In 2005, nine young Australians (now known as “the Bali nine”), were intercepted trying to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia into Australia. Seven received life sentences. Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, considered ringleaders, were sentenced to death. During their 10 years in prison, they turned their lives around and helped many other prisoners to do the same. Chan, after becoming a Christian, studied and became a pastor, conducted church services and ran cooking classes in jail. After all appeals for clemency were rejected and legal avenues exhausted, they were executed by firing squad on April 29, 2015. Such was their influence that two Indonesian prisoners offered to die in Chan’s place.
1. What does the offer of the two Indonesian prisoners illustrate? Romans 5:7 “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.”
2. What did Jesus do for us that was different? Romans 5:6–8 “Christ died for the ungodly. . . . God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
3. What did John the Baptist declare about Jesus? John 1:29 “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
When Adam and Eve sinned against God, it resulted in all their descendants becoming sinners (Genesis 3; Romans 3:10–12, 23; 5:12–19). God instituted a sanctuary (Exodus 25:8, 9) with a system of animal sacrifices to symbolise the plan of salvation before Jesus came. The priest mediated between God and the people. The most frequent offering was a lamb (Exodus 29:38, 39; Numbers 28, 29). A sinner could bring a lamb, “lay his hand on its head and slaughter it for a sin offering” (Leviticus 4:32, 33). But animal sacrifices couldn’t take away sin (Hebrews 10:4). Only Jesus’ death could do that.
4. After Jesus had finished paying for our sins (John 19:30), what did He do? Hebrews 1:3 “After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Jesus, as our great High Priest who is now in heaven, “serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.” He “entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence” (Hebrews 4:14; 8:1, 2; 9:24, italics added).
5. How sufficient is the sacrifice of Jesus? Hebrews 10:10–14 “We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. . . . But when this priest [Jesus] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. . . because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (italics added).
6. What is the consequence of sin and what is the gift of God? Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Wages are earned, prizes are won, awards are achieved, but grace is free.
7. What is Jesus doing for us now in heaven? Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”
Jesus is the one Mediator “between God and men” who “speaks to the Father in our defence” (1 Timothy 2:5; 1 John 2:1).
8. What assurances are we given? Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Sukumaran didn’t become a Christian early in his prison time as Chan did, but those close to him testified to his late and deep conversion to Christ in the days leading up to his death. If you’ve accepted Jesus as your Saviour, you can approach God with confidence, assured that Jesus will speak to God in your defence, and that your salvation in heaven is assured.