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The Gospel (Lesson 5)
A Promise of Substitution | Isaiah 53:5
"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him."
The gospel is a promise of substitution.
A substitute is someone who takes the place of someone else, like a stunt double in a movie will step in for an actor to film the dangerous scenes.
In the Bible, Jesus is our substitute. But he doesn't just step in to do something dangerous for us. He does something deadly.
Substitution refers to the idea that Jesus took our place on a cross and suffered the punishment our treasonous sins deserved.
He endured the justice of the law so that we could receive the mercy of God.
Isaiah 53:5-6 says,
"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all."
In the Old Testament, the sacrifice of animals is a shadow of substitution, where the innocent gives their life for the guilty.
In this way, Jesus is the perfect lamb of God. Not offered by a human priest but by God himself.
As the perfect, sinless lamb of God, Jesus willingly took our place and suffered the punishment for our sins. He died in our place, taking the penalty we deserved so we could be forgiven and reconciled with God.
Peter says this in 1 Peter 3:18,
"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God."
This substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross is the foundation of our salvation and is the heart of the gospel.
The cross not only changes our standing before God but also gives us hope, peace, and joy for our present lives.
While revealing the seriousness of sin, the cross also demonstrates the magnitude of God's love, grace, and mercy, confirming that God is willing to do whatever it takes for us to know and experience his kindness as our heavenly Father.
Because the gospel is a promise of substitution.
What is substitution?
How does it relate to Jesus and the cross?
Why did Jesus need to die for our sins?
How does the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus demonstrate the seriousness of sin?
How does it also reveal God's love, grace, and mercy?
What does it mean that he was raised back to life after his death?
How can we show gratitude and live our lives in response to the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus on the cross?
A Suggested Prayer
Dear Father in heaven,
Thank you for the sacrifice of Jesus, who died as a substitute for our sins. Help us to increasingly come alive to the wonder of the depth of your love that motivated this sacrifice, and to honor Jesus always as our Savior.
We ask this in Jesus' name, Amen.