References to Jesus' sacrificial death in the letters of the Apostles

The sacrificial death of Jesus, and the path of redemption that had thereby been opened up for mankind, are central themes in the letters of the Apostles. For example, we read in 1 John 3: 16: "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us" (1 Peter 2: 21-24).


The epistle to the Hebrews compares the new covenant to the old and places the sacrifice of Christ at the centre of the history of salvation. The high priests of the old covenant were sinners and mortal, and their priesthood came to an end. Jesus Christ, on the other hand, is without sin and immortal. His priesthood is everlasting. Whereas the priests in the old covenant had to offer again and again, Christ's sacrifice was brought once and is eternally valid (Hebrews 9).


The letters of the Apostles also made statements about the sacrificial death of Jesus on account of the heresies that had arisen. One of the notions that developed was that of a messenger who had come into the world, only appeared to become human, and neither suffered nor died on the cross. Other heresies denied the resurrection of the Lord. Apostle Paul countered by stating "that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15: 3-4).


The significance of the sacrificial death of Jesus is described in 2 Corinthians 5: 19: "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself ..."