Our sin ultimately leads to spiritual death—separation from God.
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. (Isaiah 59:2, NIV)
The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
In the days of ancient Israel, atonement for sin required the sacrifice of an animal. In effect, the animal took our sins on itself and went to death in place of us.
He is to lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him. (Leviticus 1:4, NIV)
Because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins. (Leviticus 16:30, NIV, describing Yom Kippur)
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:22, NIV)
Today, in the absence of a priesthood, a Temple, and sacrifices, Judaism teaches that atonement comes through repentance, prayer, deeds of charity and fasting. While each of those is important, so is a substitutionary sacrifice. Jesus claimed to be that sacrifice that atones for our sins:
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45, NIV)
For this reason Messiah is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. (Hebrews 9:15, NIV)
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Luke 22:20, NIV, Yeshua at his final Passover meal)
Anti-Semites over the centuries have claimed that “the Jews killed Jesus.” Yet Jesus voluntarily gave up his life as our sin-bearer:
“I lay down my life for the sheep. . . . No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10:15, 18, NIV)
And it is the ultimate demonstration of God’s love:
God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Messiah died for us. (Romans 5:8, NIV)
And he is the only such provision for our sins today, whether we are Jewish or not:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, NIV).
On the holiday of Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks), one of Jesus’ earliest followers, Simon Peter, told a crowd of Jewish listeners in Jerusalem,
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, NIV)
No one and nothing else can atone for our sins apart from Yeshua. Paul, another follower of Yeshua, who penned much of the New Testament, wrote:
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Lord. (Romans 6:23, NIV)