Recently, I told a close friend of mine that I won’t write unless I am doing so to encourage other people. I am not sure what exactly constitutes an encouraging piece of writing, but recently, the topic had been full-blown to me that I feel compelled to write this blog post.
There are so many myths related to those who suffer from depression. I would like to address some of the hardest ones as one who suffers from depression. I feel that by understanding a bit of what goes on in our minds, I hope the reader can find some encouragement on how to support those who are in need.
Depression can be a lifelong battle. In some cases, medication and counselling can help to balance moods and learn skills to cope with the disorder, but I believe that depression can strike back at any time. The thing I found the hardest is people expecting a quick recovery from depression. When I tell people that I am seeing a counselor about my depression, I have this assumption that people expect me to be all happy again within a week or two. The truth is, in even depression, my mood swings up and down, and I have days where I don’t feel like I want to kill myself. There are actually times when I don’t feel too bad at all, but it doesn’t change the fact that I am still affected by depression. Depression can take weeks or months to heal and the journey can be long and difficult. My prayer is that those who are supporting people like us won’t be discouraged if you don’t see an immediate improvement. We are trying.
I understand that depression is depressing for the people close to the sufferers. It is depressing and no one wants to be around depressing people to bring down their positivity or happiness. Let me tell you something really selfish that I have been doing for the past few weeks. It is when I am going through depression that I find myself longing for someone to listen. I find that it is when I am with other people I feel the loneliest because I feel like no one understands what I’m going through, and when I see all the happy people, I feel even worse about myself that I can’t handle this myself.
I don’t know about anyone else but when it comes to my depression, I tend to think the worst about myself. Because I am an introvert and a deep thinker, I overthink a lot and tend to think the worst of any situation. I make assumptions about how people don’t want to be around me because my depression drags their moods down, or how much I hate myself for not being able to control the way I feel or think. I feel like my thoughts are like the weather and when the hurricane of bad thoughts come, they spiral downwards and I feel like drowning in a sea of darkness, struggling to keep my head above the water. I can’t pull myself out because I don’t know how to swim.
I guess the one thing that really irritates me is people saying that those who attempt, commit or even think about suicide are selfish and are looking for an easier way out. As one who have suicidal thoughts, I can say for myself that in no way would I want to feel this way. If we had a choice, none of us wants to leave our loved ones behind and assume that death is an easy way out of a problem. To say that statement and not understand what people are going through, I feel that is very insensitive and critical. The truth is, I have thought about letting everything go, but because I feel like I can’t let go of those closest to me, I can’t bear the thought of leaving them behind. I feel like suicide is a harder way out because it doesn’t fix or resolve the problems and more problems arises from it. But seriously, I often think about Jesus’ temptation in the desert and how things may have turned out differently had Jesus chose the easy way out.
Suicide is no laughing matter and for those who have had contemptated it, it must have taken them a great deal of thought to have to come to that conclusion. So through all of this, I hope it gives people an insight into depression. My only advice that I can give to people is to lend an ear to listen and to encourage those who are suffering to seek help. Above all, please don’t ignore or leave those in need alone because it is then when they need someone the most.
I continue to pray for God’s strength and grace, but I have learnt to ask for it daily to have enough just for that day. I live for each day, battling my sins and brokenness. Each day is its own battle, and to live through it is one victory at a time. Please continue to pray for God to hold onto us when our faith has failed. It is His love and grace that sustain us, not because of our own strength.
After the escape from Egypt, the Israelites, under Moses’ lead, came into the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Sinai. The beginning of Exodus chapter 16 describes how the people complained to Moses about their hunger. They would rather die at the hands of the Egyptians. (v.3) God told them through Moses that He will rain bread from heaven for you. (v.4) God gave them the instructions on how much to gather, how much to eat and when to gather the bread, and finally, God sent bread down from heaven, yet the Israelites were disobedient and thus suffered for it. In the end, the Israelites survived by eating manna for 40 years in the wilderness.
Behind the black and white words tell a much deeper story of Christ and the plan of salvation. Let us look at this chapter in several points.
The Israelites complained to Moses and Aaron about their hunger. What is interesting is that Israelites complained to Moses, saying that they would rather die by “God’s hand” in Egypt and that it was Moses’ fault to bring them there to die. After all that God had shown them, all the miracles and things, they still distrust of God’s goodness and provision. They undervalue the deliverance that God has made for them to escape Egypt because they now rather die at the hands of the Egyptians. At times, we can be like this too. We have all seen the miracles that God had given us, and most importantly, God delivered us from sin by the crucifixion of Christ. Yet, so often, we still end up complaining about it, especially when we are in times of trouble.
Then God gave them a heads-up on His provision. And he followed through on His promise. This is where the symbolism comes in. The bread that God sent from heaven represents Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of John, we know that Jesus is the bread of life, and it is the living bread of life. Here, the bread that was sent from heaven was to save the Israelites from the hands of hunger and death. Similarly, God sent His son Jesus Christ to die for us. He delivered us from the bonds of sin. We can see from verse 14, the bread had a frost-like appearance, which is supposed to be of a white color. And white, as we know, represents holiness and purity, two of the most important characteristics of Jesus Christ.
The instructions of the manna and Israel’s reaction is worthy of note. In particular, God had instructed the Israelites to measure the amount of bread daily so that they will have enough to eat for the day. If they measure not enough, they will go hunger. If they get too much, the bread will become rotten and inedible the next day. They must not leave any bread overnight. There are 2 implications here. The first being the daily bread. During the Lord’s prayer, it says to take up our daily bread. It is not only talking about eating, but talking about our spiritual journey with Christ. We need Him daily. The second implication is harder to understand. Personally, I think the bread could also represent our faith in God. If we have too little faith, then our problems will only get worse and we will get hunger in the end. But what happens if we have too much faith? Do we then not take responsibility that should be ours? Are we going to be like the Israelites and blame everything on God and others?
But I think there can be another understanding that can be said about verse 18. As Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians 8:13-15, there should be equality with, or among, all Christians. There is no too much or too less. This could be the grace of God. That no matter what you do cannot make God love you more or less, that God’s grace is free for all, and that grace is the same for everyone.
But what is more interesting is the way Israel responded to the instructions. Some paid no attention to Moses (v. 20) And some tried to go out on the Sabbath (seventh day) but could not find any bread, even though God had told them not to. This signifies the disobedience of the Israelites against God’s commands, but also reflects what we as Christians and people should do – to obey and trust God. Because what happened to the Israelites is the negative consequences of not following God’s words. And this is what happens if we don’t obey God’s words. We may think that we are smart (or even smarter than God), but in the end, those who suffer the consequences are actually us. This just proves that while God’s word may seem difficult to comprehend, they are for our best.
In addition to the similarities of the sending of manna, there are several factors that links the manna as being a symbol for the coming of Christ.
Firstly, the experience in Sin is unique. The taste of the manna was different and cannot be experienced by people of other times. The life of Christ, up until His crucifixion was very unique, and it only (and will) happened once throughout all ages.
Secondly, the word “manna” suggests that it was something unknown by the people at the time. The same thing happened with Christ. No one at the time of when Christ was on earth knew that Christ was coming and that he was going to pay for all our sins.
Thirdly, it was an unnatural phenomenon, or as I like to call it, a miracle, especially given its presence in the wilderness. There is also enough of it to feed the entire Israel population for 40 years, with double the substance on the sixth day of the week. While Christ’s life may seem very plain and dull on the surface, His miracles and the process of salvation is very supernatural. And that grace that God showed and the faith that rained upon us is enough for everyone to be able to follow Him and become God’s people.
Finally, the fact that it can be kept for generations in a jar suggest that it is not a natural substance (unique food). This reflect Christ, who is God whom became man. While His physical body was dead by the cross, He was resurrected without a bone broken in the body. Not only that, but his salvation paid for us throughout generations and generations so that everyone has a chance for salvation.
The sins that Christ paid for us on the cross was unique and it was a once for all deal that lasts throughout all of ages. So we should reflect and remind ourselves that we were delivered from sin by the hands of God and that faith and obedience to Him is good for us also.
Our story begins when the earth was full of wickedness and sin. The story of Noah’s ark in Genesis 6 to 9 is a very familiar one, but beneath the surface of destruction and hope lays a deeper understanding of faith in God and the salvation of Christ.
The world was in a state that could not be turned back. Yet, Noah found grace with God (6v8). This is a very clear picture that salvation is by God’s grace alone (Eph 2:8), as Noah was still a sinner. In a world of wickedness – one that God was set upon to wipe out, one man kept faithful to the Lord. Matthew Henry made a comment on how we can easily be religious when religion is in fashion, but faith is shown it’s strongest when we’re swimming against the stream. This is very much like our persecuted brothers and sisters in the world today, where following Christ is condemned as an “uncool” or “” thing to do, Christ is shone through us by our faith in Him. For in the bible, it has been written that “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12)
So God told Noah to build an ark because He was going to flood the earth. Here is where we can see the symbolism of Christ’s salvation – in Noah’s ark. God gave very specific instructions to Noah in building the ark. It should be made three levels high with an opening on the top of the ark and a door on its side (6v16). These descriptions have a clear foreshadowing of Christ’s salvation. There is only one doorway into the ark, just as Christ is the only way to God’s kingdom (see John 14:6, John 10:9). The opening at the top of the ark can be a representation of the light of God (for God is the light of the world) and for God’s kingdom to be opened to mankind. And because it is at the top of the ark, we are to look up (above) towards the heavens for our salvation (always fixing our eyes upon Jesus).
But in order to get to the top of the ark, there is a need to go through 3 levels in the ark. Similarly, the salvation of Christ had three parts to it that make up the gospel: 1) Christ’s death; 2) His burial; and 3) His resurrection. So what does that mean? If Noah’s ark is seen as the salvation of Christ, then in order for us to achieve that salvation, or to receive eternal life, we must repentant our sins, bury them with Christ as He died, and finally to be a new creation in Christ. It is not merely enough for us to admit our sins, but we must also bury them, through baptism in Christ, into the ground so that we can made into a new creation (Romans 6:4) Only then can we receive the free gift of heaven and enter into God’s kingdom.
God had also told Noah to coat the ark with pitch (6v14). By covering it with pitch, the ark is waterproofed against the flood waters (sent by God), just as by the blood that Christ had shed already, we are protected from the wrath of God. This is also evident as the word “pitch” used elsewhere in the Old Testament, actually means “to make atonement”, clearly connecting the relationship between the blood of Christ and the atonement (or reconciliation) that makes us acceptable to God and into His presence again.
Man is invited by God to believe in Christ’s salvation just as Noah was invited into the ark by God (7v1), and it was also God that closed the door to the ark (7v16). This is a very interesting verse because there are several different ideas that it could represent. God is in control and He is the one with the authority to choose when the final judgment is, when the door to salvation and His kingdom closes. It also reminds us of the urgency for us as Christians to spread the gospel because we do not know when that door closes. Because then, everyone on the outside will be under the wrath of God. The ark is refuge in the flood, saving and protecting Noah’s family. This is what the salvation of Christ does; it protects us in times of storms and from the wickedness and sin outside (plus God’s wrath as mentioned earlier).
When we think of the Passover, I would imagine that people would remember the lamb’s blood on the doors of the Israelites as they were enslaved in Egypt. Yet in Exodus chapter 12, we can see the references that clearly tell us about salvation through Christ.
In verse 5, God gave clear instructions to the Israelites to take a lamb that is without blemish and a year-old male. Now, we know from previous evidence that Christ is referred to as the Lamb of God. Without blemish means that the lamb should have no spots, no diseases and is basically perfect. Christ fits that description well, and it is not only because he is healthily perfect, but more importantly, he is pure and without sin. The year-old male reference seems to come from the fact that a year-old lamb is mature, not a newborn lamb. Christ gave his life for us just when he was at the prime of his life. He did not die an old man or crucified as a baby, but when his ministry of preaching and healing was at its highest.
In the next verse, God instructed the lamb to be slaughtered, as in killing it for a sacrifice. Later in v.46, God also commanded that the lamb should not have any of its bones broken. On a literally level, Christ’s body, when buried, was in tact, there was not a single bone in the body that was broken. (John 19) This also symbolizes the strength that is found in Christ, nothing can break it. Then, God instructs that the lamb was to be roasted with fire, and all should be eaten by morning. There are two points to note here. The first is the way the lamb is cooked. Roasted with fire seems like a slow and painful death, especially if the lamb was alive at that point. This is the metaphor for the torture and suffering that Christ went through as he was handed into the court of Pontius Pilates. The second interesting point is that all should be eaten. Here, it talks about consuming the whole lamb, that is, that we should consume all of Christ. His crown, his cross and him as our Lord and Saviour. It also refers to immediate eating of the lamb, not in the morning but immediately to believe in Christ, before it is too late.
In verse 6, the Bible talks about the whole congregation of Israel should slaughter the lamb. In Luke 23, the whole of the Jews came to see the “trial” of Jesus, shouting out in verse 21 “Crucify, crucify him!” It was the people of Israel that killed Jesus (if you look at Luke 23:20, Pilate wanted to actually release Jesus). It was the demand of the people who believed in God that sent Jesus to the cross.
The important aspect of the Passover, hence the name, is the sprinkle of the lamb’s blood on the doorposts. This is a clear symbol of the blood of Christ, which is not only shed, but sprinkled. Sprinkled is an active verb, meaning that we must do this in order to achieve something. Sprinkled with the blood of Christ is to believe in Him and the sacrifice that he has made for us. We must be willing to accept Him as our Saviour and Lord in order to receive everlasting life. Sprinkled on the doorposts is a clear statement that we openly declare Christ as our Saviour and that there is only one way to heaven. See Revelations 7 for information about the way to distinguish the children of God.
The Passover is when the angels will come to Egypt and kill all the firstborn of everyone that does not have lamb’s blood sprinkled on their doorposts and lintels. I remember the famous verse John 3:16 that says that if we believe in Christ and the sacrifice He made for us on the cross, we will be able to receive eternal life. There is a sure similarity between the Passover and the crucifixion. With the Passover, those who have lamb’s blood on their doorposts will be spared, just as we who believe in Christ (see earlier about the reference of sprinkling of blood) will be spared from eternal damnation. It is worth noting here that God knew who were the Israelites and who were the Egyptians. Even if there was no blood, God still knew who were His children. Yet, the sprinkling of the blood is not a sign of acknowledgement or acceptance, but a sign of faith and obedience. It is this gesture by the Israelites that makes a statement that they abide in God’s laws and they have enough faith in God to believe that He will save them.
From the events of the Passover, we can see that God kept faithful to His promises to His chosen people and delivered them from the enemy (both the Egyptians and death itself) if they obeyed Him. Similarly, we see the foreshadowing of the salvation that Christ brought in the New Testament. God will deliver us from evil and sin if we have perfect faith in Him. In the OT, Israel may be God’s chosen people, but we are blessed to be God’s children because of what Christ had done for us out of grace.
The first two parts of the series are more visible in their symbolism of Christ. This third one is much harder to comprehend. This third part deals with the Garden of Eden and the fall of mankind. The story comes mainly from Genesis chapter 2 to 3.
First and foremost is the Garden itself. In verse 9 of chapter 2, the Bible told us that God had made all kinds of trees. In the book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 31:18), God had shown the symbolism that the trees represent. The trees in Eden could have been symbols of the nations that the Lord has created. The Tree of Life is a symbol of Christ Himself. In John 15:5, Jesus had declared, “I am the vine.” The Tree of Life is a representation of the soul and spirit. It is through the strength and guidance of Christ that we can grow as a person. And on that tree of life grows the knowledge that we need to create wisdom. We later see that tree as the preserving power of God unto man, when God forbid man to go and eat from the Tree of Life. (Genesis 3:24)
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is really the symbolism of the freewill, the choice, which God has given us. We can either choose to obey Him or to go our own ways. In a way, the Tree of Knowledge was a covenant, one that mirrors the new covenant Jesus had made for us with God (John 3:16). It was a covenant that said believe (God had said that eat the fruit from this tree and you will die – Genesis) and be saved, or do not believe and be damned. Similarly, Jesus’ atoning sacrifice also suggested that believe in Jesus and what He did for us, and we shall receive eternal life. Otherwise, we will perish forever, not in God’s presence.
The rivers of Eden in Genesis 8:14 talk about the main river which branches off into four different rivers. What this river tells us is that it doesn’t only waters everything in Eden, but also things outside of it. In John 7:38, Jesus said that those who believe in Him will have streams of living water flow from within him. It meant that He is the main river – the River of Life. This also shows the power of God, that He is able to provide for all living things and to give life itself.
I also look at the river and its four branches as a symbol for the five solas, with the River of Life represents “In Christ Alone”, which tells us that it is only through Christ’s sacrifice that we can receive eternal life. The first river, Pishon, means to increase, or full-flowing. To me, it speaks about “grace”, the fact that God’s grace is overflowing in our lives, and the blessings that He had given us. The second river, Gihon, means to burst forth or gush. What better imagery to use for the power and glory of the Lord, to have bursting “glory” from God to shine upon the earth. The third river is Tigris, which means running water. Its swiftness causes it to have lower beds than its neighbor Euphrates, and this can be seen as goal-reaching and fixing on the end. This should be the “faith” that we have towards God, to fix our eyes upon Him and to commit ourselves to Him. Lastly, Euphrates (which is the fourth river) symbolizes the God’s word, “the Bible”. The meaning of Euphrates is sweet or fruitful, and it should be what our attitude should be towards God’s word, the knowledge that He had given us. (2 Corinthians 2:14)
Adam and Eve are just like symbols for Christ and the Church. God created Eve from Adam’s rib, just like the Church is a part of Christ – Christ as the head, and we the body. (Genesis 2:23) The unique union between Adam and Eve reflects the love that the Christ has for the Church. If Adam was a symbol for Christ, it can be seen from v19-20 that Adam gave names to all the beasts in the garden. This demonstrates his authority over all living things, and represents the power and authority that Christ has – He is Lord over all the earth. In the last verse of chapter 2, it talks about having no shame of being naked. It can be a symbol of how we should not be ashamed of our relationship with Christ (and hence God).
In chapter 3, the serpent, which became a symbol for Evil, came to deceive the Church as it had done so to Eve, causing her to sin. If we also look at Adam and Eve representing the mind and the body respectively, we can see that Evil will deceive and tempt our bodies. And when that fails, the mind will also sin as a result. And as a result of the fall, in v16, God had made childbirth painful for Eve. This is a symbol for the church which has difficulty with spiritual rebirth, as seen by persecution (both physical and spiritual) around the world today. Yet in v15, God offers us the solution. Eve’s offspring is the foreshadowing of Christ, one that was born to the virgin Mary (notice it only said “hers”, not “theirs (Adam & Eve)”). While the serpent (Evil) will injure Christ at his heels, Christ will ultimately defeat Evil (by crushing its head).
However, in the last verse of chapter 3, God gives us hope. Also the tree of life is barred by a flaming sword, it still remains. This means that there is hopeful for humanity to return to the garden of Eden and continue to be able to have the privilege to eat from the Tree of Life.
The second part of the series…
The second part of the series looks at Abraham and Isaac, the story of Abraham’s faith in God. The passage used here is from Genesis 22.
Both Isaac and Jesus are children of promise. Isaac was promised to Abraham by God Himself, and Jesus is the Son God had planned for the world’s salvation in the beginning of time. In Genesis 22:2, God had commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering. Now, this wasn’t just any son. It was Abraham’s only son. As Abraham had Isaac when he was of old age, we can imagine the love that he must have for Isaac. Similarly, Jesus is God’s only son, His beloved son, but God had given him to us to atone for our sins.
What I’m amazed is what Abraham says in Genesis 22:8. When Isaac asks him where the lamb for the offering is, Abraham answers him by saying God will provide the lamb for the offering. This verse tells us clearly that God will provide the sacrifice for our sins through His only son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. What surprises me even more is that as Abraham ties up Isaac onto the firewood, there is no record of Isaac’s reaction to this. It makes me wonder if Isaac had so much faith in God that he did not question what his father was about to do. We can surely conclude that Isaac had submitted himself as the sacrifice to God. Likewise, we learnt in Matthew 26:39 that Jesus had submitted himself to God’s will – being the sacrifice.
Abraham had been obligated because of the promise that God had kept, God gave him a son in Isaac. Yet God was not obligated to us when he sent Christ to die for us. We were his enemies, turned away from Him. Yet, His love for us gave us that grace that we do not deserve. We may also see the sacrifices that Abraham had to be willing to give up in order to please God and to follow Him. We too must be willing to follow Abraham’s example and to give up all for Christ, whether it be a Isaac or our sins.
Finally, Isaac was spared by God and a ram was sacrificed in his place to God. God provided the sacrifice himself through His son Jesus Christ. And instead of us being thrown onto the offering table, it was the ram that God provided, a reference to Christ being the Lamb of God, that took our place on the cross instead.
God never forgot us. He told us about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ years before Jesus was born into this world. He loved us so much that He had already planned the salvation plan in advance. And He willingly gave His only son to die for us so that we may live in Him forever and ever.
Wrote this series a few years ago, thought I would share it…
Throughout the Bible, we can see the parables and the foreshadowing of the most important event in history, and the essential theme of the Bible. In this first part, we’ll look at the symbols and clues that foreshadow Christ’s sacrifice in Exodus, in particular, the instructions God gave in building the Tabernacle.
In Exodus 27, God gave the Israelites strict instructions in building the tabernacle. Looking at the layout, the courtyard has been fenced off by white linen curtains and wooden posts (Exodus 27:9-15). So the tabernacle would be surrounded by white boundaries. This symbolizes the righteousness and holiness of God. If the tabernacle is a symbol for the Kingdom of God, then the white fence would be the symbol for the fact that no man can enter Heaven because man is sinful and cannot enter the Gates of Heaven without being righteous and holy (Romans 3:23).
Next, God gave instructions for the gate to the tabernacle. The only entrance is linen made from the colors Blue, Purple and Scarlet. (Exodus 27:16) The only entrance means that the ONLY way to God is through Jesus Christ. (John 14:6) “Blue” represents the heavens, that Jesus is the Son of God. “Purple” represents royalty and that Jesus is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords. “Scarlet” represents the precious blood that Jesus shed for us on the cross. Through this gate of Jesus, we, as sinners, can then enter into God’s presence.
The tabernacle itself is to be built in gold and silver, representing the purity and worthiness of God. The silver bases represent the redemption of God, as the silver was used from atonement money. (Exodus 30:11-16) So this represents that God, who is pure and holy, connects to the people of the world (the golden frames established in the earth) through the redemption of Christ. The tent itself should be built by red-dyed ram skin (Exodus 26:14). This would represent the fact that God’s people are set apart by the blood shed on the cross, as Jesus is said to be the Lamb of God. (1 Peter 1:19)
The Ark of Covenant (Exodus 25:22) is the symbol of the covenant that God makes with man, through the blood of Christ. The Ark of the Covenant is everything that Christ had done for us so that we can enter the Kingdom of God. The Mercy Seat which is golden lid of the ark, illustrates God’s judgment and grace. As it seats on the ark of covenant, it symbolizes God’s new covenant with man through His grace – the gift of Christ’s blood so that we can enter His Kingdom. Over the seat, two cherubim face each other, reminding us of the cherub guarding the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 3:24) However, the cherubim here are looking onto the mercy seat, at Christ, who is the mediator of the new covenant. (Hebrews 9:15) The cherubim here can represent us believers and that we must fix our eyes upon Christ’s atoning sacrifice.
The table should have bread on it before God at all times. (Exodus 25:30) This could represent Jesus is the bread of life (John 6:35), and it is through Him, and in His presence, we can enter the Kingdom of God. It is also that bread represent Jesus in the Last Supper when he said, “this is my body given to you;” as He gave Himself to the world so that our sins can be redeemed. (Luke 22:19) The lampstand has seven branches for seven lamps. The lampstand is the symbol that Christ is the light of the world and that with Him (John12:46), no place in the Kingdom of God will be dark.
The Altar would be bronze and to be located at the entrance of the tabernacle. This symbolizes the cross on which Christ died for us (like the burnt offerings to the altar). And because it is located at the entrance, it means that it is through Christ’s sacrifice that we can enter God’s Kingdom. The Oil for the lampstand is next to the altar, signifying the everlasting Holy Spirit, as the oil should keep the lamps burning. It also symbolizes as Samuel anointed King David with the oil as a sign that God will be with him. (1 Samuel 16:13)
As you can see, the Bible is a powerful book and it foreshadows from the time of Moses and Aaron the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.