Why did Jesus die on the cross?
by Anna Aven Howard
We live in a culture of death and pain, some of it caused by our own actions. We kill things everyday. We kill relationships with our broken words and actions. We hurt those we love the most so easily that sometimes it doesn’t seem possible for that to have really happened. Could we really have done that? Could we really have said that? Have you ever sat back after something you did or said and wondered what on earth had gotten into you?
The brokenness and death on this earth came about as a result of sin (Romans 6:23). Not only death on this earth, but eternal death or doom (Romans 6:21). The whole world is broken as a result of our actions, our sin.
Quite simply, all of us are sinners (Romans 3:23-26). And despite whatever meanings may pop into your head when you hear the word “sin,” sin at its most basic definition is an unwillingness to trust God. Plain and simple. It’s what we do every time we choose to ignore what God has to say and do whatever we want instead.
And since sin is falling short of God’s glorious standard (Romans 3:23), then none of us is worthy of God. All actions have an equal and opposite reaction, or so the laws of physics tell us. To state it another way, there is a consequence of everything we do. And the consequence of sin is death.
God could have just wiped everyone out and started over, or not started over at all. Said forget it; I’m through. It would have been his prerogative. After, all, getting rid of something bad is good right? But he didn’t get rid of us. Instead of wiping everyone out, he entered our brokenness, took on our humanity, and took our place.
On the cross, Jesus accomplished our freedom from slavery. Those things we do that we don’t want to do? We can be free if we accept what Jesus has done for us. He came to give us life in all its fullness (John 10:10), here today and forever with him in eternity. He died because he wanted us to live as fully as we can.
Last time I checked, that sort of thing was called love. And this love reaches so far beyond our experience of things going by that name that it’s difficult to understand. Fortunately, we don’t have to understand it to accept it. It’s there waiting. Jesus is there waiting for us to choose to live.