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Because of Love

Because of Love

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Category: Finding My Story in God's Story
Why did Jesus have to go to the cross and die?

Why would the Creator of the universe allow himself to be crucified by creatures he had made (John 1:1-5; Colossians 1:19-23)?

Why would the sinless one give himself, surrender his life and his dignity, to save those who were ungodly, helpless, sinners, and enemies of God (Romans 5:6-11)?

Why would Jesus allow himself to be reviled, mocked, beaten, rejected, abused, ridiculed, beaten, scourged, and executed when he the power to stop it all?

The answer is as simple and understandable as is the most famous verse of the New Testament:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

Jesus went to the cross because of his love for us — you, me, and for every single person in our world.

The Bible does tell us that God's plan to forgive, redeem, and save us involved Jesus going to the cross. However, the Scriptures also make clear that evil and lawless people crucified him to get rid of him (Acts 2:23; 3:13). We also know that without the shedding of blood under the Jewish sacrificial system, there was no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22). Those are also reasons why Jesus went to the cross and died. But the main reason Jesus died on the cross was to demonstrate the love of God.

James Nored talks to us about Jesus' love for us and the way he demonstrated it through his sacrifice on the cross in today's video:

If you can't see the video, and you sure don't want to miss it, view it online. For additional ideas to consider and some things to discuss with others, we encourage you to see the Study Guide.

Jesus loved us so much, and he was so in tune with the Father's will to save us, that he sacrificed his will and his life for us (Mark 14:34-35). He gave himself for all people, even those who do not know him and do not yet believe in him (1 John 2:1-2). Jesus knew that God's power was at work in his sacrificial death on the cross to draw the hearts of all kinds of people to himself (John 12:27-33).

On the surface, a crucified Savior was offensive and stupid because of our human pride. However, this message of sacrifice and love was the power of God to reach into the human heart and change it forever (1 Corinthians 1:20-31). That's why Jesus talked about the cross as being enthroned, the place where he would be exalted and lifted up before us as King and bring glory to God (John 3:14; 8:28; 12:32; 34).

When those who crucified him gave him the title "King of the Jews" and put a sign above his head, they were mocking him. Little did they know that their declaration in mockery would be the coronation truth held dear by millions upon millions who came to believe. Jews and Gentiles alike declare Jesus as King, hero, Messiah, Lord, Son of God, and Savior because of his love displayed at the cross!

The challenge for you and for me as believers, as children of God, is to live in the shadow of that cross. We are called to love the world as the Father displayed in the cross. We are to serve the world as Jesus did by choosing the cross. The early followers believed this so strongly that they put the truth of that conviction to music in a song which Paul used with the followers of Jesus in Philippi to call them back to the basics of Christian humility and service:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

(Philippians 2:5-11)

In a world that seems to grow more and more hostile to Christian faith and virtue, what should be our response?

Paul pointed us to Jesus and the cross. People outside our Christian family should recognize who we are because of our love for each other (John 13:35). Because of Jesus, that love will be expressed in tangible and even costly ways:

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:16-18).

This is the way of the cross. This is the way of Jesus. This is the way of God's will. And, dear friend in Jesus, this way must be our way in a broken world.

Although the world was hostile to Jesus, he spoke forgiveness over his accusers, abusers, and mockers (Luke 23:34). Though he had the power to crush those who tortured him, he chose to be crushed for their sin, rebellion, and hatred (Isaiah 53:5). He came, not to be served as King, but to give his life as a ransom for all so they could have access to him as King (Mark 10:45). And, he did it for love — a love we have received and now must share.

Special thanks for the use of images related to Jesus' ministry from The Lumo Project and Free Bible Images for use on this week's post.

About the Author

James Nored & Phil Ware
In this series, James Nored and Phil Ware partner two pioneering ministries providing resources to reach coming generations. James is a minister, Executive Director of Next Generation for Christ, and author of the Story of Redemption Film Series, filmed in the Israel, U.S., and around the world. This series is designed to lead seekers to faith and strengthen the faith of believers. Divided into 5-6 minute video segments, it is great to use with social media, small groups, sermon series, families, and friends. Phil is President of Heartlight, Inc., a preacher for 40 years, author of five books along with hundreds of articles & 11 years of daily devotionals, coach for churches in transition, and a resource for missionary renewal. Phil's verseoftheday.com devotionals are read by hundreds of thousands every day.

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