In this brief clip from his Ligonier teaching series Hath God Said?, Dr. R.C. Sproul considers the various ways the cross was viewed by people in the New Testament.
Notice how the cross was viewed by people in the New Testament. All we know if we’re an observer, a spectator, a member of the press—the Jerusalem Gazette, I’m assigned as a reporter to go out and witness the execution of a man whose been condemned for sedition by Pontius Pilate. And I watch this execution and I may go back to my pressroom and I write up the report in saying, “This afternoon a Jewish, seditious, pretender to the throne was justly executed by the Roman Empire.”
Or I can go to the palace of Caiaphas and say, “Caiaphas, what was the significance of that out there today? Was that simply the execution of a political zealot?” Caiaphas would say, “No, I see that as a historical expedient. It was necessary for the good of this nation that one man die.” That was Caiaphas’ observation.
And maybe then I go and interview the Centurion at the foot of the cross and he says to me, “I don’t know. Something strange happened here this afternoon. That man was different from any man we’ve ever executed; I think He’s the Son of God.”
Then you go and you read the letters of the Apostle Paul. And Paul tells us that what happened on the cross was an event of cosmic importance. That an atonement took place here by which those who receive Christ, among the human race, are reconciled to their Creator.
That this is the lamb of God who was slain. This was the sacrifice offered to satisfy the demands of God’s justice.