“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus (Yeshua), for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21
These are the words of the Angel of the Lord regarding Yeshua’s birth. The Hebrew root of the name “Yeshua” is יָשַׁע which means to deliver and save someone from something. Although it’s evident what He saves us from, it’s not so obvious how it’s going to happen. To understand how
Yeshua saves us from our sins, we must go back to the very beginning…
Concerning murder, God gives the following rule in the first book of Moses – Genesis:
“And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal (that kills a human). And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.” (Genesis 9:5-6
The point of this passage is not to dictate legislation (which is much more detailed in the second and third book of Moses), but to point to the holiness of life and God’s ultimate justice. The key phrase for this lesson is: “by humans shall their blood be shed”, meaning that for God’s justice to be fulfilled, someone must pay with his life. This is what Yeshua did for us!
The forgiveness of sins came at a great price. Technically speaking, someone had to voluntarily give his life for sinners, while not being a sinner himself. During the entire history of mankind, only one such person ever lived – he is the Messiah. When he was crucified, though completely innocent, He voluntarily paid the full price
for all sins
of all mankind
for all times
. To be bought free is also called redemption
“Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.” (1 Peter 1:18-20
The redemption through the Messiah’s blood can be explained in four parts, based on four different places where His blood was shed during His last hours.
1. The blood in the Garden of Gethsemane
When Yeshua was praying in the garden he was in great agony, even to the degree that he sweated blood (Luke 22:44
). Why? Because He knew of the great suffering ahead of Him. He also knew that He did not deserve it and that He could at any time ask the Father to relieve Him from this cruel death. His prayer remained, however: “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”
This blood bought us free from our rebellion against God. As sin entered the world through disobedience (Genesis 3
), the way to restoration includes putting God back as the highest authority in our lives again. Yeshua showed this by setting God’s will above His own life, and paid the price for our disobedience with His blood.
2. The blood from His whip wounds
Before the Romans crucified Yeshua, they whipped him harshly (John 19:1
According to the prophet Isaiah, the blood from these wounds pay for our healing “The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5
The origin of sickness and disease is sin - the way to healing begins in the redemption of the blood of Yeshua.
3. The blood from the crown of thorns
The thorn symbolizes God’s curse on sin (Genesis 3:17-19
). When a crown of thorns was pushed down on Yeshua’s head (John 19:2
), we were bought free from the curse of sin. God promises a new creation for all who are redeemed, and in this creation, there will no longer be any curse (Revelation 22:3
). And even now, God is putting a new creation inside of us – a new spirit – where the curse is lifted (2 Corinthians 5:17-21
This will be elaborated in later lessons, but the point is that all the aspects of redemption have both a direct and a future fulfilling.
4. The blood from the cross
Just before Yeshua died on the cross, He cried out “It is finished!” (John 19:30
). Having paid the price in full with His blood, God’s redemption for mankind is complete: rebellion ended, wounds healed, curse reversed and death overcome.
The last thing He redeemed was life itself. He paid the price for death, and is now granting eternal life in the new creation for all who will receive it.
Where is this in the Talmud?
This kind of redemption by a third party may seem strange to someone who is used to reading the Torah and Talmud (or any other religious literature).
- Am I not fully responsible for my own sins and redemption?
- Where can I find vicarious atonement outside the New Testament
- ...and where did the apostles get this idea from?
There are a number of references to this kind of atonement in the Talmud and other Jewish commentaries. Here are a few:Moed Katan 28a.4
Yerushalmi Yoma 2a.1
Vayikra Rabbah 20.12Shemot Rabbah 35.4Pesikta Rabbati 37Midrash Tanchuma, Acharei Mot 10:1Zohar II, 212aZohar III, 218aZohar II, 218a
Taharat HaKodesh 2:4, 9a (On Isaiah 53)
If the death of a righteous has brought partial atonement previously in history, how much more then must the death of the Righteous Messiah, King of Israel and King of the whole world bring atonement? The apostles had every right to make this conclusion.
- God’s justice demands recompense for all sins committed
- We must ultimately pay with our lives for our sins
- ...but by letting a fully righteous person die as a sinner, God has redeemed mankind from rebellion, sickness, curse and death
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
For I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
Bring me out of my distresses.
Look upon my affliction and my trouble,
And forgive all my sins.
Look upon my enemies, for they are many,
And they hate me with violent hatred.
Guard my soul and deliver me;
Do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You.
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
For I wait for You.
Redeem Israel, O God,
Out of all his troubles. (Psalm 25:16-22