From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.” And they were exceedingly sorrowful.
Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.
This is a turning point in Jesus’ ministry, this is the whole reason for His incarnation. Jesus is now turning from His public ministry to private instruction as He prepares His disciples for His coming death and resurrection. Jesus is teaching His disciples that He must be given into the hands of sinful men and die for the sins of mankind. As they were traveling to Jerusalem, He was beginning His final journey to the Cross. Jesus has now explained to His disciples for the third time that He was going to Jerusalem to die and that on the third day He would rise from the dead. Jesus only did the will of the Father. When Jesus (being fully God and fully human) laid down His life that we may live eternally with Him in heaven, this was the will of the Father. God through His mercy, extends His grace for salvation through Christ. It’s so important for us to understand that Jesus the living God of Heaven stepped out of eternity and took on humanity. He added humanity to His divinity, for no other reason than the Cross of Calvary.
Jesus came to do what no person could do, that is taking on the penalty for our sins. In order to be our perfect substitute, Jesus had to share in our humanity, so that He could take our place. This is what the Easter season is all about, this is also the future fulfillment behind the Passover when God freed the Israelites from Egypt. The Passover lamb was a symbol of what was to come. It was a picture of Christ Jesus our Lord to come. It’s so important, we understand this foundational concept of Salvation. God is holy and just, therefore God cannot look the other way when people sin. The price for sin has to be paid, if not, then God is not just. Jesus also told us that God doesn’t just look at our actions. God also looks at our thoughts, our desires and the motivations behind our actions. This further helps to clarify what the Bible already tells us, which is “by the works of the law no flesh can be saved.” That’s why Jesus the eternal God of Heaven stepped out of eternity and took on flesh. He did this in order to die for our sins and provide salvation for all those who accept Him by faith. Why? Because this is God’s grace to a lost and dying world. This is God’s greatest gift, which is the salvation of souls through faith alone, in Christ alone.