As the Son of God, Jesus plays a unique role in God's plan of redemption.
This plan is outlined clearly by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:3-14, where God the Father chooses a people to adopt unto sonship, God the Son redeems them with blood, and God the Spirit seals the benefits of redemption to the redeemed, thus marking, authenticating, and securing believers unto eternal glory as forgiven, reconciled, accepted, and beloved children of God.
Concerning the Son's unique role, the text says,
In love 5 he [the Father] predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he [the Father] has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him [the Son] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us.
In the ancient world, the concept of redemption was associated with slavery or imprisonment.
To be set free from either required the payment of a price—a redemption price.
Just like the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians and needed someone like Moses to set them free, we are enslaved to our sinful nature (the flesh/sarx/σάρξ) and imprisoned under the just condemnation of God’s law.
The only way for us to be set free is for a qualified substitute to fulfill the demands of justice.
This is what the cross is all about, where Jesus, as our qualified substitute, pays the redemption price by serving the sentence of death our treasonous sins deserve.
As we read in 1 Peter 1:18-19,
"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 ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."
Peter alludes to the blood of the lamb that was shed and smeared on doorposts as the tenth plague in Egypt. We read about it in Exodus 11-12, where God told Moses that he would bring one final plague upon the land of their oppression. This plague would cause the death of every firstborn son in the country on a designated night.
The Lord gave specific instructions to the Israelites on how they would be spared from this plague. They were to take a year-old male lamb without blemish for each household, slaughter it at twilight, and use a branch of hyssop to apply some of its blood to the tops and sides of the doorframes of the houses where they ate the lamb.
This act would serve as a sign for God's angel to "pass over" those homes, sparing the inhabitants from the impending death of the firstborn.
In 1 Corinthians 5:7, the Apostle Paul explicitly connects the Passover lamb to Jesus.
He writes, "Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you are really unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed."
Just as the Passover lamb was sacrificed to redeem the Israelites from the final plague and from bondage in Egypt, Christ's sacrifice delivers believers from the bondage of sin and the judgment due because of it.
In this sense, Jesus, as the Son of God, fulfills his special role in the plan of redemption. The Father chooses, the Spirit seals, but the Son—the blemish-free firstborn and only Son—sheds his blood that we might be set free—redeemed by grace all for his glory.
- How does the metaphor of redemption from slavery impact your understanding of what Jesus accomplished on the cross? Can you think of any modern analogies that might also help explain this concept?
- In what ways does Jesus' role as the "Passover lamb" deepen your appreciation for His sacrifice? How does this role differ from, or complement, the roles of the Father and the Spirit in the plan of redemption?
- Reflect on the phrase "redeemed by grace all for his glory." How does the idea that redemption is both free (by grace) and costly (the Son’s blood) affect your view of God’s gift of salvation?
- 1 Corinthians 5:7 talks about being a new lump without the old leaven. In practical terms, what might this look like in your daily life? How does understanding Christ’s role as our Passover influence your personal desire to follow Jesus in the practical aspects of living as his disciple?
- Discuss the significance of being "predestined for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ." What does it mean to you personally to be adopted as a son or daughter of God?
If you teach Sunday School, a Bible study for adult or youth small groups, teach your kids as a homeschool parent, lead family devotions, are a missionary, serve as a camp counselor, etc., the principles in the PPGR Preaching System will give you a template that will help you create lessons that are biblically grounded, tethered to the cross of the risen Jesus, and applicable to real life.