Lesson 2 Video
Why did Jesus have to die on a cross?
Without answering that question, God's good news doesn't make sense.
The only way to understand why is to listen to God's answer. God says he willingly chose to experience our lives firsthand and then die for us so we could be free from sin, so we could be reconciled to him, and so he could win our love and dedication.
Why did he do it the way he did? Because he chose to.
God says that life is in the blood. Forgiveness is only possible when pure blood is shed, and only pure blood can give endless life because it's not under the curse of death. That is why Jesus, the only truly pure man, willingly chose to die for us.
God promised throughout history that he would die for us. When Jesus lived out what was prophesied, he showed God’s promises to be true and trustworthy. So Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies written long before he was born.
Let’s look through a list of some of what Jesus achieved by choosing to die.
- He died to bring us to God.
- His Spirit brought us life. As we die to our evil, we are made alive by his Spirit.
- He was beaten for our sin, and his punishment brings us peace and healing.
- His obedience fulfilled prophecy.
- He paid our debt to God when he was nailed to the cross, satisfying God's justness.
- He was forsaken so we could be welcomed.
- He laid down his life voluntarily so we could take his life. This is how he offers an exchanged life—his for ours.
- He set an example of the servitude and selflessness he calls us to, purifying the world.
- He took our curse by being hung on a tree so we could be free from the curse of slavery to evil.
- He fixed what Adam broke. Adam, the first man created, was born without evil desires, but his evil actions brought death to the world. Jesus was born without evil desires, but his sinless, voluntary death brought life to the world.
- He is the beginning and the end, so all of life is filtered through him.
- He tasted death so we could taste life. Though he didn't need to, he experienced everything to show that he has authority over everything.
- He was the greatest servant, laying down his life for people who hated him. In this, he shows his love more deeply than any other action could.
- His perfect blood cures our sickness and gives us life that won't end.
What a remarkable set of accomplishments and promises! What do they mean for us?
God says that when we trust Jesus died and accomplished everything for us, we get to experience the rewards he earned. Jesus took our curse so we would be set free from the curse of evil. This promise gives us confidence that as we find our life and joy in him, he gives us strength to love and obey him instead of indulging in evil.
We don't have to feel hopeless when we look at bad habits we haven't previously been able to kick. Jesus paid our debt so God could view us as pure. This promise gives us confidence that nothing can keep us from him.
We are saved by God's grace not by what we do, so we can't take pride in our own abilities. Still, a change in our lives is what confirms that our trust in God and love for him is real. For example, if a man says he loves his wife but he doesn't put her first and treat her with love, he is proving that he doesn't really love her. His lifestyle makes his words meaningless even if he feels great affection for her.
Our trust in who God is and what he promises gives us the reasons and strength we need to live the life he demands from us. The Bible says that this happens through the Holy Spirit and that the Holy Spirit is our guarantee (proof) that we belong to Jesus and are considered righteous because of his sacrifice.
Our trust in Jesus gives us the strength to prove who we are as Christians by living a pure life. This doesn't mean we will be perfect, but if we are Christians, God will be perfecting us.
And if we remain faithful, we will be made totally perfect in the next life.
Jesus said we are like branches on a grapevine. When we become his, we begin to tap into his life like a branch on a vine. His roots give us food and help us grow as God continues pruning us so we bear good fruit. The fruit he makes grow in us are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
If our lives are changed by God’s Spirit through our trust in Jesus’ life and death for us, then the change in our lives gives proof that our belief is real. These promises give us confidence that what he accomplished by his death is ours.
We are not saved by the fruit of the Spirit. If we practice self-control and have peace, that is not what saves us. But if we live a fruitless life, we should question if we are Christians.
His blood is the water, and our lives are the branches. Spend time in the light of the son to grow strong and mature.
Read Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12, a section of prophecy written roughly 700 years before Jesus lived. Then read John 19:16-42. Write down your thoughts and questions about these sections and share with another Christian. How does the idea that Jesus died to heal you impact you emotionally?