Jesus' title and other things

Essay by Qwoters December 2004

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Jesus received the title "Suffering Servant from the scriptures." People from that time often used the scriptures to describe the teachings of Jesus. The passages in the scripture, written hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, describe an unnamed servant of the Lord who suffers greatly-not as punishment for his own sins but to save the people from theirs. The servant has been given God's spirits, and his mission is to bring justice to the nations. He is hated and beaten by his people. The people saw this as what Jesus did in his Crucifixion. Jesus received the title paschal lamb because his Crucifixion was linked to killing of the paschal lambs. On Passover people killed paschal lambs so that the angel would know not to kill them. This is similar to what Jesus did because he dies so that we can be freed of sin.

Jesus received the title ransom because he gave his life as a ransom for many. At that time a ransom was a payment to free a slave from slavery. The idea of ransom can help us understand the cross if we recognize Jesus' death as liberating us from our slavery to sin.

The statement "Jesus died for our sins" can be misinterpreted. These interpretations of God are removed from the one Jesus revealed to the world. Such a statement can give a sense, for instance, that Jesus had to die in our place because an angry God demanded payment for past offenses. This image of God runs directly contrary to Jesus' message-that God is totally loving and forgiving. A better way of describing what it means to say that through his death, Jesus bridged the separation between God and humanity that is created by sin. In doing...