Summary: Why did Jesus have to die? What does the Resurrection mean to me?
Most of you know the Easter story; We know the timeline: Jesus came into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday – riding on a donkey and everyone singing and praising God, shouting Hosanna and waving palm branches.
Jesus taught the people daily in the temple while the religions leaders plotted His death. On Thursday, Jesus gathered with His disciples in an upper room to observe the Passover meal, with what we have come to know as the Last Supper, or the first Lord’ Supper. From there Jesus and the disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed,
Matthew 26:39b (NKJV) “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
Even Jesus did not want to go to the cross. Why was this part of the plan?
Jesus was betrayed by Judas, delivered into the hand of the high Priest and temple officials. Jesus was given a mockery of a trail where false witnesses were brought in. He was delivered to the Romans and the crowd, who just 5 days earlier was singing Hosanna now was shouting “Crucify Him.” Jesus was scourged, whipped to literally an inch of His life, then mocked and forced to wear a crown made of thorns. Nailed to cross, and left to die a most excruciating death. Then on the third day, Jesus arose from the grave in victory.
The Question this morning is Why? If Jesus is God, why did He have to die? Why is Easter so important? The Resurrection, so what? What does the resurrection have to do with me? Why was all this necessary? Why is all this important?
We hear the church talk: “Jesus died for our sins.” Even today on Easter, many just don’t understand the “why?” of it all. The answer to this question begins way back in Genesis.
In the beginning when God created man and woman, they were sinless. They had the whole Garden of Eden to do as they pleased. They had only one rule.
Genesis 2:16–17 (NKJV) And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
God establishes one rule, one commandment. Only one act would be a sin. The penalty for sin was established – death. The Penalty for offending a Holy God, God Almighty, the Creator of the universe, is death! From the very beginning, death has been the penalty for any and all sin.
Well you know what happened. The serpent tempted Eve; Eve ate the forbidden fruit and passed the fruit on to Adam, then along came God. God asked:
Genesis 3:11b (NKJV) Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
Then both Eve and then Adam played the blame game and did what people have done ever since – failed to take responsibility for their actions – but do you know what? God knows all. Both Adam and Eve paid the penalty. They died and death has been with us ever since. You see that has been the condition of human race ever since. Those who say people are basically good has never read the Bible to see what God has to say on the subject.
The fact is, man is inherently prone to do bad. We all have inherited a sin nature from Adam. Think about it, you don’t have teach a baby to misbehave, be bad, to be selfish, to be self-centered. Skip forward to the days of Noah – This is what God had to say about mankind so far in history:
Genesis 6:5 (NKJV) Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Then came the first great judgment on the Earth. God passed sentence on the sinfulness on the Earth, and all the Earth died except for Noah and his family. But even after the flood, God knew that humans have not changed. Noah got out of the boat and made a burnt offering to God:
Genesis 8:21 (NKJV) And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.
We are all naturally incline to do evil. You do not have to teach sin to a child. The Psalms tell us:
Psalm 14:2–3 (NKJV) 2 The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. 3 They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt;