Summary: One of the questions that gets asked is why did Jesus have to die? Couldn't there have been some other way to accomplish salvation for mankind? Today we'll look to answer that question and see why Jesus had to die.
NO OTHER WAY
One of the questions that gets asked is why did Jesus have to die? Couldn't there have been some other way to accomplish salvation for mankind? Couldn't God just forgive us without Jesus having to come to earth and be crucified? God can do anything, right? So why would he have Jesus go through all that? It doesn't make sense; why not make it easier on him?
1) Jesus asked for another way.
Mark 14:35-36, "Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane just moments before his arrest. It was so intense for Jesus that in Luke's gospel it says that he was actually sweating drops of blood. This is an extremely rare condition known as hematidrosis and it occurs when someone is dealing with extreme physical or emotional stress.
Jesus is agonizing over what he knows is going to happen to him so he cries out, asking the Father to provide another way for salvation to happen. In Luke's version Jesus said, "Father if you are willing, take this cup from me". So apparently God was not willing to spare his son from agony, torture and death because as we all know, the cup of suffering was not taken from Jesus.
If anything is possible for God then why didn't he provide another way? Why didn't he spare his son? Before getting into the reasons why it had to be this way, we need to understand how painful it must have been for the Father to deny his Son this request. If there were another way, God would've provided it.
One of the most painful things to go through as a parent is to watch your child suffer and be powerless to do anything about it. They’re crying out to you and all you want is to take the pain away. You wish God would put it on you instead of them. So you hold them, pray and wait in agony for their pain to subside.
Knowing the pain I’ve gone through in these situations, I can only imagine God’s pain as he watched his son go through his torture and crucifixion. Then to hear Jesus cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus is saying, “Father, why have you left me, why have you abandoned me, why have you deserted me?”
I can’t imagine how excruciating each step must have been as the Father turned his back on his son and walked away when Jesus became our sin. And one of the most remarkable things about the Father is that he had the power to end his son’s suffering. It's hard enough to watch our kids suffer and not be able to stop it, how much more unbearable would it be to allow it to continue knowing I could stop it?
Sometimes parents go through this when the child needs to be taught a lesson about something; whether it's figuring something out on their own or suffering the consequences of their poor choices. Even though you know it's what's best it's still painful to endure.
They ask you to help, they ask you to reconsider but you stand firm, knowing that what they're going through is necessary. You're willing to be thought of as a bad parent; you're willing to have your child be upset with you in order to do what's best for them, regardless of whether they can understand that right now or not.
Not that Jesus felt that way toward the Father but his despairing cry would still have been painfully difficult to hear. It would pain the Father deeply to have to watch his son go through everything that was necessary for mankind's salvation. Forsaking his son would be the hardest thing for the Father to do.
So we need to understand that when God denied Jesus' request it wasn't because he didn't care. If all that pain could've been avoided the Father would've made another way. But why did it have to be this way? Why did Jesus have to suffer? Why did he have to die?
2) Why was death the only way?
It was needed to show the extent of our sin.
Paul said in Rom. 3:23 that all have sinned. He said later in Rom. 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. A wage is something you earn for something you do. What did we do? We sinned. What did we earn from that? Death; specifically spiritual death. God told Adam to not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil or he would die.