Why did Jesus have to die?
People give many reasons as to why He died, but let’s focus on what the bible says about why He died. We won’t cover who was responsible for His death or how He died; but rather in this question, we will focus on the “why?”
The bible tells us that when people sinned, they ultimately sinned or disobeyed God. This brought brokenness into the relationship between God and human beings.
While humans may not always see this as a big deal, God does. He knows fully what was lost when humans sinned. He knows what He had in mind for humans and what state humans fell into because of sin. Sin put God in a dilemma – He had to justly deal with humans breaking His laws; but at the same time, loved us and wanted to find a way to redeem us and restore us to the relationship with Him that we were designed for originally.
Think of it this way, when people break the law today (commit a crime), they must be punished. But at the same time, if people are really sorry for what they have done and show it through “good behavior”, they often have their sentence reduced. And often, after going through the legal process and “paying for their sins”, they are restored to society and their previous relationships.
This is why God originally in the early history of His people, the Hebrews, He instituted a sacrificial system. Blood was always spilled [that of an unblemished animal] to cover over the people’s sins. This was inaugurated when the Israelites were delivered from Egypt.
As we fast-forward hundreds of years to the time of Jesus, the bible tells us that He would become the final and ultimate sacrifice – or the Lamb of God who would die for the sins of the world.
In the original days prior to Jesus, they had to perform the ritual of sacrifice on a regular basis. But since Jesus came and gave the ultimate sacrifice on the cross, this was the last sacrifice needed to forgive people’s sins.
Sometimes we forget the extraordinary consequences of sin. According to the bible, it is the reason for every problem we see in our world -–death, suffering, weather that goes wild and randomly kills thousands at a time, accidents, wars, terrorism, etc. All of these are a result of people turning away from God’s laws and rejecting Him as our God to serve ourselves and seek pleasure for our own ends.
All sacrifices prior to Jesus were a sign of the coming Messiah who would sacrifice once and for all Himself. Because Jesus was both human and God, when Jesus died, it was God absorbing the pain and suffering for our sins.
Think of it this way. When someone hurts you through cutting words or an offensive behavior, it affects you personally. But when you choose to forgive them rather than retaliate or seek revenge; then you are absorbing the pain of what they did rather than them.
This is what God has done for us through the death of Jesus Christ in a much more dramatic and encompassing manner. You see, from the beginning, God used a perfect and innocent animal to represent at the sacrifices the perfect, innocent and sinless Son of God who would come to forgive sin. But He also came to do one more essential thing – bring us into relationship with God.
Unless our sin is removed, we can’t have a relationship with God. In other words, we can’t self-generate forgiveness (this must come from the heart of God) nor can we repair or restore a relationship with God unless He first initiated it.
So, again, we ask, “Why did Jesus die?” He died to shed His blood to cover over and remove our sins so that no barrier would stand between God and those who would choose to accept His offer of forgiveness and eternal relationship with Him!