This week as we enter, what Christians believe is the most meaningful and spiritually defining week of their existence; the question of why Jesus had to die on the cross will be revisited again. Is that your question also?
Are you still wondering why He died for us? If it was just because He loved us, some would ask, how could a man love someone that much that He would die for them? What good has His love and eventual death done for us? Have we become more loving to one another because He gave His life for us?
Jesus’ sacrifice was not an example of what we must do to show how much we love someone. In this ultimate decision that God has done for us through our Savior Jesus Christ is that through His death, He paid the penalty for our sins.
John 3: 16-18 NIV, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, and that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
These words are true. Believe in God and in His Son Jesus today and Jesus’ death on the cross will save you through eternity.
Why did Jesus have to die? Jesus had a wonderfully productive ministry. He attracted large crowds throughout His travels, and had the potential, for much more, through healings and speaking and touching the lives of all he encountered.
But the Old Testament tells us that God appeared as a human being on more than one occasion. Why did He do so? He did so because He came to die. Death was an important part of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus said in Matthew 20:28 NIV, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
He came to give His life, to die, and His death would result in salvation for others. Matthew 26:28NIV: “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
According to the prophet Isaiah, Jesus, the servant, dies for a very specific purpose. Verses, 53:5-6 NIV: “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each have turned our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
The apostle Peter explains it this way in 1 Peter 2:24NIV: “When Jesus died on the cross, His suffering and death healed us from our sins, enabling us to live for righteousness.”
In the death of Jesus, our sins are set aside. This does not mean, however, that Jesus’ death came about to appease or satisfy an angry God. God is just as merciful as His Son is, and Jesus is just as angry about sin as God is. He is angry because sin hurt the people that He loves.
When God forgives us, He does not simply wipe away sin and pretend it never happened. Sins have to be reckoned with as we see in the crucifixion on the cross.
Our repeated actions of sinning cost Jesus pain, horrible shame, and death. The Gospels tells us that God is righteous in forgiving our sins, and his mercy shows us that He is truly a wonderful God. He does not ignore our sins, but takes care of them through Jesus Christ.
As Isaiah has said, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ has done. We have been reconciled to God through Christ dying on the cross. It is a simple Christian belief that our relationship with God depends on Jesus Christ including His death on the cross.
Christianity is accepting the fact that Christ has done everything we need to be right with God. He did this even before we were ever born. And since we are reconciled through Him, all our sins are forgiven. Reconciliation, forgiveness and justification all lead to the same thing: Peace with God!
What looked like a shameful for Jesus was actually a glorious triumph for God’s plan because it is through the cross that Jesus won victory over enemy powers, including Satan, sin and death.
November 18, 2015 //
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