What did Jesus have to die? Why couldn’t he have just turned more water into wine? Or healed another person? Or just choose to forgive our sin? Why did He have to die?
I have wrestled with these questions as I seek to help others understand Jesus’ death and resurrection. Sure, I can logically deduct this. And even explain the rational for Jesus death and resurrection from the Bible. But how can I communicate the answer to these questions in a way that people get it? How can I communicate the significance of God’s sacrifice in a way that people feel it? That is a whole other challenge.
To answer this question, I believe we must first understand some basic assumptions.
1) God takes our sin a whole lot more seriously than we do. Whether we lie and call it a “white” lie. Whether we justify personal expenses on the corporate credit card as… “I’m not paid enough.” We constantly minimize our sin. We try to make it less than what it is, or we justify it way. But God doesn’t. God takes our sin so seriously that before the first sin was committed, He prescribed death as the punish for sin. Our sin is so serious to God that it requires death. God set the rules before the first sin was committed. And God lives by His rules.
2) Even though not all of God’s children have received His invitation to be part of His family, we must understand that both pre-Christians and Christians are children of God. God love’s all of his children. And is willing to do anything to prevent them from dying and being separated from Him for eternity.
Recently, my kids and their cousins were sword fighting in my back yard with pool noodles stuffed over PVC pipes. My son watched this battle unfold when his unarmed sister took several cheap shots from her cousin. Immediately my son caulked his fits, got into an offensive Tae Kwon Do stance, started moving toward his cousin, and with a forceful and raised voice, definitively told his cousin… “If you hit my sister again you’re going to get hurt!”
I have a confession to make… my son got this from me.
If anyone tries to hurt my kids, I will do everything in my power to take them out even if that means die. And this response is natural. It is part of the survival of the fittest. It is a theme of creation.
Not long ago, I was spreading the branches of a bush to look at a nest of baby birds. I ignored the squawking parents in perched above in the tree until they started dive bombing me. These birds were crazy. They wouldn’t stop. And I quickly withdrew my position. The parent birds risked their lives to preserve the lives of their children.
We see this play itself out in all of creation – parents willing to sacrifice, even die, for the preservation, protection, and sustained life of their children.
God is the source of the natural phenomenon. This response is birthed from God’s nature. And is inborn at creation.
But God’s love for us for us is so great, that as the author of life, he wrote himself into the story of our lives in the character of man named Jesus. God came to earth as a man named Jesus and chose to satisfy the consequence for our sin by dying. God came to earth, as Jesus, to preserve and protect our lives by risking everything and dying. Through death, God satisfies, the punish for the sin of all humanity. And then proves His power and authority over death in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Jesus can do this because he is both God and man. Because of Jesus death we don’t have to live separated from God. Jesus can forgive us because he satisfies the consequences of our sin through his death and resurrection.
The question is… as children of God, will we receive the forgiveness that God offers through his death? By accepting God’s forgiveness through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we enter into God’s family.
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