We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6, NIV)
“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, NIV)
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross” (1 Peter 2:24, NIV), but His sin-bearing did not begin on Golgotha.
As He emptied Himself of all that made Him equal to the Father (Philippians 2:5-8), He was taking our sins upon Himself.
John the Baptist introduced Jesus as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, NIV), not at the end of His ministry, but at its very beginning. The first public act of this sinless One was to humble Himself, line up with sinners, and symbolically die beneath the waters of the Jordan. There, from day one, He bore our sins.
For forty days He faced extreme deprivation and temptation in the wilderness, all that we might have a high priest…who has been tempted in every way, just as we are…that he might make atonement for the sins of the people (Hebrews 4:15; 2:17, NIV).
Throughout His ministry He bore all the fruits of our sin. Homelessness, rejection, hatred, poverty, and persecution were His daily experience. He took upon Himself the needs of the thousands that flocked to Him—their ignorance, disease, demon possession, grief, and hunger.
Finally, He laid down His life before those who hated Him and thirsted for His blood. He silently surrendered Himself to their humiliation, torture, and cruel execution.
But this was only the culmination of His self-sacrifice. He bore our sins, not for a few hours, but for His entire holy life.