Full text of Derek Prince’s teaching titled ‘The Exchange at the Cross’ which was delivered in New Zealand, February 1987.
Notable quote from this message:
‘The key is that on the cross, a divinely ordained exchange took place. All the evil that was due by justice to the human race, to each of us individually, was visited upon Jesus, that all the good due to the sinless obedience of Jesus might be made available to us who believe.’
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Derek Prince – Bible teacher
Hebrew 10:14, which speaks about what Jesus accomplished by His death on the cross.
‘For by one offering (or by one sacrifice) He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”
JESUS PROVIDED IN EVERY NEED
The one offering, or the one sacrifice is the sacrifice He made of Himself on the cross. And by that one offering, He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. That means to say: He has provided every need for time and eternity in every area of the life of every person who trusts in Him.
There is nothing more that He has to do. He has done it all. It is one complete, all sufficient sacrifice. That’s the first part of that statement.
Now then, it speaks about those who are being sanctified or set apart to God or drawn closer to God. That’s an ongoing process.
What Jesus has done is once for all, it’s total complete. But our appreciation of it, our appropriation of it, is progressive, but we need to start from the fact that the actual sacrifice is totally complete.
When I minister in the Third World, as I do quite often, I try to use very simple pictures that will help the people to understand. Actually, the same simple pictures will help people in New Zealand, too, but people in New Zealand might not realize it.
And so I just want to share with you two pictures that I used. First of all, in Pakistan a year and a half ago, Pakistan is a 98% Muslim country with 84 million people. The Christians, and they’re only really nominal Christian Muslims, are just a tiny, oppressed, despised minority.
But the Lord opened the way for Ruth and me with a team of five others to go and spend nine days in three of the main cities, proclaiming the word of God. It was announced in advance that we would pray for the sick.
Well, our first meeting was in Karachi, which is the main port, a city of about 8 million people. And before we went to the meeting, the leader of the team that had invited us, a team of indigenous local Pakistani Christians, took us to see the Christian quarter of Karachi.
And I have seen a lot of poverty in my life, but I have never seen such poverty and such squalor. It really almost made me physically ill. And I got a little glimpse of what it’s like to be a Christian in a Muslim nation.
Well, they announced that they just had one meeting in Karachi because other preachers had been there first, and then they were going to take us to other parts of the country where other preachers had not been.
So I said to the leader, I said, ‘Where are we going to hold this first meeting?’
He said, ‘in our Church.’
Well, having measured the total economic state of the people, I wondered what that would be like. I said, ‘How many people are you expecting?’
He said, about 600.
I said, ‘How many does your Church hold?’
He said 300.
So I didn’t bother to reason that out. So they packed our team up in a little van and drove to the area of Karachi where the meetings were to be held.
True to Pakistani time, we arrived 1 hour late. When we got near the place where the Church was, we never saw the Church, because at a main intersection – it was not main roads, it was just dust roads.
There were about 3000 people just packed in this intersection. This was the congregation. The reason why they’d come; very simple. They heard we would pray for the sick.
So they squeezed me in through the crowd and got me onto a little platform just big enough for me and my Bible and a pulpit. And I was surrounded by every side by Pakistanis. I mean there was no space, there were no aisles, nothing. And they were all squatting on the ground.
So I thought to myself, ‘God, what am I going to say to these people?’
And God gave me this thought which is I’m sharing with you. I said to them, ‘Now if you people were all hungry, and I were the owner of an Orange Grove, there’s two things I could do for you. I could get an orange from my grove and give you one which would temporarily stave off your hunger. The other thing I could do is take you to my Orange Grove, show you the trees laden with fruit and say help yourself.’
I said, ‘Tonight I’m going to take you to the Orange Grove and you can help yourself. That’s what I’m going to do here tonight. I’m going to take you to the Orange Grove.’
The Orange Grove is the truth about the cross. And so I preached to them in brief outline what I’m going to preach to you tonight.
And then I said, ‘Now how many of you would like to receive Jesus as your personal Savior?’
And I suppose half the people stood which was about 1500 people. Now of those at least 500 or more were Moslems. I can’t take time to explain to you the differences between Islam and Christianity. But one thing is they do not believe that Jesus died on the cross, and they do not acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God.
So when these people stood up, of course all this was through an interpreter. I led them in a prayer and asked every one of them to follow me. And I began the prayer this way, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that you are the Son of God and the only way to God, that you died on the cross for my sins and rose again from the dead.’
And they all repeated those words out loud after me. Now I’m not saying they were all saved, but to get 500 or more Muslims in a Muslim country in front of their own Muslims, to say those words could only have been achieved by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Then I said to myself, now we’ve got to redeem our promise to pray for the sick. There was no way to get to them. In any case, it would have taken hours.
So I said, ‘how many of you want to be prayed for, for healing?’ And I think about 90% raised their hands, and I mean, they were sick. People in Pakistan are sick. There aren’t many really healthy people. That’s really quite typical of quite a lot of the Third World.
So I said, ‘I’m going to pray a prayer for you and I want you, if you’ve got some part of your body that’s sick, to put your hand on the sick part. And as I pray, believe that God will touch it.’
So I prayed a prayer. All this had to be done interpreted in Urdu, or I had finished praying. I thought, now we’ve got to do something about this.
So I said, ‘how many of you believe God healed you?’
Well, a few people, rather timidly, began to put their hands up. Then there was a disturbance about 10 feet away in front of me. One of the Pakistani Christians went down and discovered what had happened. A Moslem boy of 12 had been born deaf and dumb. He’d never heard and never spoken. And when I prayed, he received his hearing and began to try to speak.
They got him up on the platform and the place just went wild. Every Pakistani lady in the congregation determined that we ought to lay hands on them and they didn’t ask our consent. They just grabbed hold of our arms and placed our hands on their heads.
Well, news spreads; in the next place we went to, the crowds built to about 16,000. And the local Pakistanis estimated that in nine days between 8000 and 9000 people prayed for Salvation.
The leader of the group told me a year later that when we went there, he was responsible for five churches. A year later he was responsible for 18 churches.
Well, that was taking them to the Orange Grove. Do you see what I’m saying?
Well, then I was in Zambia, I think a little bit earlier, if I remember rightly, and I had a crowd of about 7000 Africans, mainly leaders, gathered.
And so I said to them, I plan to teach them on the cross systematically. And I did for about six successive mornings. And I said to them, they were all professing Christians, basically.
I said, ‘Now God has a wonderful storehouse and it’s filled with absolutely everything that you could ever need, whether it’s spiritual, material, physical, in time or in eternity. It’s just got everything you need. But the storehouse has a keeper. And in order to get anything out of the storehouse, you have to make friends with the keeper.’
And I said, you know the name of the keeper?
Well, some of them said Jesus. I said, that’s a good answer, but it’s not right. The keeper of the storehouse is the Holy Spirit.
All the wealth of the Godhead Father and Son is in the hands of the Holy Spirit. How important to understand that!
You see, you can have all the right doctrine. You can have all the right theory. You can say all the right things, but you only get as much as you get from the Holy Spirit. He keeps the storehouse.
Then I said to them, ‘The Holy Spirit has one key that opens the storehouse.’ Only one. And it’s got a very special shape. You know what the shape of the key is? And they didn’t guess.
So I said, ‘It’s the cross’.
And only when the Holy Spirit uses the cross to open the storehouse, do the treasures of God become available to you. But that’s a little introduction to what I’m going to teach you tonight.
DEREK WAS HEALED BY GOD’S WORD
I think also that I should support it from personal experience. I’ve mentioned earlier this evening that I came to know the Lord in an Army Barrack room of the British Army in World War II, about midnight.
I was so much of an ignorant pagan that I didn’t know you had to go to Church to get saved. So before anything had happened, I got saved in army barrack room. About ten days later, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit in the same army barrack room. See, nobody told me you had to go to Church to get baptism.
Within 24 hours, God gave me the gift of interpretation of tongues. I didn’t know you had to wait six months to get the spiritual gift.
Shortly after that, the British Army sent me overseas to North Africa. And I spent the next three years in the deserts of North Africa. During that time, I became sick with a condition that the doctors could not heal, a skin condition.
If you get the little book, ‘God’s Medicine Bottle‘, it’s got my personal testimony and how I eventually received healing.
Well I was moved from one hospital to another, and I ended up in a British military hospital in a place called El Ballah on the Suez Canal.
Well, there was a very unusual lady at that time in the city of Cairo. She was a Brigadier in the Salvation Army. She was a Brigadier because her husband, who had died, had been a Brigadier. And in the Salvation Army, the widow takes the husband’s rank.
She was 76 years old at the time, and there was very unusual Salvationist in those days because she was a tongue-speaker. And she was as militant about speaking in tongues as Salvationists normally are about Salvation.
She also had received divine healing from God in India of malaria 25 years previously and had never taken medicine since. I had met her once. And this precious lady, for whom I will always thank God, heard about this British soldier who was a Christian, lying in the hospital. And she gathered together a little party, a British soldier, a Christian, to drive the car, and a small car and her American lady co-worker from the state of Oklahoma, a young woman of about 25 or 30.
And they took this journey to El Ballah, parked the car in the compound of the hospital, and the Brigadier walked into the hospital ward with her bonnet, her ribbons, her uniform, and overawed the nurse and obtained permission for me to go out and sit in the car.
So I found myself, I really wasn’t consulted as to whether I wanted to do it or not. I found myself sitting in the car, in the back seat, a very small four seater car; in front were the driver in the driver’s seat, the Salvation Army Brigadier with him in front, and then this American lady missionary, the back seat beside me.
And the Brigadier said, let’s pray. And when the brigadier said, pray, you prayed. And we started to pray. And the American lady beside me started to shake, and I felt her whole body vibrating. And then she began to speak in a tongue. And of course, I knew what that was.
And then I started to shake, and then all the people in the car started to shake, and then the car started to shake. And I mean, that car was shaking as if it was going on a rough road at about 50 miles an hour, but it wasn’t moving and the engine wasn’t running.
Well, I knew that was God had come into that car. And furthermore, it humbled me to know that it was for my sake He’d come. And after the message or the utterance in tongues, this lady came out with what I knew to be the interpretation.
Now, New Zealanders probably won’t understand this, but I was very British. I mean I used to talk like the radio announcers of the BBC, and I’d not been exposed to many Americans. And this precious lady was from the state of Oklahoma.
Well, anybody who knows the United States will know that in the state of Oklahoma, they talk a very different language from what a Cambridge don would speak.
But when she came out with this interpretation, it was the most beautiful English. I had been a student of Shakespeare. I was a great admirer of Shakespeare in English, and I just marveled the elegance of this language.
And in the course of this interpretation, she said these words, which I have never forgotten, they are as clear to me today as they were in 1942. These were the words. And I want you to listen to them, because they had a life-changing impact on me: ‘Consider the work of Calvary: a perfect work, perfect in every respect, perfect in every aspect.’
Now, you’ll agree that is very elegant English. Most people couldn’t create a sentence like that.
Furthermore, it spoke to me, particularly because I had studied Greek for many, many years, and I was familiar with the Greek of the New Testament.
And if you read your New Testament in English, you’ll find that one of the last utterances of Jesus on the cross was, ‘It is finished.’ But in the Greek that’s one single word, tetelestai. And it’s the perfect tense of a verb that means to do something perfectly; so you could amplify it.
It is perfectly perfect. It is completely complete.
And so when the Holy Spirit said, ‘Consider the work of Calvary: a perfect work, perfect in every respect, perfect in every aspect’, my mind said that’s the Holy Spirit’s commentary on ‘It is finished’.
And I realized that the Holy Spirit was showing me that if I could understand what had been accomplished by the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross, all my needs could be met. There was nothing that I could not receive that I needed.
That was a revelation. I got out of that car just as sick as when I got in. But God had showed me where the answer to my problem was.
And that’s what I want to share with you tonight. We are going to have a healing service tomorrow night, and I trust that many will receive healing, but I question whether all will be healed. God does not heal everybody miraculously in a service.
There are many different ways to appropriate healing. I received my healing after that revelation. I was healed through Proverbs chapter four, verses 20 through 22.
‘My son, attend to My words, incline thine ear unto My sayings, Let them not depart from thine eyes, keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they (God’s words and sayings) are life to those who find them and health to all their flesh.’
And the alternative reading in the margin for health was ‘medicine’. And I said to myself, that settles it.
If God through His words, has provided health or medicine for all my flesh, there’s no room for sickness.
And so I was very simple. I decided to take God’s Word as my medicine. I was an orderly in the Royal Army Medical Corps, so I knew how people took their medicine: three times daily after meal. And that’s how I took God’s Word as medicine: three times daily after meal. And it did the job.
It healed me completely and permanently, in one of the most unhealthy climates in the world.
So what I’m saying to you is, God has His way to heal you. But whatever way healing comes, the basis is what was done by Jesus on the cross.
And I’m not going to offer you just an Orange. I’m going to invite you to the Orchard. Once you get in there, you can wander around and help yourself to all the oranges you want, and you’ll never strip God’s Orchard bare.
WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED ON THE CROSS?
Now I want to share with you out of Scripture what I learned as a result of that experience.
I set my mind to find out what had been accomplished by the death of Jesus on the cross. And I want to tell you, I’m still finding out. It’s an inexhaustible study, but I’ll share with you what I believe is the key to understanding the cross.
The key is that on the cross, a divinely ordained exchange took place. All the evil that was due by justice to the human race, to each of us individually, was visited upon Jesus, that all the good due to the sinless obedience of Jesus might be made available to us who believe.
Now, that’s very simple. It’s very basic. But as that truth unfolds, it contains everything you ever need.
I’m going to say it even more simply. All the evil due to us came upon Jesus, that all the good due to Jesus might be made available to us.
That was the Grace of God. We had no claim upon God. We couldn’t have demanded that He do it. We didn’t even know He was going to do it. We couldn’t understand what He was doing. But out of His free sovereign measureless grace, He arranged that exchange.
And furthermore, through His prophets, He had predicted it hundreds of years before it took place. Perhaps the main predictive prophecy is Isaiah 53.
And I want to turn there now and look at some of what is stated in Isaiah 53. It speaks about an unnamed ‘servant of the Lord.’ His name is not given.
But the Apostles and the writers of the New Testament were all unanimous in understanding that this unnamed ‘servant of the Lord’ in Isaiah 53 was Jesus of Nazareth.
And we’re going to look at just one verse for a moment, Isaiah 53 verse 6. This is the central verse of the last 27 chapters of Isaiah, and it really is the central verse of the atonement.
Isaiah 53:6: ‘All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him (that’s Jesus) the iniquity (or the guilt or the rebellion) of us all.’
What is the universal guilt of the human race? We have not all robbed a bank, or committed adultery, or stolen, or got drunk. There are many things we could say we haven’t done.
But there’s one thing we’ve all done: We have turned, every one, to his own way. And that in one simple word is rebellion.
Rebellion is the universal guilt of the human race. No matter what nation, no matter what color, no matter what race, we are all guilty of rebellion.
The mercy of God is that when Jesus hung on the cross, the Lord visited upon Him the iniquity or the guilt, or the rebellion of us all. Now that word in Hebrew, and I will not take time tonight to quote passages from the Old Testament, but that Hebrew word, and the Hebrew word is ‘Avon’, means not only guilt or rebellion, but it means also all the evil consequences of guilt. The same word means both.
So God visited upon Jesus on the cross the guilt or rebellion of the whole human race and all the evil consequences of rebellion, that we might be freed from those evil consequences, and receive the benefits of the righteousness of Jesus.
Now we’re going to look at about eight or maybe nine — depends how much time we have — aspects of that exchange. I want you to grasp this very clearly, and I’m going to do it with my left hand for the evil, my right hand for the good.
The evil came upon Jesus that the good might be made available to us.
Let’s look now at some specific aspects of the exchange, and we look first of all at the two previous verses of Isaiah 53, verse four, five.
‘Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our inequities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes (or His wounds) we are healed.’
JESUS WAS WOUNDED, WE ARE HEALED
There are two aspects to those verses. There’s the spiritual, and there’s the physical.
The spiritual first, Jesus was punished for our transgressions and our iniquities. And because He was punished, we can be forgiven; and being forgiven, we have peace with God.
As long as we are unforgiven, we have no peace with God. Peace with God comes only through forgiveness. But forgiveness has been made possible, because Jesus bore the punishment for our iniquities.
So I want to do it very simply. Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven.
All right. Now, I want you to share with me in this, and I want you to use your hands. I want you to get really involved with your total being in this truth. Watch me once and then I’m going to ask you to do together.
Jesus was punished, that we might be forgiven. All right.
Now we’re going to say it all together; with left hand, the evil, the right hand, the good. And remember, your right hand is opposite my left. Don’t get confused about that, except for those of you who are behind me. All right. Are you ready?
Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven. All right. That’s the first aspect of the exchange.
Now, in the same verses, it says, ‘Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.’
But those are not literal translations. The literal translation is: He has borne our pains, and carried our sicknesses and the consequences; With His wounds, we are… what… healed.
You see, I feel that you need to have that confirmed. Keep your finger in Isaiah 53, turn to two passages of the New Testament.
First of all, Matthew, chapter 8. This is simply an accident of translation that nearly all of the English translations do not translate those words with their very clear literal translation.
Now, some other languages do. The Scandinavian languages use the normal pain, their normal words for sicknesses and pains, Luther’s German translations uses Krankheit and Schmerz which are the two words for sickness and pain. It’s just an unfortunate accident.
And I think millions of English-speaking Christians have been in some way deprived of a revelation of the physical aspect of the healing of Jesus.
If you look now, in Matthew 8, verses 16 and 17, this is the beginning of the public Ministry of Jesus.
Matthew 8: 16-17: ‘When evening had come, they brought to Him (Jesus) many who were demon possessed, and He cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken by Isaiah the Prophet, saying, ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.’
What’s he quoting? Isaiah 53, verses 4 and 5. See, Matthew was a Jew. He understood Hebrew, and also he was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Now turn to 1 Peter 2, verse 24. Peter is again quoting Isaiah 53; 1 Peter 2:24. It’s the middle of a sentence, but we won’t let that disturb us.
1 Peter 2:24: ‘Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, (that’s the cross) that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by whose stripes (or wounds) you were healed.‘
The Greek verb for healing there is the standard Greek word for physical healing, from which comes the Greek word for a doctor. And it still has the same meaning in modern Greek today.
So it’s very clear on the cross Jesus took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses, and with His wounds we are healed. He was the substitute.
So we’ll do it now, the left hand and the right. I’ll do it once and then I invite you to do it with me.
Jesus was wounded that we might be… what… healed. That’s right. You don’t have to be a theologian to understand that. All right. In fact, theologians probably find it difficult. Okay. Are you ready?
Jesus was wounded that we might be healed. Okay. That’s the first two aspects of the exchange.
Number one, Jesus was punished, that we might be forgiven.
Number two, Jesus was wounded that we might be healed.
JESUS WAS MADE SIN, WE ARE MADE RIGHTEOUS
Now if you go down to verse 10 in Isaiah 53, you’ll find a further unfolding of what was accomplished.
Isaiah 53:10: ‘Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise or crush Him (Jesus); He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.’
Notice that middle phrase, ‘when You shall make His soul an offering for sin.’ Alternatively, it could be translated and it makes no difference to the sense, ‘when His soul shall make a sin offering’.
Whatever way you translate it, the fact is that Jesus’ soul was made the sin offering for the whole of humanity.
Now the same word that’s translated ‘sin offering’ or guilt or guilt offering is also translated ‘guilt’ in the Old Testament. The reason is that according to the law of the sin offering in the Levitical priesthood, when a person sinned, he had to bring his sacrificial offering. It might be a sheep, it might be a goat, it might be a ram, it might be a bullock.
He brought it to the priest, confessed his sins to the priest. The priest laid his hands on the head of the animal that was the offering and symbolically transferred the sin from the man to the offering to the animal. And then the priest killed the animal and not the man.
In other words, the animal paid the penalty for the man’s sin, because the animal had become identified with the sin of the man.
Now, the New Testament makes it clear that in the last resort, bullocks and sheep and goats cannot atone for man’s sin. They were just preliminary prophetic pictures of Jesus. But Jesus’ soul really became the sin offering. And in becoming the sin offering, He became sin.
Now, if you keep your finger in Isaiah 53 and turn to 2 Corinthians 5:21, you’ll find Paul’s rendering of this fact.
2 Corinthians 5:21. And I’m going to put in the nouns in place of the pronouns, just to make it more clear: ‘For God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.’
Now, unless you understand the ordinances of the Old Testament sacrifices, you wouldn’t fully appreciate that in 2 Corinthians 5:21, Paul is quoting Isaiah 53:10: ‘When You make His soul an offering for sin’, because when His soul became the offering for sin, His soul became sin with the sinfulness of humanity.
Now, you don’t have to be a theologian to discern the exchange. I’ll say it once and I expect you to get it right first time when I say it with you.
Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness, that we might be made righteous with His righteousness.
Let’s look at that 2 Corinthians 5:21 again, so you’ll be sure you’ve got it. ‘God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him’.
Notice the exchange. Jesus made sin with our sinfulness, that we might be made righteous. With whose righteousness? His righteousness, not ours. His.
All right, I’ll say it once and I expect you to follow me. Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness that we might be made righteous with His righteousness.
Can you heave a sigh of relief? You don’t have to struggle to do your best to be righteous. You have to receive by faith the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Any lower level of righteousness will never get you into heaven, but God has made provision for you and me to be made righteous with the righteousness of God.
JESUS TASTED DEATH, WE SHARE HIS LIFE
All right, the next exchange, we will turn to Hebrews chapter 2 and verse 4. We could turn to many different passages, but this, I think, is the simplest and shortest. Hebrews two. It’s not verse four. I made a mistake. It’s verse nine. Excuse me, I wrote down the wrong verse.
Hebrews 2:9: ‘But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.’
So the wages or the penalty of sin is death. When Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness, it was inevitable that He would have to pay the penalty, which is death. So Jesus tasted death for us.
Now you don’t have to be a theologian to know the opposite, that we might what? Share His life.
John 10:10: ‘The thief cometh only to steal, to kill, to destroy. But I am come that they might have… what… life and have it more abundantly.’
So the exchange is very simple. Jesus tasted death for us, that we might, I like to say, share His life. Okay.
Are you ready?
Jesus tasted death for us, that we might share His life.
Can you see how very clear it is, how very logical, how very practical? Mind you, I’d have to say, it took me a good many years to mine these truths out of the word of God.
I’m sharing with you in an hour or two, things that have cost me hours and days and weeks and months and years. I say cost. But after all, it was a blessing and a privilege.
All right, the next exchange is stated in Galatians, chapter 3. Have you got ‘From Curse to Blessing’?
Galatians 3:13-14: ‘Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’).’
Remember that the cross is called a tree, because in some languages, Hebrew is one and Swahili East Africa is another. A tree is a tree, whether it’s growing or whether it’s cut down. Understand. So the cross was a cut-down tree.
Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.
Verse 14. ‘That the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.’
Now, how many theologians do we have here who can discern the two opposites? What is the evil? Curse. What is the good? Blessing.
All right, so Jesus on the cross was made a curse. It says in the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 21, verses 22 and 23, that ‘anyone who is hung on a tree becomes a curse.’
So when Jesus was hung on the tree of the cross, every Jew who knew his Torah, his Old Testament, knew that Jesus had been made a curse. He was visibly made a curse.
He was made a curse that we might receive the blessing. This is an area which God has led me into in the last four or five years. And because I’m not going to have time to go into detail, I want to just recommend to you the same book that I mentioned earlier, ‘How to Pass from Curse to Blessing’.
It’s not fair just to leave you knowing that you’ve been redeemed from the curse that you might receive. This is the ‘how to’ of it.
7 Common Indications Of A Curse
Let me just mention seven common indications of a curse. Now most curses don’t concern merely individuals. They concern families or larger communities. And the essential feature of both curse and blessing in the Bible is that they go on from generation to generation to generation, unless something happened to cut them off.
So we have dealt with people whose problems went back hundreds of years. I don’t know whether any Scottish people here tonight, don’t put your hand up if there are. But I have learned that the Scots were a nation of curses, not in the sense of swearing, but in cursing one another.
And Ruth and I have dealt in the last few years with two families who had curses pronounced on them in the 1600s that were still at work in those families. One was in Scotland, the other was in Australia.
Anyhow, just very briefly, let me give you on the basis of my personal observation, seven common indications that there may be a curse over your life.
Now if there’s only one of these, I’m not saying for sure there is a curse. But if there are several of them, and if they are found in your family in different areas and in different generations, you can be almost sure that there is a curse.
Here they are: first of all, mental and emotional breakdown.
Second, repeated or chronic sicknesses, especially if they’re hereditary, because the hereditary is the indication of the curse.
Third, repeated miscarriages or related female problems. And in our ministry to the sick, Ruth and I have come to the place when we encounter that we simply deal with it as a curse.
Four, breakdown of marriage and family alienation. If there’s a history in your family of falling apart and splitting up and it goes on and on and repeated and repeated, you can be sure there’s a curse over that family.
Five, financial insufficiency, if it continues. All of us can know insufficiency at certain times. But if it’s persistent and we never got out from under it, you can be almost sure it’s a curse.
Six, what they call accident prone; are naturally prone to accident. And this is an objective statistical fact which insurance companies take into account when they assess your insurance premium.
And seven, in a family, a history of suicides or unnatural death.
Now we’re not going to dwell on that tonight, but we’re going to affirm the solution. Thank God we never, as Christians, have to focus exclusively on the problems. We deal with the problem in order to point to the solution. So we’re going to deal with this one now.
Jesus was made a curse that we might receive the blessing. You’re all theologians tonight. All right. Are you ready?
It’s not just a formality. You’re saying this; every time you say it, God and the Holy Angels and the Holy Spirit are all taking note of what you’re saying. Remember, Jesus is the High Priest of what? Your confession. That’s right. You are making a confession. All right.
We’d say it together. Jesus was made a curse that we might receive the blessing. Amen. All right.
JESUS ENDURED POVERTY, WE SHARE HIS ABUNDANCE
The next one is really part of that, but it’s such an important part that I deal with it separately.
Jesus on the cross endured our poverty that we might share His wealth.
Now, this came to me as a revelation years ago here in New Zealand. I was invited over with my first wife one year to speak. And when we got here, they had promised to pay our fares to and from the United States. They didn’t have the money, but that was all right. They said, ‘we are going to take up an offering and we want you to preach on offering’.
So I was motivated, if I remember rightly, it was in Auckland. Well, I’ve taught on money many times and I’ve got that book there. That’s part of my teaching: God’s plan for your money.
So I had my outline and I was preaching on it. But a strange thing happened: as I was going through my outline, mentally I was seeing Jesus on the cross, and I saw Him as He really was: stripped totally naked.
And as I defined the aspects of poverty, I saw that every one of them exactly applied to Jesus on the cross. Well, they took the offering at the end and they had four cartons used for apples at the front of us on the platform.
And the people streamed forward to put their money in or to put in their pledges. And that one offering covered the total expenses of everything.
Next day, Lydia and I were in Auckland with the pastor, and we met the people going to their savings accounts to draw out the money that they’d promised the previous night. I have never seen a more abundant offering, and the people were what the Bible calls hilarious givers; they were almost intoxicated with the excitement of giving.
But now I’ll share with you the revelation that I got. First of all, let’s do the Scriptures, the New Testament Scriptures, 2 Corinthians chapter 8:9…
2 Corinthians 8:9: ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes, He became poor, that you, through His poverty, might be rich.’
Now, you don’t have to be a theologian to see the opposite, do you? What’s the bad thing? Poverty. What’s the good thing? Riches. All right.
Now, the opposite side of the exchange is in 2 Corinthians 9:8, which Ruth and I have already recited once. Come on sweetheart. We’ll do it again. I feel better every time we do it. You’ve got to get near to the microphone. Okay, now wait a minute. All right.
‘God is able to make all grace abound toward us, that we, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.’
See if you can find any area that’s not covered by that promise. God is able to make all grace abound toward us. That’s not some grace, but all grace, that we, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.
That’s the level of God’s provision for His people made possible by the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus on the cross:
He was made poor that we might share… I prefer to say abundance, because I don’t think it’s necessarily scriptural that every Christian will have a large bank account or drive a Rolls-Royce. But I do believe it’s God’s will for every Christian to have his needs supplied and enough left over to give to others, because it’s more blessed to give than to receive.
And God doesn’t want any of His children to live on the lower level of blessing. So He provides abundance that we may be able to have the higher level of giving to others.
Now, some people picture Jesus in His earthly Ministry as a kind of poor preacher wandering around in rags, looking for handouts. I don’t think that was true. I don’t think He was poor. He was clothed like a normal man of His day, and He had a very elegant seamless robe on top of the others, which were so valuable that the soldiers at the cross wouldn’t divide it. They cast lots for it.
I just say this. Jesus didn’t carry a lot of cash. He just used His Father’s credit card. And it was always honored. I mean, any man who can feed 5000 men plus women and children in a wilderness and leave them abundantly satisfied is not poor.
There was a time when the question arose about the tax money. He didn’t send Peter to the bank. He sent him to the sea of Galilee. But I mean, the money came. What difference does it make?
Jesus said at the Last Supper to His disciples, ‘When I sent you out without staff or purse or other provision, did you lack anything?’ And what did they answer? Nothing.
There’s a lot of missionaries who got abundant allowances and equipped with cars and houses who lack a lot of things. But those first Apostles lacked nothing, because they were supplied out of God’s abundance.
All right, let’s look now for a moment at the Chapter of Curses, which is that how many of you know which is the chapter of curses? Deuteronomy, chapter 28. That’s right. It’s blessings and curses. It’s got 68 verses. It’s a long chapter. The first 14 verses are blessings, and the remaining 54 verses are curses.
And if you’re ever in doubt as to what a curse is, just read those 54 verses. You may find that as a Christian you’ve been enduring curses when you should have been enjoying blessing.
Now in the middle of this, two verses in the list of curses: 47 and 48. And please note, this is a curse.
Deuteronomy 28:47-48: ‘Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart for the abundance of all things.’ That’s God’s will, but the alternative for the unbelieving and the disobedient. ‘Therefore, you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of all things.’
Take those four statements: Hunger, thirst, nakedness, need of all things.
What is that? In one word? Poverty. That’s right. Absolute poverty. You can have no greater poverty than that: being hungry, thirsty, naked and need of all things.
Now picture Jesus for a moment on the cross: He was hungry. He hadn’t eaten for 24 hours.
He was thirsty. One of His last statements was ‘I thirst’.
He was naked. They’d stripped Him of all His clothes and He was in need of everything. He didn’t have a single thing. When the time came for Him to be buried, He was buried in a borrowed robe and a borrowed tomb. Why? Because He exhausted the poverty curse, that we might have what? The abundance? That’s right.
See the exchange?
All right, let’s say it. I’ll say it once, and then you say it with me.
Jesus endured our poverty, that we might share His abundance.
Look happy. It’s good news. I tell Christians it’s no sin for a Christian to be happy.
We’ll quickly do two more aspects. Our time is beginning to run out, and I want to just wrap it up in a minute, but Jesus, and I’m going to say this endured our shame, that we might share His glory.
JESUS ENDURED SHAME, WE SHARE HIS GLORY
If you turn to Matthew 27, you’ll find the description of the crucifixion.
Matthew 27: 35-36: ‘Then they crucified Him and divided His garments, casting lots.’ They took from Him all His clothes. A man in those days had four items of clothing. There were four soldiers. One soldier took one item each. Then they cast lots for the seamless robe.
Then it says in verse 36, ‘Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there.’
Now, I want to say this in a way that is discreet. But Jesus was exposed naked to the eyes of all who passed by. And it’s a very interesting thing that you’ll notice in the record of the Gospels, the women that came with Him stood at a distance. The only woman who came close was His mother. The Bible is so discreet.
He endured our shame. Now what’s the opposite? We’ll turn to Hebrews again, chapter two and verse ten, the very next verse after the one we looked at.
Hebrews 2:10: ‘For it was fitting for Him (that’s God the Father), for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory to make the author of their salvation, (that’s Jesus) perfect through sufferings.’
What was God’s purpose to bring many sons to what? To glory. How was that made possible? Because Jesus endured our shame that we might share His glory.
I’ve discovered in counseling people that one of the deepest wounds of the human heart is shame. And there are many different causes. But one very common cause in our contemporary culture is in children who’ve been sexually abused in childhood, and in America, they estimate that’s true of one in every four children in the United States. And it leaves a scar, a shame.
But thank God, we don’t have to stop with the problem. We’ve got the solution. And I have helped many people. Jesus endured your shame that you might share His glory.
You’ll find some people, I’m not looking at anybody, so I want to be very careful. But you see some people who, when they pray, never lift their face up to God. They always keep their head down like that. Usually the problem is shame.
When a person is delivered, Job said, I will lift up my face without spot to God. Many times we’re not aware of the secret bondage that haunts us, but the release from every bondage is provided through the cross.
So let’s do the exchange. I think you can do it this time without my coaching you. You’re a wonderful group of people. All right.
Jesus endured our shame that we might share His glory.
JESUS ENDURED REJECTION, WE HAVE HIS ACCEPTANCE
All right, now just one more and we’re going to close. That’s not the end of the list, but it’s the end for the night.
The final exchange is between rejection and acceptance.
And here again, in ministering to people, I have come to the conclusion that rejection is the deepest wound that the human hearts can bear.
A mark of rejection is that such a person always feels on the outside looking in: Others can get in. I can’t.
Another mark of rejection is the inability to express love. John says, we love God because He first loved us. I believe we can’t express love if love has never been expressed to us. It takes the expression of love to release the expression of love.
And the commonest single reason why so many in our contemporary civilization carry the wound of rejection is the attitude and conduct of parents.
First of all, if a woman is pregnant and resents the little new life that she’s carrying in her womb and says things like, I wish I wasn’t going to have another baby, that little life feels that rejection in the womb, and the baby is frequently born with a spirit of rejection. I’ve dealt with this in many cases.
Then again, when a baby is born, the first longing of every child planted in it by God is for warm, expressed, outgoing love from parents, and primarily from fathers.
I have come to the conclusion it’s a father’s love, warm and expressed, that gives a child security: all the strength of being held in daddy’s arms and clasped against his chest.
But you see, in our contemporary culture, I think in the United States, 50% of children today never receive that. And they go through life with this inner wound of rejection.
Oh, how I thank God that there’s a solution. Let me relate this little story. I won’t make it long, but I was in a camp meeting some years back in the United States, and I was due to preach. And I was walking across the campground, and I was in danger of being late for my assignment.
So I was walking very quickly, and there was a lady walking just as quickly in the opposite direction. And we ran into one another. So after we kind of pulled us ourselves together, she said, ‘Mr. Prince, I was praying that if God wanted me to speak to you, we’d meet.’
Well, I said, we have met, but I can only give you two minutes because I have to be in the auditorium to preach. So tell me what your problem is.
And she spoke for about 1 minute. She would have gone on for 20.
I said, ‘Listen, I have no more time. I think I understand your problem. I want you to say this prayer after me’. And I didn’t have in mind exactly what I was going to pray. I didn’t tell her what I was going to pray, but I prayed something like this.
‘God, I thank you that you are my father, that I am your child. You really loved me. I’m not rejected. I’m not unwanted. I’m a member of the family of God, the best family in the universe. Thank you, God. You are my father. I am your child. You love me and I love you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, God.’
And I said, ‘There you are. Goodbye.’
About a month later, I got a letter from that lady. She described the situation, how we’d met so that she’d be sure that I knew who she was. And she said, ‘I just want to tell you, Mr. Prince, praying that simple prayer after you has completely changed my life.’
What happened to her? She passed from rejection to acceptance.
She realized what it was to be a child of God. Listen, if your parents failed you, there’s a lot of things we can’t change in the past. But your relationship to God, we can guarantee.
Look at this picture of Jesus. And this is the last one we look at.
Matthew 27: 45-51: ‘Now, from the sixth hour, which was twelve noon until the ninth hour, that’s 03:00 p.m., there was darkness over all the land.’
Matthew 27: 46: ‘And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying, ‘Eli, Eli, Lama sabachthani?’, that is ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’
‘Some of those who stood there when they heard that, said, ‘This Man is calling for Elijah.’ Immediately, one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to Him to drink. The rest said, ‘Let Him alone; Let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.’
Jesus, when He cried out again with a loud voice, yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.’
You see, Jesus did not die of the physical effects of crucifixion. When Pilate heard He was already dead, he was surprised because normally He would have lived maybe 2 hours longer.
What did He die of? He died of a broken heart. What broke His heart? Rejection. By whom? By the Father. That’s right.
For the first time in the history of the universe, the Son of God cried out to the Father, and the Father did not answer. Stopped His ears, averted His eyes. Why? Because Jesus had been made sin with our sinfulness, and God cannot look upon sin with favor.
Jesus endured our rejection, and immediately after that, He gave up His spirit. And the first thing that happened was the temple veil was torn in two from top to bottom. It was extremely thick. Human beings couldn’t have torn it in two even from the bottom. But it was from top to bottom because it was the affirmation that God had done it. That was the veil that separated unholy men from a Holy God.
And when Jesus endured our rejection, God gave us His acceptance as His children.
Let’s look to Ephesians chapter one for a moment. Ephesians the first chapter, we’ll read verses three through six.
Ephesians 1:3-6: ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be Holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His Grace by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.’
What’s the exchange? See if you can say it without my coaching.
Jesus endured our rejection that we might have His acceptance. Wonderful.
We’ll do it again. Jesus endured our rejection that we might have His acceptance.
Let me very quickly go through the eight aspects of the exchange that we’ve looked at and I’ll do them with my hands. I’ll tell you what, I’ll do them once and then you do them after me the second time. Now we’re not going to delay. Time is slipping away. All right.
RECAP OF THE 8 EXCHANGES AT THE CROSS
Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven. Listen, this time I want you to make it personal. Don’t say we say I.
Jesus was punished that I might be forgiven. Can you heave a sigh of relief?
Jesus was wounded that I might be healed.
Jesus was made sin with my sinfulness that I might be made righteous with His righteousness.
Jesus died my death that I might share His life.
Jesus was made a curse for me that I might receive the blessing.
Jesus endured my poverty that I might share His abundance.
Jesus endured my shame that I might share His glory.
Jesus endured my rejection that I might have His acceptance.
Now if we really believe that, you know what we have to do, we have to thank God. There’s just nothing else we can do; let’s take a little while to thank Him. Shall we? All of us. Freely thank Him, that’s the best expression of faith is to thank Him. Thank Him. Thank Him. Amen.
Thank you, Lord; thank you, Jesus; thank you, Lord Jesus. Praise your wonderful name!