"Why Did Jesus Have to DIE for my sins?
by Ken Simmons
People hear the phrase “Jesus died for my sins” and they wonder . . . “Why? This doesn’t make any sense. If he was the son of God then why did he have to DIE for my sins? Couldn't he have simply said, 'I forgive you of all your sins' and be done with it?" More than one billion people believe in Islam, and Mohammed didn’t die for the sins of Muslims any more than Buddha died for the sins of Buddhists. The world doesn’t understand this and Christians have done a poor job of explaining it.
There is a scripture that says, “. . . without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness ('of sin' is implied)” (see Hebrews 9:22)
For whatever reasons, God, in His wisdom, has required blood sacrifice to atone for the sins of mankind. Without going into the details of how and why many of the various sacrifices were required, they were spelled out by Moses in considerable detail in the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament.
When Moses made his demands to Pharoah saying, “Let my people go” there were many plagues sent to convince Pharoah that defying the will of God wasn’t such a smart thing to do. Following the plagues of locusts, frogs, the Nile turning to blood, and blisters and boils, the final plague got Pharoah’s attention because it required the death of all first born children in Egypt, which included the Pharoah’s own son.
The only way for the Hebrews to avoid the death of their own first born was to apply the blood of a perfect, spotless lamb onto the door posts and lintels of their houses. This would cause death to “pass over” the houses of the Hebrews. To this day Jewish people still celebrate the "Passover," and that is also why Christians to this day refer to Jesus as “the Lamb of God” since He was the spotless (sinless) sacrifice for the sins of mankind.
The next question would seem to be, “If God required Jesus to be sacrificed for our sins, why did he have to suffer so much. Why did he have to go through such excruciating pain?" (Note: the word excruciating comes from the origins of the word “crucifixion.”) Jesus was spit on, tortured and beaten beyond recognition. They lashed him with leather whips that had pieces of bone and metal on the ends, ripping open his flesh. They shoved a crown of acacia thorns onto his head, causing blood to run down his face.
"Couldn’t the Romans have just killed him quickly without all the torment?" The simple answer would seem to be that . . . great sin requires great sacrifice.
Most people are unaware that Jesus took on Himself all the horrific sins of mankind and in doing so in essence He became sin itself. When Jesus said, in the Aramaic language, "Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani" -- (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) this was in fulfillment of prophecies written about 1,000 years before Jesus was born (see Psalms 22). Because God could not look upon sin, even the sin that Jesus had willingly taken upon Himself, for that brief moment God could not look upon Jesus, and it was then that our Lord cried out "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" which was the literal fulfillment of the 1,000-year-old prophecy. Incidentally, as you will discover in reading this passage, it also spells out in detail the crucifixion of Jesus several hundred years before crucifixion had even been invented. Our Jewish friends have difficulty explaining that one.
Immediately afterward Jesus descended into hell, confronted Satan, ripped the keys of death, hell, and the grave out of the devil's hands, shamed him and made an open spectacle of Satan, so that those that believe on Him would never have to stand before a righteous God and hear the words, “Guilty!” We all have a death sentence on us because of sin, but Jesus took our death sentence upon Himself. When I have spoken to people in prison I tell them, "Jesus took the rap for you and me."
Imagine if you were asked to take someone else’s place and allow yourself to be executed in that person’s stead. Jesus volunteered to do just that by traveling to Jerusalem where He knew ahead of time he would be hanged on a tree. That was part of Satan's plan, but what the devil thought would be his final victory over Jesus, in turn became his ultimate defeat. In that light the scripture that says, “Greater love has no man that he lay down his life for a friend” takes on a whole new meaning (John 15:13).
You may have a new appreciation for the next time you hear someone say, “Jesus died for my sins.”
(NOTE: If you would like to have Ken Simmons speak to your church or organization you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org – You can also read many of his articles on his website at www.kensimmonsministries.com -- Please feel free to share any of Ken's articles with your friends.)