How Does This Question Matter: Why Did Jesus Have to Die?
First: an overview. God created Adam and commissioned him to rule the world. But Adam committed high treason, and turned the world over to Lucifer. That act plunged mankind under Lucifer’s harsh dominion, and God had a choice: either destroy mankind and start over or rescue mankind. What was God to do?
The Council of Heaven, with Lucifer looking on, considered the facts. Jesus, called The Word (John 1:1, 1:14, Genesis 1:1-31), decided not to start over.
However, of the many factors to consider, the first was: God is holy and just and sinful actions and attitudes could not be overlooked. God could not allow sin in any form to go unpunished, and the penalty for treason was death. Adam and Eve had to die, and Lucifer knew this as well as God did. The Apostle Paul addressed this concept in Romans 6:23 - “The wages of sin is death.” God’s plan would be overturned, and Lucifer was gloating over his brilliant subversion of God’s plan.
Now, for the man’s question: “Why did Jesus have to die?” An overly simplistic response is: Jesus died for us so we could be forgiven of our sin and go to heaven to live with Him eternally (John 3:16-18).
Before we go any further, I might ask, why does the question matter?
It matters because, pay attention now, Jesus did not have to die.
Really? Then, why DID He die? Read the following statement and think about it: Jesus wanted to die – for you.
In Matthew 26:53-54, Jesus informed us the Father could have sent more than 12 legions of angels to rescue Him, but he didn’t want to be rescued. Instead, He was on a mission to rescue us. If Adam died for his own sin, Adam would have been consigned to hell. Anyone who has done something wrong would die for their own sin, but cannot save anyone else.
However, one who had never sinned, had never done anything wrong, would be legally able to bear the penalty for someone else. Jesus did that for us.
That’s why The Word/ Jesus left heaven. That’s why He came to earth as a baby. Jesus, the man who never sinned, wanted to redeem mankind from the oblivion of hell. Jesus wanted to restore the fellowship that He planned for mankind. In John 18:37 Jesus told Pilate His reason for being born. Jesus’ birth was intentional, His death was intentional, and his resurrection was intentional.
Jesus did not have to die. He was never trapped where he HAD to do anything. He is man, but also God.
Jesus freely chose to die and restore the original plan He instituted from the beginning.
It was His Love for us (Romans 5:5) that prompted Him to die for us and rescue us. Now His original plan, as referred to in Ephesians 1:4-7, can be fulfilled.
We can talk about the attributes of God: holy, sovereign, righteous, just, et.al. But in fulfilling His mission, Jesus emphasizes the Love of God. (John 3:16)
Because of His love for us, He suffered and bore the penalty for every kind of sin, mistake, or error, in thought, word, or deed. Any kind of evil we can possibly dream or think of, Jesus endured the penalty for it on the cross.
That means you and I don’t have to be punished in eternity for it. We need to admit the error and foolishness of our ways, ask the Lord to forgive us, and intentionally live for Him.
Sunday is Easter, and today that is associated with Jesus’ resurrection. But there is no resurrection without the suffering and crucifixion. Jesus so loved you that He willingly died to rescue you; so if you will believe on Him and live for Him, you will not perish eternally, but enjoy everlasting life.