March 22, 2018

How Did His Death Save Me?

March 22, 2018


John 19:30

This weekend’s reading: John 19:30

On the cross Jesus cries out, “It is finished!”

During my third week in seminary, my New Testament professor’s sudden stroke left him disabled to teach. Our dean then told us to write a significant paper on a New Testament topic of our choice, which was our new assignment for our class.

Having a logical rational mind, I chose the topic “How did Jesus’ death on the cross actually save us?” I was shocked to learn that thousands of books have been written on this topic. This is known as the “theory of atonement” or at-one-ment which is how we become once again at one with God. I then learned of nearly one-hundred different explanations of how Jesus’ death saved us.

Most explanations are variations of the following:

Substitution – “Jesus took our place so we wouldn’t have to die”
Penalty – “Jesus paid the penalty for our sin”
Trickery – “God deceitfully paid off Satan with a bribe”
Ransom – “God paid Satan what is owed Satan”
Appeasement or Satisfaction – “Jesus appeased an angry God through human sacrifice”
Moral – “Jesus’ death was a moral example for the rest of us”
Acceptance – “God chose to accept us through Jesus’ death”

I ended up with a 96-page paper, the equivalent of a master’s thesis, detailing all that I learned. I wrote it in such a way to lead me to a definitive conclusion. To my frustration, I could not reach a rational conclusion. So, I ended, “I just don’t know how Jesus’ death helped us become at one with God again. I guess it is simply an act of faith.”

My professor gave me an A+ on the paper. Of the entire 96 pages, he only had one red mark and one written comment on the entire paper. He underlined my conclusion and wrote, “It’s about time you figured this out.”

Our scripture for Sunday emphasizes Jesus saying, “It is finished.” May we all receive “it” – our salvation – is by faith.


  • Whether you understand it or not, have you truly received Jesus’ saving grace by faith?
  • What is your plan for today that shows you have received his grace?


  • Share times when you may have saved someone from making a disastrous decision, or mistake.
  • Share times when someone saved you from making a disastrous decision, or mistake.
  • Talk about what it means to you that Jesus saved you?

Most loving gracious Lord, you saved us on the cross. We don’t really understand how you did it, yet we know you did. We simply accept it as we accept your love and grace. Thank you, Lord Jesus.