I remember an early morning commute to school from my childhood. I noticed a flashy bumper sticker in front of me. In glaring red letters, it screamed, “Jesus died for you!” The end of the sentence was emphasized with an extra-large exclamation mark. I still remember asking my mom what the sticker meant. Why would someone put such a message on their car? For some reason that memory has stuck with me. Years later I came to understand the meaning of that slogan in a personal way. Many other believers have as well. However, some of us have let the catchphrase rob us of a full understanding of Christ’s work. We know Jesus died for us, but we aren’t aware of some of His other important works. Consider four things Jesus did for you.
Jesus lived for you.
He lived the life you could never live. If God merely required a sacrifice for sins, why couldn’t Jesus have dropped from the sky and offered Himself immediately? The reason is this — we needed a Savior to not just die in our place; we also needed a Savior to live in our place. He wouldn’t have been able to offer a suitable sacrifice for our sins if He hadn’t lived a sinless life, nor would He have been able to give us the power to live differently. The author of Hebrews says, “After he was perfected, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9). Through faith in Christ’s life, we have forgiveness of sins (Romans 3:22) and we have moment-by-moment power to live the type of life He lived (Galatians 2:20).
Jesus died for you.
His death on the cross carried our sins far away. He took upon Himself the punishment our sin deserves — death, alienation, and separation from God. When He was on the cross, He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:45). The sky was dark from noon until three in the afternoon. Jesus’ cry and the supernatural phenomenon were signposts which graphically signified the work which was being accomplished. Christ became sin for sinful humanity (2 Corinthians 5:21). He died as the just on behalf of the unjust (1 Peter 3:18).
Jesus was raised for you.
I once had an older preacher admonish me after he heard me preach. He said, “Son, you left Jesus dead. Don’t ever leave Him in the tomb! Preach the resurrection!” The seasoned veteran was right. The resurrection is an integral part of Jesus’ work on our behalf. His death validated His claims concerning His divinity (Matthew 28:6), it demonstrated that His work on our behalf was effective (Acts 4:10-12), and it provided a picture of the way in which He gives new life to all who believe in Him for salvation (John 3:15-16 and 10:10).
Jesus ascended for you.
The ascension of Christ is an often overlooked aspect of Jesus’ atonement, but it is an important one (Hebrews 1:3). It signifies His victory over all things (Ephesians 1:20-23), it reminds us of the promise of His Holy Spirit’s help (Acts 2:33), it gives witness that He intercedes on our behalf (Romans 8:34), and it gives hope that He is one day returning to earth (Acts 1:8-11). Give thanks to God! Jesus didn’t just die for you. He lived, was raised, and ascended for you as well!
Dr. Patrick Latham