Why The Cross?
If Easter has never made sense to you, if you have ever wondered why a God of love, is celebrated by a brutal death, if you have wondered why Jesus had to die and why God couldn't just shake the sky and shout out with thunder and angels and save us all, then you are not alone.
I have asked the same questions a thousand times. I have sat through sermons on it and listened to it discussed in depth at bible studies. I have read books upon books trying to understand why Jesus had to die and why God couldn't have just told us how much he loved us and told us we are saved.
If He is a God of mercy, God of love, God of power, then why did it have to be Jesus' death on the cross? It never made any sense.
Why did Jesus have to die? Why couldn't God just shake the sky and shout out his love. Why couldn't it be fireworks and thunder and mind blowing shows of power and might?
It all comes down to love.
Understanding Gods love has helped me to comprehend why it had to be Jesus and why it had to be death.
God wants us to know how deeply he loves us. He wants us to understand his incredible love, so that we will love him in return and yearn for a relationship with him.
How could He explain that kind of love to us? How could he show us he loves us more than anything else in the entire universe? How do you prove love?
If you are laying in the middle of the train tracks and a train is speeding towards you and someone throws themself in front of the train so it derails and you are saved, they have committed the ultimate act of love. They gave up their life for you.
God took it one step farther. He sent a piece of himself down to earth. This is divine and huge and mind boggling, and I am not the person to explain the trinity, but lets just agree that this is where faith in an incredible, powerful, mysterious God comes in to play.
He sends a part of himself to the world; not just a grown man who shows up to change the world, but Jesus comes down as a baby. An innocent, fully reliant on human beings, infant. A son. A child to God.
God watches as that baby grows, he watches Jesus take his first steps, his listens to him babble his first words. He sees Jesus grow under the care of someone else, and all the while God is watching. This baby, a piece of Gods own self, grows into a man. This man bears the weight of being Godlike in a human shell.
Jesus knew the pain of what the cross would mean. God watched Jesus cry out in the garden, “God take this burden”. He watched his son weep under the pressure of what it would mean to carry the sin of the world.
God watched his son beaten, demoralized, humiliated. God watched every labored breath of Jesus on that cross. And he did nothing. He could have reached out at any moment, and relieved Jesus. He could have made it less painful, He could have done a million things to make it easier on Jesus; easier on himself.
But He didn’t.
God didn’t just throw himself in front of the train to show his love for you. He threw his child. And he watched that child suffer. A Fathers pain, a Fathers gut wrenching desire to help his Son and yet instead, he let Jesus suffer and die a brutal human death, so that you and I and everyone else that hears the story of Jesus would know the depth of God’s love. God loves you so much that he gave his only Son. (John 3:16)
It takes on new meaning when you see it for what it is. God would have given his own life, but even more he gave his own life, in the form of a child. His child, that he loved, and yet he loves us so much more, that he was willing to watch his child suffer and die, just so that we could understand how deeply he truly loves us.
God could have just enacted some grand gesture of fireworks and volcanos and explosions to prove His love. He could have shouted it from the mountains in voices of thunder, “I LOVE YOU.” But He didn’t.
Because there is no love deeper, no love greater than the love for a child. God’s son, Jesus, was that child. Jesus was the ultimate proof of God’s love.
Being a Christian is simple. Believe that God loves you that much. He loves you and wants to be with you so much, that He placed his own child in front of the train to derail it and save you.
God wants you to be with him. He wants you to join him in Heaven someday, and there is nothing you have done or can do to deserve it. Nothing you can do to earn it. God only asks that you understand and believe the depths of his love.
Once you understand that kind of love, that kind of sacrifice, you will want to spend your whole life paying it back to him. God doesn’t want our love because as Christians we are commanded to do so, He wants us to choose to love him as much as he loved us.
True love is a choice.
Celebrate this Easter with love.