Preparing for Easter: Why the Cross?

"So they took Jesus, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified Him and with Him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them...When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, 'It is finished,' and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit." John 19:16-18, 30

This was such a violent and bloody death, Why? At Golgotha, most wondered why, if He is King He couldn't save Himself? Through reading the Bible, we see God carried out His plan perfectly, including allowing for many illegal tribunals, the conviction of Jesus, and HIs death. Jesus had gone into Jerusalem knowing exactly what would happen to Him. He knew He was sent to die. He could have saved Himself, but then the plan wouldn't have been carried out. But again, why the cross? Why such a blood death?

Before I came to fully believe that Jesus was my Savior, my two toddlers had been attending preschool at a local church. One morning at home, I was busy cleaning up and they were playing with a set of blocks on the floor. My four-year-old son said, "Look, we made a cross!" My daughter, three, replied in the saddest voice, "Jesus died on the cross." Without missing a beat, my son said, "It's okay, He died so we could live."

I was astonished, to say the least. It gave me new perspective on the phrase,"out of the mouths of babes!" While they may have been merely repeating something they'd heard at school, I knew that it had not only somehow rung true for them, but that I was meant to hear what they said. I knew I had to decide what the cross meant to me.

The cross forces us to make a decision. there' no evidence in the Bible or elsewhere that Jesus was guilty of any crime or had ever sinned. If we accept that He died on the cross while He was innocent, we have to ask why? The Scripture also records that He gave up His Spirit at the moment of death. He chose to die, just as He chose to enter Jerusalem knowing what He would face. Again, why? The only way it makes sense is if He intended to present Himself as a blood sacrifice for sin, and because He was without sin, the sacrifice wasn't for Him. Then whose sin? The cross forced me to look at myself and ask whether I'm a sinner. Was it for me that He died? Was it for you too? Was it for all of us?

Acknowledging that Jesus is my promised Savior required that I recognize I've separated myself from God due to my sin and I need redemption. God's holiness requires perfection and I'll always fall short. It requires that I admit my need for God's grace and accept that his story was written for me.

This is an excerpt from my book, HIStory in 30 days: Genesis to RevelationYou can receive a copy in time for Easter! 


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