Paul was an apostle, “born out of due time” (1 Corinthians 15:8). Like the other apostles, Jesus chose Paul to be “a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.” Paul would open the eyes of the Gentiles to “turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:15b-18).
In the beginning of Paul’s letter to the churches throughout Galatia, he directed their attention to several facts regarding Jesus’ death. Let us consider five facts regarding’s Jesus’ death as seen in Galatians 1:1-5.
Jesus did not remain dead. God raised Him up! (Galatians 1:1) Despite what the unbelievers may have claimed, Jesus did not remain dead in the tomb. When Mary saw Jesus standing outside the tomb, Jesus said, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:17, ESV). Mary was not the only witness to the resurrected Jesus. Consider the following words from Paul’s first epistle to the church in Corinth: “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: 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, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8, NKJV). Truly, God raised Jesus from the dead.
The resurrection of Jesus gives us great hope and peace (Galatians 1:3). Jesus’ resurrection from the dead made it possible for us to also overcome death. The apostle Paul wrote, “So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57, NKJV).
Jesus gave Himself for our sins (Galatians 1:4). Jesus loved us so much, He was willing to endure the agony of the cross so we could be freed from sin. In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul wrote, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, . . .” (Ephesians 5:25, NKJV). Paul also acknowledged Jesus’ willingness to die in his letters to both Timothy (1 Timothy 2:6) and Titus (2:14). We must never forget Jesus’ personal willingness to come to this earth and suffer a horrible death for our salvation.
Jesus died to “deliver us from this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4). When Jesus died for our sins, He made a way of deliverance to all who obey. Jesus’ death makes possible a person’s deliverance from the clutches of this evil age. Consider what happens when we become united with Jesus in the likeness of His death: “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin” (Romans 6:5-7, NKJV). Jesus paid the price to make possible our freedom from sin.
Jesus’ death was “according to the will of our God and Father” (Galatians 1:4). Jesus’ death was not unexpected. The devil was not victorious over Jesus. Jesus’ death on the cross was the Father’s plan. Jesus reminded the people that God sent His only begotten son (John 3:16). Regarding God’s part in Jesus’ coming to die, the apostle John wrote, “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10, NKJV).
Jesus was not some prophet killed for His religious beliefs and conviction. Jesus was the Christ, the anointed One. Jesus “emptied Himself,” taking on the “form of a bond-servant” and was “made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7, NASB). Jesus “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even the death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8, NASB). After which, “God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9, NASB). As a result, we are to give Jesus “glory forevermore. Amen.” (Galatians 1:5, NASB)