The gospel of Jesus is not cheap

“Just as there were many who were appalled at him – his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness.” (Isaiah 52:13-15, NIV)

I believe that the movie The Passion of the Christ portrayed the suffering of Jesus extremely well. If you have seen it, you know what I am talking about. Prophet Isaiah saw it too thousands of years before it took place. He writes, “Just as there were many who were appalled at him – his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness.” Try to imagine what he just said—Jesus was “disfigured beyond any human being” and “marred beyond human likeness.” If you were making a movie about the suffering and death of Christ, how would you portray it? What would it look like? According to the gospel accounts, the Roman soldiers stripped Jesus and tied him down, and began scourging him. According to some historical accounts, the Roman soldiers typically used leather whips with sharp objects tied to the end as their instrument of scourging. As you can imagine, the sharp objects would strike flesh, and they would rip out both flesh and bone parts from the body. And they would do this until the person became unconscious and they would wake him up and do it again. However, they did not scourge Jesus to death because the governor Pilate had condemned him to death by crucifixion. Then after the soldiers finished scourging him, they put a scarlet robe on him and weaved a crown of thorn on his head, and began mocking him. They took turns striking him and spitting on him. Some even pulled out his beards. They repeatedly struck him in the head with a staff. Then they led him away to a place of execution called Golgotha and crucified him. He must have had so many scars and was covered in much blood that no one could identify him as a human being. Take the two words “disfigured” and “marred” and add that with the description “beyond human likeness” and you will get Jesus Christ. And yet, Isaiah prophesied that God made him prosper and lifted him up high, and greatly exalted him. Through suffering, Jesus entered glory. Through the cross, he obtained his crown. Through death, he purchased eternal life for us. Through his wounds, he brought healing for us. By becoming disfigured and marred in flesh, he made us glorious and radiant in the Spirit. The Bible says, “Therefore also God highly exalted him, and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil.2:9-11). If someone says, “The gospel is cheap because all you have to do is believe in Jesus,” then they do not know what they are talking about. The gospel is not cheap. Salvation was purchased through the suffering and death of God’s Son. His substitutionary sacrifice was acceptable to God for our sins because he offered himself as a sinless offering. Heaven costs us nothing to enter, but the Son of God paid everything he had with his life. The gospel of Jesus is not cheap, shallow, nor free. It involves accepting that Jesus became disfigured and marred beyond any human being on behalf of me.

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