Latest posts by Aaron Waid (see all)
- Everything You Need To Know About Bible Translations - March 4, 2019
- Why Men Hate Going To Church And Some Tips To Help - June 27, 2018
- Why Did Jesus Have To Die? - March 29, 2018
He was completely innocent. The only innocent one.
Why did Jesus have to die?
When I started writing this article, I found myself traversing a wide range of theological topics that are pertinent to the subject of why Jesus died. From the Old Testament Law, to the fulfillment of sacrifices and covenants, to the prophecies of a Messiah and Suffering Servant. There are so many reasons that the Bible points out regarding the question of “why did Jesus have to die?” that it’s almost overwhelming to assemble.
Yes, Jesus was the perfect sacrificial lamb (John 1:29, 1 Cor. 5:7).
And Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenants made with Noah (Gen. 9), Abraham (Gen. 12), Moses (19-24), and David (2 Sam. 7).
Jesus’ death was prophesied in many places (Isaiah 53, just as one prominent example).
In fact, in many ways, the entire story of the Bible might be looked at as one big answer to the question of why did Jesus have to die? What purpose did it serve? What did it accomplish?
With a sampling of possible routes to answering the question, “Why did Jesus have to die?” before us, I’m going to share an answer to this question that has come to mean a lot for me, personally.
Jesus had to die because you’re too valuable for God to abandon.
Jesus died because God can’t forget about you.
You are made in the image of God, and even if there’s not another person in your life who thinks about you that way, or sees value in your life and purpose – God does.
Why did Jesus have to die?
Because God couldn’t bear the thought of leaving you alone with sin.
Grace In The Fall
In Genesis 3, where the world changed and sin entered it through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, God didn’t administer justice to the fullest. God didn’t wipe out Adam and Eve upon learning of their failure. Instead, in Gen. 3:9, we see God creating an opportunity for Adam and Eve to confess their flaw, asking them, “Where are you?”
Would God have been right and correct if He’d simply said, “I can’t believe what these people have done? I could never trust or love them again. They’ve betrayed me and done the one thing in all the world I asked them not to do!”
Yes. God could have done that. But he didn’t.
After the Flood, when God saved Noah and his family, God made a covenant – a promise – to Noah (Gen. 9:1-17). In that promise, God outlined the value of a human being, stating in 9:6,
“Whoever sheds human blood,
by humans shall their blood be shed;
for in the image of God
has God made mankind.
You’ve been created in the Image of God. You’re an unbelievably valuable entity in the universe. There’s absolutely NOTHING like you in all of creation.
No other creatures – not even angels – have been formed in the image of God.
There is much debate about what it ultimately means to be made in the image of God, but one way to look at it is to recognize that your life has tremendous value, as does everyone else. Because of that value, there is also a need for justice when that life has been taken.
That’s basically what God’s promise to Noah entails. It’s not ok for humans to die. Except, of course, we know that everyone will die.
Human death isn’t something God takes lightly, not in the least. God’s ultimate plan was always for humans to live forever. That was His plan for Adam and Eve. It’s His plan for us in the future.
You’re too valuable for God to ignore your death.
We Know The Value Of Something By The Penalties For Stealing It
Although all stealing is wrong, I think we can all understand that the penalties for a crime become worse the more valuable the object.
For example, if a friend leaves a pack of gum sitting on the coffee table while they go to the bathroom, and you decide to take a piece without asking – few would even consider that stealing, would they? You might mention to your friend, “Hey, I grabbed some gum” when they come back, but even if you forget, it wouldn’t be that weird or a big deal, would it?
Now, what if instead of a piece of gum, you decided instead to pocket their iPhone without telling them? That’s a much bigger problem, right? That’s legitimate stealing.
What if instead of gum or a phone, you snatched their car keys, and took the car to a shady location that buys stolen cars? Far worse than taking the phone, right?
The more valuable the object, the worse the penalty becomes – even though all stealing is wrong. The penalties become greater and greater as value increases. Taking gum from another person would probably never be prosecuted but stealing a phone could land you in court. Stealing a car could lead to a much longer sentence, years perhaps.
So what is a human being worth?
In the eyes of God – a LOT. That’s what the image of God is all about. You’re worth more than anything else in the universe. There’s only one thing more valuable than you…and that’s God Himself.
According to the covenant made with Noah, the death of a human requires the life of another human. Of course, that hasn’t always played out in actual history, but it does spell out how tremendously important it is to God that we not discount our value.
The problem is that everyone dies. Because Adam and Eve sinned, we’re now all headed to death. Everyone is guilty, it’s part of the human condition. As Paul notes in Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—”
But, God won’t wipe us all out.
God promised Noah He wouldn’t do that anymore. God can’t just wipe us all out, He won’t fail to keep His word.
So God put into place a plan for a sacrifice – a way to appease Him – that would be more valuable than the death of every single human being.
The Death of Himself.
Jesus died because there was no other way to pay the debt of sin.
Since every single person is going to die, holding every single human responsible for the death of another human would never result in overcoming the magnitude of sin. There could never have been enough humans to pay with their lives for all the others.
It would take something of far greater value – infinitely greater value, actually – to pay the cost.
Why did Jesus have to die?
Because He was the only thing worthy enough to die for all people.
Jesus had to die because there was nothing we could do to fix ourselves, nothing that could make up for the outrageously expensive debt incurred by the death of all people.
As you reflect on Jesus and the question of “why did Jesus have to die?” I hope that you can see the unbelievable reality of God’s love for you.
God doesn’t just love you because He’s required to love you.
God loves you because you’re valuable, important, you remind Him of Himself.
Just like every other human being, made in the image of God, you are too valuable for God to simply abandon, throw away, or forget about.
God can’t forget about you, you simply mean too much to Him.
And that’s why, at least one of the many reasons, Jesus had to die.
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