“They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again, he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. ‘We are going up to Jerusalem,’ he said, ‘and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.’”
– Mark 10:32-34
The Bible puts forth two very important truths concerning God’s plan to save the world. First, without the cross, no one could ever be saved. Without the cross, our fate would be sealed forever to an eternal existence of darkness in a place of pain and torment. And, without the cross, we would have no hope. Our salvation is all about the cross! Second, the cross was in the mind and heart of God before He created our world. Before time began, God knew that we would all rebel against Him. Thus, before He created the universe, He already had a plan in mind — the cross of Jesus Christ.
We discover God’s plan in 1 Peter 1:18-21, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.”
As we examine the Bible, we can see the plan of God all the way back in the very beginning. In Genesis 3:15, the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this… I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring (seed) and hers: He will crush your head, and you will strike [or bruise] his heel.” This verse is known as the proto-euangelion, the first gospel. It is the first glimpse of the coming Cross of Christ. This verse introduces two elements previously unknown in the Garden of Eden, elements that are the basis of Christianity: the curse on mankind because of Adam’s sin and God’s provision for a Savior who would take the curse upon Himself. At the cross, the seed of the serpent, literally, struck the heel of the seed of the woman, Jesus, when Roman soldiers drove a nail through the arches of his feet. However, the good news is that Jesus, the seed of the woman, crushed the head of Satan, the serpent, at the cross. Paul speaks of this victory in Colossians 2:15, “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross!”
This is what Jesus did for us. He died in our place so that we might have eternal life and live with him in glory in heaven when we die. Yes! The Cross of Christ was in the heart and mind of God before time began and the Scriptures testify to this. This was God’s plan all along! Peter speaks of this in Acts 2:22-24: “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”
If the cross were the end of this story, there would be no good news. The disciples would have been following Jesus to a tragic end. But Jesus did not want them to lose hope, which is why he said to them: “Three days later [I] will rise.” The resurrection of Jesus Christ is our great hope. Billy Graham said, “Without the resurrection, the cross is meaningless. Because of what Jesus Christ did for us through His cross and resurrection, we know that we have hope for the future.”
What a great hope we have. Do you have this hope? 1 Peter 1:3-5 says, “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
When we consider what Jesus has done for us, what should we do for Him? First, surrender your life to Jesus. Second, surrender all of your possessions to Him. Remember, they all belong to Him. Hold everything you have with open hands. Third, live every day of your life for Jesus Christ and the advancement of His kingdom. Be willing to tell others of the hope you have in Christ. Finally, remember, this life will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.