The Great Exchange
2 Corinthians 5:21 is one of the most significant and theologically dense statements on what happened when Jesus died on the cross contained in the NT. Paul argues here that God reconciled “the world unto himself” through a specific historical event—the death of Jesus Christ.
We are meeting here today to celebrate the death of Jesus. It’s fairly unusual to celebrate someone’s death. We may mark or commemorate someone’s death, but we usually don’t celebrate the occasion. Christians not only mark and commemorate Jesus’ death; we also celebrate it because his death was like no other in the history of the world. Jesus’ death has major implications for the entire created order. Jesus, through his death, provided the full and final basis for the salvation of all those who trust in him.
2 Cor 5:21 states in concise terms what happened when Jesus died. It shows us why it is appropriate to commemorate his death. This passage has often and fittingly been called “The Great Exchange.” When Jesus died, he took our sin and provided his righteousness for us. That’s why we celebrate Jesus’ death.
Let’s consider what this text tells us about that great event.