CCC 517 Christ’s whole life is a mystery of redemption. Redemption comes to us above all through the blood of his cross,1 but this mystery is at work throughout Christ’s entire life:
– already in his Incarnation through which by becoming poor he enriches us with his poverty;2
– in his hidden life which by his submission atones for our disobedience;3
– in his word which purifies its hearers;4
– in his healings and exorcisms by which “he took our infirmities and bore our diseases”;5
– and in his Resurrection by which he justifies us.6
CCC 591 Jesus asked the religious authorities of Jerusalem to believe in him because of the Father’s works which he accomplished.7 But such an act of faith must go through a mysterious death to self, for a new “birth from above” under the influence of divine grace.8 Such a demand for conversion in the face of so surprising a fulfillment of the promises9 allows one to understand the Sanhedrin’s tragic misunderstanding of Jesus: they judged that he deserved the death sentence as a blasphemer.10 The members of the Sanhedrin were thus acting at the same time out of “ignorance” and the “hardness” of their “unbelief”.11
CCC 601 The Scriptures had foretold this divine plan of salvation through the putting to death of “the righteous one, my Servant” as a mystery of universal redemption, that is, as the ransom that would free men from the slavery of sin.12 Citing a confession of faith that he himself had “received”, St. Paul professes that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures.”13 In particular Jesus’ redemptive death fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy of the suffering Servant.14 Indeed Jesus himself explained the meaning of his life and death in the light of God’s suffering Servant.15 After his Resurrection he gave this interpretation of the Scriptures to the disciples at Emmaus, and then to the apostles.16
CCC 608 After agreeing to baptize him along with the sinners, John the Baptist looked at Jesus and pointed him out as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.17 By doing so, he reveals that Jesus is at the same time the suffering Servant who silently allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes, and also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel’s redemption at the first Passover.18 Christ’s whole life expresses his mission: “to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”19
CCC 627 Christ’s death was a real death in that it put an end to his earthly human existence. But because of the union which the person of the Son retained with his body, his was not a mortal corpse like others, for “it was not possible for death to hold him” 20 21 and therefore “divine power preserved Christ’s body from corruption.” Both of these statements can be said of Christ: “He was cut off out of the land of the living”,22 and “My flesh will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let your Holy One see corruption.”23 Jesus’ resurrection “on the third day” was the sign of this, also because bodily decay was held to begin on the fourth day after death.24
CCC 713 The Messiah’s characteristics are revealed above all in the “Servant songs.”25 These songs proclaim the meaning of Jesus’ Passion and show how he will pour out the Holy Spirit to give life to the many: not as an outsider, but by embracing our “form as slave.”26 Taking our death upon himself, he can communicate to us his own Spirit of life.
CCC 1505 Moved by so much suffering Christ not only allows himself to be touched by the sick, but he makes their miseries his own: “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.”.27 But he did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through his Passover. On the cross Christ took upon himself the whole weight of evil and took away the “sin of the world,”.28 of which illness is only a consequence. By his passion and death on the cross Christ has given a new meaning to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to him and unite us with his redemptive Passion.
1 Cf. Eph 1:7; Col 1:13-14; 1 Pt 1:18-19.
2 Cf. 2 Cor 8:9.
3 Cf. Lk 2:51.
4 Cf. Jn 15:3.
5 Mt 8:17; cf. Is 53:4.
6 Cf. Rom 4:25.
7 Jn 10:36-38.
8 Cf. Jn 3:7; 6:44.
9 Cf. Is 53:1.
10 Cf. Mk 3:6; Mt 26:64-66.
11 Cf. Lk 23 34; Acts 3: 17-18; Mk 3:5; Rom 11:25, 20.
12 Is 53:11; cf. 53:12; Jn 8 34-36; Acts 3:14.
13 1 Cor 15:3; cf. also Acts 3:18; 7:52; 13:29; 26:22-23.
14 Cf. Is 53:7-8 and Acts 8:32-35.
15 Cf. Mt 20:28.
16 Cf. Lk 24:25-27, 44-45.
17 Jn 1:29; cf. Lk 3:21; Mt 3:14-15; Jn 1:36.
18 Is 53:7,12; cf. Jer 11:19; Ex 12:3-14; Jn 19:36; 1 Cor 5:7.
19 Mk 10:45.
20 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 51, 3.
21 Acts 2:24.
22 Is 53:8.
23 Acts 2:26-27; cf. Ps 16:9-10.
24 Cf. I Cor 15:4; Lk 24:46; Mt 12:40; Jon 2:1; Hos 6:2; cf. Jn 11:39.
25 Cf. Isa 42:1-9; cf. Mt 12:18-21; Jn 1:32-34; then cf. Isa 49:1-6; cf. Mt 3:17; Lk 2:32; finally cf. Isa 50:4-10 and Isa 52:13-53:12.
26 Phil 2:7.
27 Mt 8:17; cf. Isa 53:4.
28 Jn 1:29; cf. Isa 53:4-6.