Calvary with the second Adam!

So, coming full circle now – remember I told you about the record or the autograph of debt that we all have written out because of our sins? Well, back in Jesus’ day they didn’t have paper like we have today. They had papyrus or parchment that was made from a plant or the hide of an animal. The ink that they invented in those days had no acid in it that helped make it permanent, and because it contained no acid, there was no way for it to soak deeply into the material. So when the time was served, you took all your charges and penalties with your autograph on it back to the judge, and then he took a cloth and simply wiped it away as if the violations never existed!

Do you understand that when Jesus Christ died on a cross, He took a sponge, soaked in His blood, and He wiped away our record of sin never to be seen again by God? So, get this – two things were nailed to the cross with Jesus – our sin and our guilt!

King David wrote Psalm 22:6 with amazing insight, “I am a worm, and no man: a reproach to men and despised by the people.”

To me this is amazing language prophetically connected to Jesus while on the cross. There’s an interesting thought in the word “worm” as something ugly and undesirable, and yet there’s more to it.

The Hebrew word for “worm” is “tolath” which means scarlet worm. This little worm was a source of fluid which was used by the Jewish priests of Jesus’ day. They would crush the worm and then a thick, scarlet-colored fluid came out of it, which was used as a dye in the priest’s robes.

Jesus Christ became our scarlet worm! He appeared outwardly to be ugly after being horribly beaten by the Roman soldiers and then as He suffered on the cross. And yet when His life was crushed out of Him, His blood became the source, not in changing the color of our clothes, but in changing our sin-stained heart.

As I studied more about this tiny scarlet worm, I found that this worm’s lifecycle is amazing too. As the mother worm is about to give birth to a baby worm, she sticks her body on a tree, and then after giving birth to her baby worm she dies stuck to that tree. Then she leaves her red fluid behind as if marking the place of her death.

What a picture of Jesus Christ! We are the product of His perfect red blood squeezed out of His wounded body, and that same blood gives new birth to all who confess His name!

When Jesus was hanging on the cross just about to die, what were His last words… “It is finished?” But do you realize, that’s just one word in Greek, “tetelestai” and it’s an accounting term that literally means that our record of debt was paid in full.

You could say that the first Adam said, “I’m passing the buck!” but then the second Adam said, “The buck stops here!”

I was getting my oil changed and I asked the mechanic if he’s ever worked on a Rolls Royce. He said, “I’ll never work on one because the owner of a Rolls Royce can only have it repaired in the factory where it was made.” And that hit me like a ton of bricks…the only One who can fix us is the One who created us! 

Let's praise Him big time this week!

Pastor Dave

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