Why Did Jesus Have To Die?
Most people know that Jesus died, but few know why. Nor do they understand the significance of his death. Ask them that very question – “Why then, if God’s grace is a free gift, unmerited favor, did Jesus have to die?”
Here are a couple illustrations to help with understanding the importance of Jesus’ death.
Let’s say that two kids, siblings, are playing ball in the house. Mom and Dad have told them time and again that they shouldn’t do this because something could get broken. The kids do their own thing, however, and sure enough, they break an expensive lamp. The kids, full of shame and fear, confess their transgression to their parents, and prepare for the worst punishment. Mom and Dad, moved by their honesty and humility, forgive the children and do not punish them.
Many view God this way. “Why can’t He simply forgive us as the parents do in this illustration?” they will ask. But they fail to note: who pays for the lamp? The kid’s confession still does not unbreak the lamp. Mom and Dad still pay the cost of the broken lamp. All transgressions have a cost. Ask the person who then pays for our sins and transgressions?
Another illustration serves here: Two men are in prison for murder, and both are condemned to die. One man says to the other, “Let me take your place. I will bear your penalty for your crime. Switch with me, and I will bear your burden.” What happens here? Two convicts merely switch cells; no one is saved. But say a man from outside the prison meets with the first prisoner and makes the same offer. He says, “I am innocent of your crime. Let me take your place. I will undergo the punishment for your crime. Switch places with me, and I will bear your burden.” If the prisoner switches with the free man, he himself becomes free. It takes a person from outside the prison to redeem the convict.
So it is with us. Can I bear the sentence for my own sins? No, I am a finite man who cannot live the standard for an infinite God. Christ can bear my sin, though. Because he was innocent of wrongdoing, and at the same time the infinite God, if we allow him to take our place, we can be free!
Think of a time when you have seen something ‘redeemed’. How can that serve as an example when you share the Gospel?