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Summary: Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice for the penalty of sin and death

Why did Jesus have to die?

Series: Searching for the Truth about Easter

Matthew 20:17-19

March 13, 2005


George Atley was killed while serving with the Central African Mission. There were no witnesses, but the evidence indicates that Atley was confronted by a band of hostile tribesmen. He was carrying a fully loaded, 10-chamber Winchester rifle and had to choose either to shoot his attackers and run the risk of negating the work of the mission in that area, or not to defend himself and be killed. When his body was later found in a stream, it was evident that he had chosen the latter. Nearby lay his rifle -- all 10 chambers still loaded.

George Atley shows us the reality of what it means to truly sacrifice for the good of others and I believe gives us a rare glimpse of the character of Jesus working in thew lives of His people.

Warren Sapp the great defensive player for the NFL once said of his former coach Tony Dungy: “I would take a bulletin for that man if I knew it wouldn’t kill me.”

A sacrifice is an act of giving up something one values for the sake of something that is of greater importance. Oxford Press

Sacrifice is very much a part of understanding the nature and work of Jesus Christ. In fact, without this understanding Jesus simply does not make sense at all. I believe that the life Jesus led was one of continuous sacrifice.

• He gave up the glory of Heaven

• He gave up human comforts to reach the lost

• He gave up popularity and acceptance to share the Truth

• He gave up His “rights” to accomplish a greater good

• He gave up everything so He could reach those who needed Him most

• He gave up life so you could keep yours

20:17 Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, 18 "We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!"

Let’s review for just a moment about the things stated about Jesus last week

1.) Son of Man - He completely identified with humanity

2.) Son of God - He is completely identified with God

3.) I Am - He is God almighty

If Jesus is God and He came to identify with humanity and God at the same time, why did Jesus have to die? After all he is God and surely there could have been another way to accomplish the plan of God the Father. What was so important about Jesus coming to earth, living out a sinless life and dying on the cross?

Jesus had to die to demonstrate the love of God

Humanity had a problem that is almost as old as time, we have fallen from the purpose and plan that God had when we were first created. Literally, humanity had known God but had chosen to apart from Him. Sin is both rejection of God and rebellion against God. In other words, sin is the act of turning away from God and doing what we know to be wrong. The results of sin was a marred relationship between God and humanity.

The goodness of God in humanity had been replaced with a stubborn selfishness. The glory of God had been replaced with the gain of self. The power of God had been replaced with the helplessness of humanity.

Sin destroyed the relationship with God

Sin was the obstruction that caused a separation to develop between God and humanity. Adam had walked with God in the garden and now that personal relationship was forever damaged because of sin. Sin had created a fundamental breech in the divine human relationship and it was one that we could not repair.

Sin delivered death into the world

Adam and Eve were made to live forever and be in fellowship with God in a deeply personal way. Just as sin destroyed the fellowship that Adam and Eve were meant to enjoy, it also brought death into the picture. The life that they were meant to have was now surrounded by the power of death. When sin entered the world so did death. The bible teaches that the wages of sin is death. In other words, the just payment that sin gets us is death. The reality of sin is entirely connected with the reality of death.

Jesus came into this world to suffer and die as a way to reveal the love that God has for every person. Jesus came so that He could show God’s limitless and abundant love.

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