Well – actually, it was a well-known Jewish man! But, hold on a sec – before I go too far, this is not a quiz question and I also need to assure you that I have absolutely nothing against the people I am writing about. Why is that? Because if it hadn’t been for the profound commitment of the man who had earlier been Saul from Tarsus, from a Hellenistic background in the Roman province of Cilicia, the good news would probably never have reached Europe when it did.
Atonement is ‘at-one-ment’
What am I on about? Quite simply that the good news of a full and free salvation won by Jeshua Messiach in his atoning death on the tree of cursing was spread widely over the old Roman world by a man who believed in that same Atonement. Saul, who later became Paul, was a member of the tribe of Benjamin, and a highly respected Pharisee, until he saw the risen Jesus. Then, such a profound new life was given to Saul, his world was turned up-side-down – or rather the right way up. Then, as Paul, he then spent the rest of his life strenuously working, teaching, praying, encouraging and writing to promote this single issue: Jesus of Nazareth, who once died, was raised as the one divinely appointed Messiach and Redeemer for Jewish and Gentile people alike.
Paul’s message was often hotly opposed. It was controversial, to say the least, to those who held on to their old traditions. But gradually, and sometimes in large numbers, people from all walks of life and both ethnic backgrounds, saw they could not get right with God, whose law they had broken, by trying to repair and replace their misdeeds by better ones. They began to see that what Jeshua had accomplished on the cross, was the one final, authentic sacrifice of atonement, offered in astonishing mercy and grace. And they saw in the words of the Prophet Isaiah, how ‘he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors’ (Isaiah 53:12b), that he had already made the work of atonement, once for all. And it had been accomplished by Jeshua as the ‘Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’ (NT, John 1:29) – to use the words of the Prophet John, the son of Zechariah.
One Final Sacrifice of Atonement is Enough
When, you think about it, this is no ordinary message. This is revolutionary. That someone else should pay the price for sin and settle the dreadful account freely on behalf of others, so that they might be forgiven. That this was more than just another sacrificial innocent victim, for the One who paid the final price was none less than the Suffering Servant of Yahweh, the eternal contracted to a span – the Lord himself, for who else could pay such an infinite price to satisfy God’s holy justice? So, do all then automatically receive this free forgiveness, peace with God and eternal life? No – each one of us must turn individually to Jeshua as Yahweh and Redeemer. Of all who come to him he will never turn anyone away. Trust him gladly and love him wholeheartedly for time and forever.
Turn and Trust Him Today
So, that is why it was Paul, who wrote, ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek’ (NT, Romans 1:16). And it was largely through Paul’s labours, along with his co-workers that the good news of Jeshua’s atoning death spread far and wide, first among the Jewish people of Jeshua himself, and then into the far flung world of the nations – the Goyim, many of whom are delighted to have such a Saviour and Redeemer today. How about you?