Can you tell what’s wrong with the following statement?

“Jesus became sin with your sinfulness.”

Now look closely at 2 Corinthians 5:21 (referenced below) and see if you can see the difference.

For he (God) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Notice that the text does not say “made sin WITH your sinfulness.”

The belief that Christ was made sin with our sinfulness is common within the teachings that Christ was rejected and condemned by God as a sinner dying under the wrath of God.

If Christ was made sin with our sinfulness, if he became the object of God’s wrath and was rejected by God in our place as some have taught, how then was he a holy offering accepted as a sweet savor well pleasing to God? How was God in Christ reconciling the world (2 Corinthians 5:19) if God indeed separated himself from Christ because he was made sin with our sinfulness?

Throughout the Old Testament, the offerings which made atonement for sins were offered to God as a sweet fragrance and were accepted by God. They were never rejected  by God to make atonement.

These atonement sacrifices foreshadowed God’s acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus as a sweet aroma on our behalf when he gave himself for our sins.

These atonement sacrifices were holy offerings and they were accepted on behalf of the people (Lev 22:20, 21, 25, 27). By virtue of these offerings, the people were sanctified and made holy in the sight of the Lord.

Ephesians 1:6 tells us, we have been accepted in the beloved, and Colossians 1:20-22 teaches us that Jesus reconciled us through the blood of his cross to present us holy and unblameable and unreproveable in God’s sight.

Jesus Christ died as an unblemished lamb whose blood is pure and holy (1 peter 1:18-19); and because he is holy and accepted by God, we are sanctified and accepted by God in him.

Had God condemned Jesus by treating him as a sinner under his wrath, Jesus would not have been a sweet fragrant sacrifice and offering to God. Instead he would have been rejected as a defiled sinner, and this concept is foreign to the teachings of scripture regarding sacrifices which made atonement for sins.

Whenever God’s wrath was revealed under the law, he would not accept the sacrifices and offerings as a sweet aroma. (Leviticus 26:31, Jeremiah 14:11-12). Yet, when God’s people returned to him in repentance, God accepted both them and their atonement sacrifices as a sweet fragrance (Ezekiel 20:40-41).

Christ gave himself for our sins as a sweet fragrant offering and sacrifice to God, and for his sake, God has redeemed us with his blood.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. (Ephesians 4;32-52)

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot(1 Peter 1:18-19)

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The apostle Peter tells us that Jesus is our example of suffering wrongfully and that he committed himself to God who judges righteously. Peter tells us this within context of Christ bearing our sins (see 1 Peter 2:19-25).

The Biblical definition of what it means “to bare” doesn’t actually mean what we sometimes might think it means. For example, as believers we are to: “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” We are to follow Christ’s example in bearing the burdens of others, because , Jesus bore our sins in his body on the tree, that is on the cross.

What exactly then, do the scriptures mean when they teach us that  Jesus bore our sins?

Isaiah 53:12 tells us, “He BARE the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

The Hebrew word for bare in Isaiah 53:12 is “naw-saw” and is translated as forgiveness in its various forms on multiple occasions in the Old Testament. For instance, it is translated as “forgiving” in Exodus 34:6-7:

And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, FORGIVING iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

It is also translated as forgive, forgiven, and forgavest in Psalm 25:16-18 and Psalm 32:1 &5.

Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and FORGIVE all my sins. (Psalm 25:16-18)

Blessed is he whose transgression is FORGIVEN, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile…I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou FORGAVEST the iniquity of my sin. Selah. (Psalm 32:1, 2, & 5)

In the scriptures above we can see that God bares his people’s sins by forgiving them.  In Romans 4 Paul quotes Psalm 32:1-2 (referenced above) in view of the forgiveness which comes through faith in Jesus Christ.

6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are FORGIVEN, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. (Romans 4:6-8)

The Hebrews word “naw-saw” which is translated “bare” in Isaiah 53:12 appears in 610 passages of scripture in the Old Testament and is referenced a total of 653 times. Here are a few examples of how it is used elsewhere in the Old Testament:

And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and BARE UP the ark, and it was lift up above the earth (Genesis 7:17).

And the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind, WHICH TOOK AWAY the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt. (Exodus 10:19)

Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I BARE you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. (Exodus 19:4)

And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark MAY BE BORNE with them. (Exodus 25:14)

Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them. And I spake unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to BEAR you myself alone: The Lord your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude. (The Lord God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, as he hath promised you!) How can I myself alone BEAR your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife? Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you. (Deuteronomy 1:8-13)

The Lord your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes; And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the Lord thy God BARE thee, as a man doth BEAR his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.Yet in this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God, Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day. (Deuteronomy 1:30-33)

Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to BEAR them. (Isaiah 1:13-14)

Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and CARRY them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah 40:9-11)

Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, WHICH ARE CARRIED from the womb: And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I WILL BEAR; even I will carry, and will deliver you. (Isaiah 46:3-4)

I will mention the loving kindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his loving kindnesses. For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Savior. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and CARRIED them all the days of old. (Isaiah 63:7-9)

In Isaiah 53:4, the Hebrew word “naw-saw” is rendered as “borne.”

Surely he hath BORNE our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 

In Matthew 8:16-17 Matthew interprets Isaiah 53:4 in view of healing and deliverance.

When the evening was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and He cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, himself TOOK our infirmities, and BARE our sicknesses.

According to Matthew’s interpretation of Isaiah 53:4, Jesus did not take the peoples infirmities and bare their sicknesses by becoming afflicted and sick as a substitute in their place. Instead, Jesus took and bare the infirmities and sicknesses of the people by delivering them from demons and healing them.

From Matthew’s interpretation of Isaiah 53:4 we can see Matthew understood the words of Isaiah in view the antidote which was healing and deliverance.

In the same way, Jesus bore our sins by giving himself as an unblemished sacrifice so that we could be cleansed from our sins by his precious blood and made alive with him through his resurrection from the dead.

It is in view of the salvation which Jesus obtained for us through the laying down of his life that we should understand what it means that he bore our sins.


The Greek word for bare is anaphero and it means to take up, bear, bring, (carry, lead) up, offer (up). It is used 9 other times in the New Testament in 8 different verses.

1 Peter 2:24 says “Who his own self BARE our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

In Matthew 17:1 it is used to describe Jesus leading three of His disciples as they ascended up the Mount of transfiguration: “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and BRINGETH THEM UP  into an high mountain apart.”

Mark 9:2 also referencing the ascent up the Mount of Transfiguration as “LEADETH THEM UP.”

In Luke 25:51 it is used to describe Jesus’ ascension after His resurrection: And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and CARRIED UP into heaven.

  • Now stop and think about it for a moment. The same Greek word used in 1 Peter 2:24 which says “Jesus bore our sins” is the same Greek word used to describe his ascention into Heaven. This immediately reminds me of the burnt offerings which were offered on the altar of sacrifice in the Old Testament. The words “burnt offering” come from the Hebrew word “o-law” meaning “ascending.”  The burnt offerings were to be “wholly” offered to the Lord as a sweet fragrance. Ephesians 5:2 tells us “Christ loved us, and gave himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” Jesus was wholly given to the the Lord of us and was accepted for us as a sweet fragrance to God.

In Hebrews 7:27 and 9:28 the Greek anapherotranslated bare, is used to describe Jesus giving His life as an offering for our sins:

Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, TO OFFER UP sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he OFFERED UP himself.

So Christ was once offered TO BEAR the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

In Hebrews 13:15 it is used as a reference to the sacrifices of praise which we offer to God: “By him therefore LET US OFFER the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”

In James 2:21 it is used as a reference to Abraham offering up of Isaac as a burnt offering on the altar of sacrifice: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, WHEN HE HAD OFFERED Isaac his son upon the altar?”

Finally, in 1 Peter 2:5 it is a reference to the spiritual sacrifices which we offer to God: “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, TO OFFER UP spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”

As we can see the word bare has nothing to do with substitution. It has to with lifting up, offering up, ascending. In 1 Peter 2:5 (mentioned above) it is used in conjunction which the spiritual sacrifices which God “accepts” from believer through Jesus Christ.

In that Jesus bore our sins, He “offered up Himself.” God accepted Jesus’ unselfsih offeing of Himself for us, and by him and through him Our sins are taken away through the blood he shed on the cross.

Jesus was not rejected by God in our place, rather Jesus was a holy and pure offering, accepted by God for us and by His precious blood we have redemption.

For more teachings on this topic you may follow the links below:















Before his death on the cross, Jesus began preparing his disciples for the things he was soon to suffer. After his resurrection, Jesus revealed to them how all things which are written in the Law of Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets concerning his death and resurrection had been fulfilled by the events they had witnessed.

And he said unto them, these are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that ALL THINGS MUST BE FULFILLED, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, CONCERNING ME. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, thus IT IS WRITTEN, and THUS IT BEHOOVED CHRIST TO SUFFER, AND TO RISE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And YE ARE WITNESSES OF THESE THINGS. (Luke 24:44-48)

Jesus opened the understanding of his disciples, and they comprehended that the things they had just witnessed was the fulfillment of the scriptures concerning his sufferings and the glory that should follow.

Before his crucifixion, Jesus had begun to prepare his disciples for the things he would suffer at the hands of sinful men. At Caesarea Philippi, the very same place where Jesus asked his disciples “who do you say that I am?”, Jesus began to speak to his disciples about the things he would suffer and the resurrection that would follow.

From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. (Matthew 16:21)

Soon afterwards, Jesus was transfigured on the mountain known as the Mount of Transfiguration. Peter, James, and John witnessed as Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Jesus concerning his death which was soon to take place in Jerusalem (Luke 9:31).

Later, as they made their way down from the mountain, Jesus told them again, “the Son of Man is going to suffer and be put at naught AS IT WAS WRITTEN OF HIM”.

When they arrived at the foot of the mountain, they were met by a crowd of people, along with nine anxious disciples who seemed a bit overwhelmed concerning the father of a young man who had epilepsy. The other disciples had tried to cast out an evil spirit from the epileptic boy but to no avail. Jesus had compassion and cast out the demon and presented the young man back to his father.

As the crowd rejoiced and the disciples wondered why they could not set the boy free, Jesus turned to them and said, “Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for THE SON OF MAN SHALL BE DELIVERED INTO THE HANDS OF MEN” (Luke 9:44).

The disciples did not yet understand what Christ was teaching them, yet they were being prepared because Jesus knew the time was approaching when he would offer his life for the sin of the world. Luke tells us “It came to pass, WHEN THE TIME WAS COME that He should be received up, HE STEADFASTLY SET HIS FACE TO GO TO JERUSALEM”. (Luke 9:51)

Not long afterwards, while in Galilee, Jesus again rehearsed to his disciples how he was going to suffer. Matthew tells us, “while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry”. (Matthew 17:22-23)

Still, the disciples did not yet comprehend these things. It wasn’t until after Jesus had arisen from the dead and opened their understanding to the scriptures that they fully understood.

Nonetheless Jesus was preparing them because they were going to be eye witnesses of the fulfillment of the scriptures concerning the Messiah and they would testify of him with boldness in the power of the Holy Spirit.

As they made their way towards Jerusalem, Jesus again pulled his disciples aside and rehearsed to them what he was about to suffer. Matthew 20:17-19 says, “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” (NKJV).

Luke gives us a little different insight and says, “He took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and ALL THINGS THAT ARE WRITTEN BY THE PROPHETS CONCERNING THE SON OF MAN SHALL BE ACCOMPLISHED. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken” (Luke 18:31-34).

Notice that the things the Jesus endured from the hands of men is described by Jesus as the accomplishment (fulfillment) of “all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man”.


In Luke 24:1-8, we read of certain women who came to the empty tomb on the day that Jesus was raised from the dead. They were greeted by an angel of the Lord, who said the following to them: “He is not here, but is risen: REMEMBER how he spoke unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”

When the angel of the Lord said this to the women, the Bible says, “THEY REMEMBERED HIS WORDS” (v.8).

Later in Luke 24, we read of two disciples of Jesus who traveled along the road to Emmaus. As they walked and talked together, they spoke of “all THESE THINGS which had happened.”

As these two disciples discussed what had happened, a stranger suddenly came along for the journey. They had no idea their new traveling companion was none other than Jesus himself. The Bible says that their eyes were kept from recognizing him. (Luke 24:16)

Jesus then asked them what they were having such an intense discussion about. One of them whose name was Cleopas answered Jesus and said, “Are you only a stranger in Jerusalem and have not known THE THINGS which have happened in these days?”

Jesus responded, “WHAT THINGS?”

Then they said to Jesus, “CONCERNING JESUS OF NAZARETH, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how THE CHIEF PRIESTS and OUR RULERS delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since THESE THINGS were done.”

Notice that “THESE THINGS” of which these two disciples were speaking includes the betrayal and trial along with the crucifixion. It was now the third day since the Jesus had been betrayed.

As they proceeded to tell Jesus all that had happened to him and how they had hoped that he would have been the one who would have redeemed Israel, they still had no clue it was Jesus with whom they were talking. They even told him that they had heard reports of his resurrection, yet they were still in disbelief. Luke continues the narrative with Jesus’ response to their report of his death and resurrection:

Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe ALL THAT THE PROPHETS HAVE SPOKEN: Ought not Christ to have SUFFERED THESE THINGS, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them IN ALL THE SCRIPTURES THE THINGS CONCERNING HIMSELF.

Notice how Jesus describes THESE THINGS which they had witnessed as being that which all the prophets had spoken concerning his death. The context of this passage shows that Jesus revealed nothing other than his sufferings, beginning with the betrayal by Judas into the hands of men and their condemnation of him as the fulfillment of all that the scriptures had foretold of His death.

Jesus expounded to them IN ALL THE SCRIPTURES the things relating to his sufferings and the glory that was to follow. Jesus literally schooled these two disciples on the meaning of the scriptures beginning with Moses and continued through all writings of the prophets to show them that what they had just witnessed was the fulfillment of the scriptures.



The Lord’s disciples were his personally appointed apostles and they preached the cross throughout the book of Acts exactly as they had been taught by Jesus that what they had witnessed was the fulfillment of the scriptures.

As we read through the book of Acts, we see that the apostles laid the blame for the death of Jesus upon the people of Israel. Their message was filled with overtones of “look at what you have done to Him and repent”. In Acts 2:23, Peter says, “(Him) …ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” In verse thirty-six, Peter says, “…let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made this same Jesus, WHOM YE HAVE CRUCIFIED, both Lord and Christ.”

Peter’s message to people was that they were the culprits’ of his death, but God had raised him from the dead and therefore they should repent and believe in him.

In Acts 3, after the lame man was healed at the gate called Beautiful, a crowd quickly assembled around Peter and John. The people were amazed at what had happened because the man had been lame his entire life, more than 40 years. Peter quickly defused any attention towards him and John and preached the following to the people.

“…Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? Or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; WHOM YE DELIVERED UP, AND DENIED HIM in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But YE DENIED THE HOLY ONE AND THE JUST, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And KILLED THE PRINCE OF LIFE, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that THROUGH IGNORANCE YE DID IT, AS ALSO YOUR RULERS. But THOSE THINGS, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”

The remainder of Peter’s sermon is recorded in verses 20-26, but from the verses above one can clearly see that Peter blames the people and not God for the death of Jesus.

As we read into chapter four, we see that Peter’s boldness for Jesus invoked trouble from the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees. Peter and John were taken into custody because these leaders were angered that they had taught and preached about the resurrection of Jesus which resulted in approximately 5,000 people being saved.

The next day, Peter and John were placed on trial before the High Priest and were asked, “By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?” Peter’s response is worth examining because it again reveals how the apostles understood the cross and resurrection of Jesus:

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, WHOM YE CRUCIFIED,whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. THIS IS THE STONE WHICH WAS SET AT NOUGHT OF YOU BUILDERS, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:8-12)

Notice that Peter again directs the responsibility for the death of Jesus towards those who rejected him. He then attributes the resurrection to God showing how God had overturned what the people had done in condemning Jesus. God had raised him from the dead. Peter speaks of Jesus as the stone which his audience at that time had rejected, and says the stone which they had rejected is the stone which has becomes the cornerstone of God’s house!

Peter would later write about this in his first epistle.

You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. HE WAS REJECTED BY THE PEOPLE, but he was CHOSEN BY GOD for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. As the Scriptures say, “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Yes, you who trust him recognize THE HONOR GOD HAS GIVEN HIM . But for those who reject him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.”And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them (1 Peter 2:4-8).

Peter is telling us the same thing in his first epistle as he preached to the religious leaders in Acts 4. Jesus is the Stone whom the people rejected. Not the one God rejected. In his death, Jesus suffered unjustly at the hands of sinful men, and in his resurrection he was vindicated by the justice of God, for God exalted him to the highest place of honor at his own right hand.

After being threatened by the council and let go, Peter and John returned to the other believers. The Bible says they reported to them all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. After hearing this, the whole crowd of believers began to lift up their voices in unity to God in prayer. Among other things their prayer contained the following words:

Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, WHY DID THE HEATHEN RAGE, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together AGAINST THE LORD, AND AGAINST HIS CHRIST. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done (Acts 4:24-28).

Here we can see that they declared that it was not only Jesus that the people opposed but God as well. Those who condemned Jesus to death were gathered against “the Lord” and against “His Christ.”

The Lord and his Christ is a reference to God and his Son Jesus!

In John 15 Jesus had taught his disciples that the world hated him because it hated his Father in Heaven and interprets the scripture, “they hated me without a cause” as hatred aimed at both he and his Father, God. Consequently the world would hate them also.

This is what we are seeing in Acts 4, as well as the entirety of the book of Acts. The unrepentant religious hierarchy within Jewry were hell bent on silencing the testimony of Christ being witnessed by the apostles.

Yet, the power of the Holy Spirit could not quenched, for Christ had overcome this world and was now the exalted King seated at the Father’s right hand. Christ’s gospel is unstoppable by the kingdoms of this World for it is not preached in man’s strength but in God’s, for the Kingdom of God is not in word but in power. (see 1 Corinthians 4:20).

After the company of believers in Acts 4 prayed, God shook the building and filled them all with the Holy Ghost.

God answered their prayer and did many signs and wonders among the people through the hands of the apostles. This caused quite a stir with the high priest and those with him. The Bible says they were filled with considerable resentment toward the followers of Jesus. Once again they tried to stop the work of the Holy Ghost, but this is how Peter and the other apostles answered them:

We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, WHOM YE SLEW AND HANGED ON A TREE. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And WE ARE WITNESSES OF THESE THINGS; AND SO ALSO IS THE HOLY GHOST, whom God hath given to them that obey him. (see Acts 5:29-32)

The apostles not only blamed them again for the crucifixion of Jesus, but they declared that God, in opposition to what they had done, had raised Jesus from the dead. They made it clear they had been witnesses of all this themselves as well as the Holy Spirit.

This declaration by Peter and the apostles was met with such resistance by the high priest and his associates that they wanted the apostles dead just as they had wanted Jesus dead. Acts 5:33 says, “When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.”

It wasn’t the apostles only whom they wanted to stop. It was the work of the Holy Spirit through the apostles that they were opposing.

We can see this in the case of Stephen. Stephen was not an apostle, but a faithful disciple and deacon in the church. Stephen had been chosen as a deacon because he was of an honest report, and he was full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom. In Acts 6:8 we are told that “Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.”

Yet there were some Jews from the Synagogue who stirred up debate with Stephen but when they could not stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke, they persuaded some men to lie about him. They accused Stephen of speaking blasphemous against Moses and God. This resulted in stirring up more trouble with the people, the elders, and the teachers of religious law.

They then came and arrested Stephen and brought him before the high council and they publicly accused him falsely. It was in this setting that Stephen preached his last sermon before dying as a martyr for the Lord Jesus after being stoned to death by his accusers.

Yet, we need to ask, what exactly made them so angry? What did Stephen preach that so infuriated them that caused them to stone him to death?

Stephen testified of the long history of Israel’s continued rejection of God and Israel’s rejection of those whom God sent to them, which culminated in their rejection of Jesus.

Stephen spoke boldly in the face of death and sternly to those who were about to stone him; “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, YE DO ALWAYS RESIST THE HOLY GHOST: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; OF WHOM YE HAVE BEEN NOW THE BETRAYERS AND MURDERERS”. (Acts 7:51-52)

Stephen says to those who were about to stone him that they were betrayers and murders of Jesus, the Just One. Their fathers had persecuted the prophets who had showed beforehand his coming and they had followed in their footsteps by their rejection of Christ. Stephen actually says that what they did to Jesus was that of resisting the Holy Ghost!

In Luke 11:46-52, Jesus had said to the leaders of the Jewish people that by their rejection of him they would be accounted as guilty of the blood of all the prophets from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah and by resisting Stephen’s preaching about Jesus, those who killed Stephen had also fallen into the same category because they too were resisting the Holy Ghost.

This is a major theme that runs consistently throughout the New Testament. God sent Christ to turn the hearts of his people back to him. Those who repented received the remission of their sins through the Messiah who died for them and rose again. Those who refused to repent were condemned by their rejection of Jesus.

In Acts 13, the Apostle Paul also preached this same Gospel when he said, “Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work, which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.”

These words by Paul refer to the resurrection of Christ as the work of God which the scriptures foretold God was going to do. Here is the context of Paul’s message:

Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, THEY HAVE FULFILLED THEM IN CONDEMNING HIM. And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. And WHEN THEY HAD FULFILLED ALL THAT WAS WRITTEN OF HIM , they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead: And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you. (Acts 13: 26-41)

The apostles always preached the resurrection of Jesus as the work of God in contrast to what sinful men had done to Jesus. It was this testimony that the Holy Ghost affirmed with signs, wonders, and miracles.

In Acts 8, Philip the evangelist preached Christ to a high ranking Ethiopian. The Bible tells us that he was a eunuch and had great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians. He had oversight of all her treasure, and he had come to Jerusalem to worship God. On his way home he was reading from the prophet Isaiah as he sat on his chariot. The Spirit of the Lord spoke to Philip and said, “Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.” Philip ran to him, and heard him reading from Isaiah and asked him, “do you understand what you are reading?

The Eunuch replied, “How can I, except some man should guide me?” He then urged Philip to come up into the chariot and sit with him. The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this: “In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.”

It was this place in scripture that Philip began to declare to him about Jesus. What’s significant here is the phrase, “In his humiliation his judgment was taken away” (KJV) is a reference to the unjust treatment that Jesus endured.

Here is what some other translations of Acts 8:33 says,

  • He was humiliated and received no justice …(NLT)
  • In His humiliation He was taken away by distressing and oppressive judgment and justice was denied Him …(Amplified Bible)
  • In His humiliation justice was denied Him …(Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Now, here is what some other translations of Isaiah 53:8 says, which is the verse quoted in Acts 8:33:

  • Unjustly condemned, he was led away…(New Living Translation)
  • By oppression and judgment He was taken away…(Amplified Bible)
  • He was condemned to death without a fair trial… (Contemporary English Version)

Later, in Acts 10 when Peter was sent to the house of Cornelius, the message was the same. Peter preach about Jesus and said, “we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; WHOM THEY SLEW AND HANGED ON A TREE: Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly; not to all the people, but unto WITNESSES CHOSEN BEFORE GOD, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. (Acts 10:39-42)

Throughout Acts, regardless of the messenger, whether Peter an original apostle, or Stephen a deacon, or Philip the evangelist, or Paul who was an apostle to the Gentiles, the message is consistently the same. Jesus died an unjust death at the hands of sinful men and was vindicated when he was raised from the dead and exalted at the Father’s right hand.


For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Paul’s reference to Christ being made sin for us is derived from the Old Testament motif of the sin offerings. The sin offerings were offered to make atonement for sin.

Throughout the Old Testament the word atonement was used to convey the idea of reconciliation, sanctification, consecration, and forgiveness. This is the context which surrounds Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 5.

Literally, Paul is telling us that Christ was made to be the offering for our sins, and that is how we are reconciled to God. Christ was made to be our sin offering not our literal sin.

Throughout the Old Testament the words sin and sin offering are translated from the same Hebrew word “chattath”. One writer pointed out that chattath is translated as sin offering 118 times, and translated as sin 168 times.

In Hebrews 10:6, the writer of Hebrews speaks of the sacrifices for sin. The words “sacrifices for” have been added by the translators of the KJV for clarity. Literally, Hebrews 10:6 says: In burnt offerings and sin thou hast had no pleasure.

However, we know that the author is not referring to sin but to the sin offerings instead. We know this because of the context and we also know this because Hebrews 10:6 is a quote from Psalm 40:6 which says the following:

Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

The Greek word “hamartia” which is used in Hebrews 10:6 in reference to the sin offering, is also used in 2 Corinthians 5:21 in reference to Christ being made sin for us.

It should also be of importance to us that the apostle Paul was a Jew who had come to know Christ. The things which Paul taught about Jesus were rooted in his scholarly understanding of the scriptures. Paul most assuredly would have thought through the scriptures as a Jewish scholar and would have understood Christ’s death and resurrection in view of the scriptures. Paul tells the Corinthians the following:

I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures… ~ 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Paul certainly understood Christ’s death in view of the Old Testament scriptures and did not have to teach contrary to the Old Testament’s motif when he speaks of Christ dying for our sins. Paul spoke of Christ’s death in view of the precedent set forth within the sacrificial system because those sacrifices foreshadowed Christ.

Jesus is our Redeemer, and he died for our sins as one who was pure and holy. There is no precedent in scripture which would indicate that the offerings for sin were made sinful with the sins of the people, which is how 2 Corinthians has been interpreted by some. Instead they were to be offered as unblemished sacrifices which were holy to the Lord.

Leviticus 6:25 says, “Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, saying, this is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed before the LORD: it is most holy.

Leviticus 22:21 tells us that the sacrifices which foreshadowed Christ had to be perfect in order to be accepted.

Christ was perfect. He was without sin. He knew no sin;. There was no spot or blemish in him. He died for our sins as a perfect and holy sacrifice, accepted by God.

Jesus Christ died as an unblemished lamb whose blood is pure and holy. The scripture says we were not redeemed with corruptible things, instead we were redeemed with the precious blood of Jesus Christ as from a lamb without spot or blemish (See 1 Peter 1:18-19). The teaching of the Bible is that our redemption is by virtue of the blood of Jesus.

Jesus is, was, and always will be holy, pure, and just. The apostle Peter declared that he is the holy and just One which the people rejected (Acts 3:14). Peter also declared that he is the prince of life and that the grave could not hold him because God would not allow his holy one to see corruption. (See Acts 2:24, 27; 3:15)

The Bible tells us that we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:5-10). It was in his body that he bore our sins (1 Peter 2:24) and it was his flesh that he gave for the life of the world (John 6:51) so that he could redeem us by his precious blood. ~ Ephesians 1:7