Why Did Jesus Die? – Greg Albrecht
“Why did Jesus die?” may seem like an easy question, because the answer seems obvious, doesn’t it? Normally, most Christians immediately answer the question something like this: “He died to atone, that is pay for, our sins. As the Lamb of God, he took away the sins of the world, redeeming us from sin through his precious blood. He died that we might die to sin, so that he might live in us, producing his righteousness within us.”
That answer is true—but it’s not the whole story.
Much of the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments, presents the cross of Christ as a forensic event. That is, God uses the language and word pictures of the courtroom, of judgment given by a judge, determining physical punishments for breaking laws.
But it is easy to let this word picture and the reality it depicts misrepresent God.
As we consider the question “Why Did Jesus Die?” we are tempted to follow the lead of currently popular television crime shows, and as spiritual crime scene investigators examine the evidence.
When we do examine the evidence of the crucifixion, as a crime scene, we determine that Christ died for our sins. Jesus did die for our sins, and that’s part of the biblical answer to “Why Did Jesus Die?”— but it’s not the whole story.
Because of a distorted picture of God, many Christians, perhaps the majority of church-goers within Christendom, understand the cross of Christ something like this:
1) The problem is that Adam and Eve sinned. Everything was great. God was happy. But then Adam and Eve messed up. They ate that metaphorical apple. And God wasn’t happy.
2) God’s pet project, the Garden of Eden, was now a catastrophe. Adam and Eve had botched up the whole plan. Now, God the Father had to scramble—his neat, well-ordered plan had been bungled by Adam and Eve. So God the Father called an emergency Triune family meeting: “What can we do?” he asked God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
3) God the Father concluded, “Because of sin there will be all kinds of evil. There will be enormous heartache and pain and bloodshed. So there’s going to have to be blood to pay for Adam and Eve’s sin. Jesus—you’re going to have to go down there and fix it.”
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