John 19:28-34 New King James Version (NKJV)

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

31 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.

Background

Jesus has spent 3 years teaching, preaching, healing and forgiving. The Jews didn’t like what He was saying and doing, so they conspired to have him killed. They had Him arrested and beaten, then convinced the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, to crucify Him, though Pilate himself found no fault in Jesus. After being whipped 39 times with a cat-of-nine-tails, which would have nearly killed Him already, Christ was forced to march a few miles carrying His own cross while angry crowds continued to mock and beat Him. Then, He was nailed to that very cross, and held up by those nails, digging into Him with every movement.  He wouldn’t be able to breathe without lifting Himself up by those nails, causing even more pain.

This doesn’t even begin to cover the excruciation of the Cross.

A Cross Of Love

A just and loving God has to have two things: Righteous Law and Mercy.

How could a loving, all-powerful God allow this to happen to His Son? Is He not truly omnipotent? Or is He not truly loving? These are questions that are asked regarding the Crucifixion. The answer is His love for you.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

A just and loving God has to have two things: Righteous Law and Mercy. In God’s perfect plan He has mercy in His law. When God created us, He gave us a special gift: free will. While He has a plan for us, we are free to choose to accept or deny it. You will hear people say you’ll be happier if you follow His plan, but I disagree with that statement. You will have joy if you do, but happiness is not guaranteed. (That’s another topic entirely) There are plenty of happy people who don’t follow His will. That happiness is fleeting though.

But, because He gave us free will, it meant we would sin. Because we are not perfect. Now, sin is a genetic thing, it’s built into us, and we cannot escape it. It is passed down through the seed of the father. (Which is why Jesus only has an earthly mother, not a father, because Mary couldn’t pass on sin) Because God knew we would sin, and that sin, by its very definition would separate us from Him, He worked out the rules to justify and forgive us.

Justification comes through faith, but forgiveness comes through the shedding of innocent blood. Before Christ, we had to sacrifice animals for this forgiveness. But because an animal doesn’t equate to a human soul, the blood was a temporary atonement. It had to be done multiple times. But this wasn’t what God had in mind for the whole world. However, He had to prepare the way with the prophets. That’s why it took 4,000 years before He fulfilled the Law on the Cross.

Now, our forgiveness comes from that Cross. The punishment for all sins was laid upon Him. However, because justification comes through faith, we have to believe on Him, and that is how we can gain this justification and forgiveness.

But still, why couldn’t God have just forgiven us anyway? Why send His Son to die like that? Because then He wouldn’t be a Just God. If He isn’t a Just God, then His Word is invalidated and we can’t trust Him. But glory to Him, we know He is just, and faithful to His Word, and because of that, He gave us a way to be Justified.

Justification doesn’t mean we are without sin, only that we are forgiven of our sins. We must be truly repentant, though. That means trying to not sin. It’s not enough to say, “alright, I’ll go ahead and lie, cheat, and steal, because God will forgive me afterward.” It’s required that you strive to change. Because the mark of a saved individual is a changed spirit, being a new creature in Christ, and bearing the fruits of the Spirit.

Daily Challenge

Pray today that you can trust in His Word. Seeing that He loves you enough to die for you while upholding and fulfilling His Law. Pray to bear fruits, and that you may grow and change in Him, being the new creature for the Creator.

2 thoughts on “A Just & Loving God: Why Did Jesus Have to Die on the Cross?

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