So why did it have to be Jesus? Many may wonder why God, in all of his wisdom and creativity, could He not find more than one option to save the world. Why was Jesus the only option for mankind to be saved? Many more people than you might think, really struggle with this question. Because, at the heart of this question, is the issue of whether Jesus is the only way to God. If there was any other way that mankind could be saved than having Jesus die, then that would mean that Jesus could not be the only way to God.
If you ask anyone the most well-known verse in the Bible, almost everyone would say, John 3:16. It is a powerful verse with a great message. But have you ever wondered why? What was so demanding in God’s great love for us that it meant Jesus would have to be sent to this world? And not just sent, but sent to be crucified in the most horrific manner ever devised. Could not the verse have read something like this? “God so loved the world that he gave…a great and mighty army of angels or a million rainbows that never left or made the stars spell out “love” in every language that would ever be spoken or just give a pardon for all the sins and failures ever committed. Why couldn’t he just say that? Wouldn’t this whole thing be a lot easier?
Instead, the Bible said it in the only way it could; because of God’s incredible love for the whole world, the only answer, the only hope, was to send His son to die for every person who was ever created on the face of the earth. So the power behind God’s great love is the why. Why did Jesus have to die?
A few years ago, Lesa and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and I was determined to get her the perfect gift. But I soon discovered that no matter what gift I thought of, no gift would ever be perfect. Now, she would have thought that any gift I gave her was perfect. But from my perspective, no gift would ever be enough. This was the terrible problem that mankind faced in their pursuit to be good enough for God. Our sin against God was so great that no matter how great the sacrifice, it was never going to be enough.
The Old Testament was full of great sacrifices, they would offer thousands of animal sacrifices at a time and they would only offer perfect ones without any outward blemishes. All of these sacrifices were given at great cost, but no matter what the sacrifice or how many were offered, the Bible teaches us in Hebrews 10:4 …it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Those sacrifices could not forgive sin; only the perfect sacrifice of Jesus could make our relationship right with God. Jesus had to die. But again, why?
The Bible gives us three clear reasons why Jesus had to die. First, Jesus had to die to make the New Covenant he had for us take effect. Hebrews 9:17 …a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. Nothing can happen in a will until the death takes place. Until that time, it has no power or resources to give authority over anyone. But, when someone dies, what was only paper becomes the law of the land. (Except in America of course, where everything is contested and challenged without end. But you get my point.) The reason we have a New Covenant and that it has power over our life is because of Jesus’ death. So now, we have authority and power to live without sin, the forgiveness of Jesus is not just a word, it is the power to change our lives.
Second, forgiveness demands the shedding of blood. Hebrews 9:22 …without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Moses said this is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you to keep. But Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” Luke 22:20. Notice in the Old Testament it was something that had to be kept, while in the New Testament it has been poured out for us. We often turn away from the gruesomeness of what the crucifixion was really like, but that act of pouring out his blood gives us forgiveness.
Third, the judgment of God demands a substitute. Hebrews 9:28 …Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people… There had to be a payment for the sin. It could not be just excused, ignored or done away with by the wave of a hand. In the Old Testament, people would gather and wait to see if the High Priest would come out of the Holy of Holies where the sacrifice was given, because that meant the substitute was accepted. People today ask, how do I know that my sins have been forgiven? Because Matthew 27:50-51 teaches us that when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. How do we know that God has accepted Jesus as our substitute? Because God tore open the curtain that no priest would ever go behind again and declaring that He had accepted Jesus Christ for us as the only acceptable substitute for our sins.
The victory was won at the cross and proven Sunday at the empty tomb! Why did it have to be Jesus? Only Jesus had the power to enact the New Covenant by shedding his sinless blood and becoming the substitute for you and me..