Why Did Jesus HAVE To Die?
by Pastor John Roselle | April 7
Preface: For all those joining in outside of TSM, this blog is adapted from our current Wednesday night series called Life's Difficult Questions, where I encourage our students to anonymously submit questions they are struggling with. With this switch to online, I am having our students read this and then join in on an Instagram live stream to discuss. Students, I will see you all on Instagram Wednesday night at 8 pm. Everyone else, I hope this blog is an encouragement to you...
Alright everyone, I need to confess something to you at the start; none of you asked this question. I know, I know… You’re probably thinking, “But John, I thought this was a series where the questions come from us teenagers…not you, the youth pastor.” You’re right…The questions are supposed to come from you all, but with Good Friday and Easter coming up, I thought it would be good to look at a question revolving around Jesus’ death that I often had as a teenager, myself. So technically, this question does come from a teenager, but from a teenager 15 or so years in the past. With this question, as a teen, I often wondered why it was that Jesus actually had to die? Why was such a brutal death the only way that Christ could save us? If God is omnipotent (you should know the definition of this term from our second lesson in this series…if not, look it up), then why couldn’t He just snap His fingers and say your sins are forgiven when you believe in Him? Even better, why couldn’t God just forgive everyones’ sins and completely wipe the slate clean? Couldn’t everyone go to heaven then? I am sure that if you are all honest with yourselves, you have had these questions at some point or another and until you get a good look at what actually was accomplished on the cross, these questions will remain. So that’s why I am asking this question for you all today. Let’s take a deep look at why Jesus had to die together!
Reason One: The Weight of Sin Is Real
Read Genesis 2:15-17, Romans 5:12, Romans 3:23, James 1:13-15, and Revelation 21:8.
We talked about this a good amount last week, but sin and its effects are both very real problems in the world. From the very beginning, God warned Adam and Eve that both sin and the result of their sin would lead to death. Despite this knowledge, sin entered into the world through Adam and as a result, the world fell under the bondage of imperfection. From the very start of our lives, we are born into the negative effects of sin. Trust me, I know. I have a 3 month old. I can tell you, we are all born defiant by nature. “But, no, John Mark can do no wrong, right?” Wrong! I can’t help but imagine that a baby born into a perfect world would probably be the best baby ever. They would never cry, never keep mom and dad up through the night, and would never get angry even though they should be happy and content. But, we don’t live in a perfect world and babies, even JMJJ, display a defiant, sin nature. This doesn’t go away either. As we grow, our sin grows as well. Our imperfections become even more obvious and the toll this has is felt by not only us, but those we directly or indirectly sin against. These verses show that the effects of this sin are two-fold: death and an eternal separation from God. No matter what, if you are left in your sin and held captive by its effects, these are the results. The weight of sin is a very real issue in this world.
Reason Two: God’s Perfection Is Real
Read 2 Timothy 2:13, 1 Corinthians 14:33, Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalm 7:11, and Romans 2:1-2.
Alright John, I get it. Sin is real. But that doesn’t answer the question of “Why did Jesus HAVE to die in order for us to be saved?” It doesn’t change the possibility of God just snapping His fingers and forgiving everyone, does it? Of course it does and the reason as to why lies in the perfect nature of God. With God being God, there are a few crucial qualities God holds that are unique to Him. First, He can never do anything that is against His nature. God is not a God of confusion, nor is He a God of contradiction. Second, God is a holy, perfect God who can have no association with sin. I say this all the time: Perfection and imperfection do not mix well. If they were to mix, perfection could no longer claim perfection. Third, God is the Righteous Judge whose holy wrath burns against sin. The very definition of righteous means that it is justified. The last section showed we deserve death because of our sin. This section shows God is justified in delivering death as a result of our sin. If God were to simply snap His fingers and forgive sin without some sort of penalty leading to death, then all three of these unique qualities of God would be broken. If sin did not result in death in some way, God would have contradicted His nature, imperfection would have mixed with perfection, and the righteous penalty for sin would have been lifted without a justified payment. Ultimately, someone had to pay the penalty.
Reason Three: God’s Love Is Real
Read Romans 5:8, Hebrews 9:22, 1 John 2:2, 1 John 4:10, and 1 Corinthians 15:50-58.
Although God has every right to pour out His righteous judgment on all those who sin, there is a fourth quality of God that led to the ultimate reason why Jesus HAD to die; God’s love for His creation. God loves us so much that He created us despite knowing that we would sin and despite knowing that He would have to send Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, so that we could have a path to a restored relationship with Him. That is how much God loves YOU!
So when we add all three of these reasons together, because of our Sin, because of God’s Nature, and because of His love for us, Jesus HAD to die as:
- The Atoning Sacrifice. Jesus paid the penalty of death for us. Someone needed to die to pay that penalty and when Jesus took the weight of the sins of the world on His shoulders at the cross, that is exactly what He was doing. Jesus paid the penalty that we would have otherwise had to pay.
- The Propitiation. Jesus not only died to serve as the penalty for sin, but He also died to appease the wrath of God towards sin. As we learned, God’s holy wrath towards sin is justified and as a result can not be lifted without someone serving as a recipient of it. When Jesus died, that is exactly what He did.
- The Resurrection to Life. Something that we haven’t talked too much about yet in this blog post for today is the fact that Jesus did not just die, but that He rose again as well. In this act He claimed victory over death for not just Himself, but for all who would believe in Him. When we put our faith and trust in Christ, we are trusting in the fact that even though we will most likely die one day on this earth, we will one day rise again just like Jesus did. Jesus had to die and raise from the dead so that we too can have hope in our future resurrection.
So let’s apply this for today.
- First off, if you are someone who has never trusted in Jesus, know that you are unfortunately still under the weight of your sin and will receive the full penalty for that sin without faith in Jesus Christ and the work He accomplished on the Cross. But, also know that God loves you and provided a path for salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection. If you would like to know more or have questions you would like answered, please reach out to me! I would love to talk to you more about this!
- Secondly, if you are a believer in Jesus and everything I laid out for you today on why Jesus had to die, then let this blog be a good reminder for you this week, leading up to Easter, amidst one of the craziest times you may ever experience in your life. There is a lot of fear out there. There are a lot of people questioning the purpose for all of this death and craziness being experienced right now. With Christ though, we have no need to feel any of this. God loves us and has provided the ultimate victory over death for us. Jesus died for you. Let that comfort you!