Jesus was “a ram caught in a thicket”! Jesus’ sacrificial, vicarious cross death satisfied the justice of God. This act can set men free from the law of sin and death! Hallelujah!
Before Adam sinned in the Garden, he was not condemned by the law of sin. The sting of death was not upon him. He was free from death, spiritually complete, and created as the head of the human race.
However, God had given Adam and Eve a choice. God had said, “You may eat of all the trees of the Garden, except of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; in the day you eat of it you will surely die.” When Eve first, and then Adam, ate of this tree, they decided to disobey the holy law of God. This disobedience, which constituted sin, brought the sting of death. Spiritual death occurred immediately, and physical death set into their bodies. Satan seized mankind captive, usurped Adam’s place as head of the human race, and took dominion of the earth. Satan became the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that continues to work in children of disobedience.
God had spoken. God cannot lie, neither be unjust. For God to be God, He must be just. Holy justice could not simply “forgive” Adam’s sin nor mine. Justice with specific command, exacted specific consequence—death. Justice as justice could have it no other way. Only death could satisfy the sentence which Holy Justice had declared. Just as a criminal stands guilty before a judge in violation of a law, that judge must also sentence the guilty man with the justice the law demands. Physical death satisfied God’s sentence but did not acquit mankind as sinless. Man still faced eternal death at the judgment. But if a sinless man would die, then the sentence of death would be satisfied, and the devil could no longer hold legal claim upon a man.
Justice demanded a ransom. So the Son of God became a man. He lived a sinless life and died as the ransom so that the death sentence (Rom 5) which had fallen upon the human race because of Adam’s transgression could be repealed.
To whom did Jesus pay the ransom? He paid no one. When a criminal pays the price for his crime by serving jail time, whom does he pay? He pays no one; he rather satisfies justice. Jesus did not pay the price of man’s redemption to anyone. He paid the price which satisfied the justice of God—death of a sinless man. He then arose from the dead to live forever and to make reconciliation for the sins of the people!
In all this Jesus took His place as the head of the human race (Rom 5). He became the firstfruit of resurrection from the dead spiritually and bodily (1Cor 15). Man now has opportunity to rise into newness of life and can escape the condemnation of a second death!
Thus the plan of redemption for mankind was founded. The provisionary act to satisfy justice was now forever intact; “It is finished” (John 19:30). This blood provision to accomplish redemption is projected in scriptures such as Revelation 5:9, “thou hast redeemed [Strong’s #59, ‘to go to market, i.e. (by implication) to purchase; especially, to redeem’] us to God by thy blood.”
“For ye are bought [#59] with a price” (1Cor 6:20).
“Even denying the Lord that bought [#59] them” (2Pet 2:1).
“These were redeemed [#59] from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb” (Rev 14:4).
The Hebrew writer states that “for this cause he [Jesus] is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” And, “Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
Two essential purposes were accomplished by Incarnation: first, that man had an example of the holiness of God, and second, that the Son of God would experience death for every man.
So, through this provisionary act, God retained His justice, justice was satisfied, and mankind has opportunity to be reconciled! “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [atoning sacrifice] through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of [not bringing justice on] sins that are past [the Old Testament sins], through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom 3:24-26).
Old Testament sacrifices pictured and teach a vicarious (delegated, substituted, done or suffered for another) atonement.
· The Passover lamb died in the place of the firstborn (Exo 12).
· The ram caught in a thicket died “in the stead of” Isaac (Gen 22:13).
· The Day of Atonement goats “carried away” the sins of people and “died without the camp” for the sins of people (Lev 16).
· Jesus’ sacrificial death was upon Barabbas’s cross (Matt 27:26).
What did Jesus do? His vicarious, sacrificial death paid the price and satisfied the justice of a Holy God. By that act and through personal repentance, personal confession, and personal belief in the name and redemptive sacrifice of Jesus, any guilty soul is rendered “white as snow!” The devil no longer has legal claim and must let this believing, penitent man go free!
That is how Jesus was caught in the thicket for me! That is what Jesus did!
~ Greencastle, PA