A few years ago, a coworker of mine and I were discussing Christianity. I am a believer, and he is not. He asked me, “Why did it have to go down the way it did? I mean why did Jesus have to die on the cross and all of that.”
He caught me a little off guard, but I gave him my reason that I believe Jesus was crucified. I explained to him that although God’s ways are not ours, and that I can’t speak for God or be 100-percent sure of the exact “why” things went down the way they did, I have a serious theory that’s backed up by scripture.
Sacrifice is one of the strongest actions found in the world, the Bible, and in almost any effort to show love. Fathers go to work each day, sometimes in dangerous places, to provide for their family at home. Wives stay with husbands who may not be the best partner because they are committed to making the relationship work. Parents refinance their homes to pay for a child’s education so that the child might live in a bigger home than they do. Soldiers go off to fight in wars that they may never come home from so that their loved ones will not have to fight at home. Our world, our very existence, is the result of millions of sacrifices over thousands of years.
The word sacrifice is found over 350 times in the Bible, and most of the times it is talking about sacrificing animals to the Lord. Today, the word sacrifice is used to describe actions that go above and beyond the normal efforts of everyday living. When we sacrifice for someone else we are showing – whether the person realizes it or not – our love for that person. And whether or not my coworker realizes it, Jesus died so that a fallen world could be restored. No normal burnt offering of an animal could rise to the occasion of lifting a fallen world.
So since the first man walked the earth until this very day, sacrifice has been, and continues to be, the premier way of showing our love for one another. When God devised His plan to redeem His creation I must assume He had good reason. He’s the creator of everything, including reason! I don’t think my coworker and others who may be seeking the Truth would have understood the depth of our fall if he had just sent us a letter of pardon, so He allowed His perfect Son to be the sacrificed on the cross.
And the power of human sacrifice is still the ultimate act to show love to one another. I do not think my former coworker has embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but he believed my answer was fundamentally sound. I pray that he will continue to ask questions about the God who loves us first.
1 John 4:10 – “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
1 John 2:2 – “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”