Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

What is love? How much love do we have for our fellow humans? Consider the soldier in a battle who jumps in front of his fellow soldier to block him from a bullet. Consider the mother during a plane crash who covers and hovers over her sweet infant to give her child a better chance of survival. Consider the parent with very little money who forgoes a meal to be sure his child has something to eat. Consider the father whose 15-year-old child killed another by pulling the trigger on a gun he didn’t think was loaded. The child is facing a prison term and a trial as an adult, but the father knows the wrong-doing was not intentional. The father cries while witnessing his son’s tears and fear. The father wants his son to live pay a price, yet not prison time with adult offenders – or the “eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth,” which the child may deserve. The father decides to shift the blame to himself – so his son can live his life in full.

Now consider why the Word became flesh to pay the price for our sins. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit love us more than we can even imagine. The river can never exceed its source, just as our love can never exceed that of our Source. We are given glimpses of the love the Lord has for us when we love or make sacrifices for others.

Because of His love for us, Jesus willingly sacrificed Himself – because only He is uniquely qualified to do so. A sacrifice for sins must be made by one without sin. A thief cannot pay the price for another thief. A murderer cannot pay the price for another murderer. An adulterer cannot pay the price for another adulterer. Those to whom the negative impacts are endured cannot be satisfied in such ways.

A sin occurs when we break the Golden Rule, which calls on us to do unto others as we would want to be done unto ourselves. The Golden Rule has been evidenced in all religions, atheism, humanism, and the United Nations. It’s further evidenced in our conscience, which gives us guilt so we feel the burden of our own violations.

When we sin, which we all do, we commit a crime against ourselves and others. Sins have a massive and detrimental impact on ourselves, our families and society. The effect varies by the magnitude of the sin, rippling greater when a greater sin occurs. The murder during World War 2 of six million Jews is still rippling through the families of those involved in the 1940s and their anguish will be passed down for generations to come. The impact of sins ripples through generations – from parents to children to their children and so on. But even on a much smaller scale, a sin has detrimental effects. Consider the cases of the neglectful mother, the father who’s addicted to drugs or gambling or the child who’s a classroom bully. All fall short of the glory of God. All are guilty in the eyes of our Lord, so we will all feel the negative impacts of our sins and we will all pay some sort of a price – yet we will never be able to pay the full price we deserve for any harm we do to ourselves or others. The full price for sin is death without redemption.

In His infinite wisdom, our Father created us with flaws so we can learn experientially over our lifetimes to improve ourselves. He gave us His one and only Son, so we can witness the example of how we are to bear the burden of our own crosses. He wants us to learn from our mistakes and to grow spiritually. He loves us.

Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are granted everlasting life, even though we are not deserving of same. Based on our faith – and not on mere works – we are given the opportunity to drink of the spirit of truth. Thank God.

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