A sinless life laid down for us

The prophet Isaiah tells us that God the Father "laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6) and "for the transgressions of My people He was stricken" (verse 8). Then Isaiah asserts His innocence—"He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth" (verse 9).

Peter, picking up on Isaiah's words after Jesus" death, confirms that this was so. "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 'who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth"; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body . . ." (1 Peter 2:21-24).

This is an amazing legacy! No sin—not in word, deed or even thought, even under the greatest temptation and stress! Hebrews 4:15 says it this way: He "was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin."

Some people may claim to be righteous, maybe even perfect. But few will take them seriously, especially those well acquainted with them. But with Jesus, those closest to Him—who traveled with Him, ate with Him and walked and talked with Him constantly throughout His ministry—testified to and were willing to die for their belief that He was the sinless Son of God.

Jesus challenged His enemies, "Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?" (John 8:46, NIV). The record shows that all the enemies of Jesus could do was hurl wild, unsubstantiated allegations: "We were not born of fornication . . ."—implying that He was (verse 41); "He deceives the people " (John 7:12); and "He has a demon and is mad" (10:20). Even at His trial His accusers had to resort to false witnesses because no one could testify to any wrong He had ever done (Matthew 26:59-61).

Even those who were not His disciples agreed that the character of Jesus of Nazareth was without blame. Pilate's verdict was, "I find no fault in Him" (John 19:6). The centurion who oversaw Jesus' execution, having witnessed a mind and spirit unlike any he had ever seen, "glorified God, saying, 'Certainly this was a righteous Man!'" (Luke 23:47).

One of the criminals who was crucified with Jesus added his testimony to the righteousness he witnessed. He rebuked the other condemned man: "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong" (verses 40-41).

Jesus lived a sinless and a virtuous life as confirmed by those who knew and observed Him in everyday as well as difficult circumstances. Even members of His own family who had known Him from childhood—His half brothers who initially didn't believe in Him (John 7:5)—came to accept Him as the perfect, sinless Son of God (see "Jesus' Family Connections," beginning on page 68). His life of character was itself evidence of the truth He claimed about Himself.

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