The death of Jesus from a human perspective is one of the saddest and most unjust events of all time. He suffered and died the death of a criminal when in truth he had done no wrong.
However there is another aspect to the death of Jesus which for mankind is the greatest blessing of all time. In his death we have been given the chance and the opportunity to receive eternal life and to stand righteous before God.
The death of Jesus was also the momentous of all occasions to occur on the earth. Nothing in all of human history can compare to it. At the death of Jesus we see the end of one era and the beginning of the next.
Jesus said that “The law and the prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached.” (Luke 16:16) In this statement Jesus draws a line in the sand. He said that the law and the prophets ended with John the Baptist, and after him came something new, the good news of the gospel of the kingdom of God which Jesus himself preached.
But there is also a transition period here too. In the period between the ministry of John and the death of Jesus, first John and then the Lord were preparing and preaching this new message. Then at the end of Jesus’ ministry he is put to death and this single event is the beginning of the New Covenant age. The symbolism of the curtain of the temple being torn in two from top to bottom (Verse 38) indicates the close of the Old Covenant age and that after the death of Jesus the way has been opened for all of mankind to come and stand before God, not just the priests.
Under the Old Covenant, once the law and the commandments had been given, Moses took the blood of goats and bulls to establish the covenant. That is, through that initial sacrifice he brought the covenant into being. This is discussed in Hebrews 9:19-20 saying, “For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.”
Likewise when Jesus died and his blood was shed, he brought into existence the New Covenant, for he offered his own blood to the Father and thus the covenant began. Blood was the means by which covenants were established. In a similar way we see that it was a blood covenant that caused the angel of death to “pass over” the houses of the children of Israel when the first-born in Egypt were killed to convince Pharaoh to let the people go.
In the same way Jesus died at the Passover feast as the perfect “Lamb of God,” and through his blood sacrifice God now passes over our sins so that we can stand before him righteous through Jesus Christ. The children of Israel took on the blood covenant of the lamb’s sacrifice in Egypt by painting it over the frames and lintels of their doorways. Today we take on the blood covenant of Christ by being baptised into his death, which is our doorway to God through righteousness by faith. As the Egyptians did not receive release because they did not take on the blood covenant of the lamb, likewise today those who do not take on the blood covenant of Jesus Christ (the Lamb of God) through righteousness by faith and baptism into his death do not receive sanctification. It is through baptism into the death of Christ Jesus and accepting his death as ours through faith that we can receive righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
That is why the death of Jesus was such a significant event. That is why Jesus came in the first place; to preach the good news of the Kingdom of God and to become the perfect sacrifice for our sin so that we can be reconciled to God, not through anything we do, but through Jesus’ act of obedience on our behalf.