Why Was Jesus Crucified
That raises the question: why was Jesus crucified? Jesus is God, so why did God have to be crucified?
Why Jesus was crucified is answered below, but first, here is Golgotha, the "place of a skull" in Israel today. The skull's nose has eroded and the mouth lies below the asphalt cover, but the eye sockets are still visible (compare with the original photo).
After taking this photo of where Jesus was crucified, I was incredulous. Why is the place where Jesus was crucified the wall of a bus station? I had learned that Christians lack political power in Israel today but this was a bit much. Shouldn't the place where Jesus was crucified be at least kept quiet so that people can take a moment to ponder why Jesus was crucified?
So let's answer the question: Why Was Jesus Crucified?
To start, do you know which very famous American once said this:
"I have spent the best years of my life giving people the lighter pleasures, helping them have a good time, and all I get is abuse, the existence of a hunted man."
It was Al Capone. We know him as a criminal, but he thought he was a pretty good person.
Our standard of morality is higher than Al Capone's but God's standard is much higher still. In fact, the Bible says that God's standard is absolute perfection and defines sin as anything that falls short of it, including such seemingly innocuous things like jealousy (Exodus 20:17), lust (Matthew 5:27-28) or being angry without reason (Matthew 5:21-22). The Bible adds that everyone has sinned (Romans 3:23) and that the mandatory punishment for sin is the death penalty (Romans 6:23). That's the bad news.
The 'Gospel', which means, 'good news', is that God loved us too much to wipe us out. But neither could God, who is just, simply let our sins slip by, since that wouldn't have served justice. So what did he do? He came and took our death penalty upon himself.
If that's tricky to understand, imagine you're guilty of a crime that carries the mandatory death penalty. At your sentencing, you stand before the judge, who happens to be your father. Because your father is a good judge who needs to upholds the law, he confirms your death penalty. But then, as you start to panic, your father rises from the judge's seat, takes off the judge's robe, walks down to you and tells you that because he loves you, he will take upon himself the death penalty that you deserve, and adds, "Just truly believe that I did this out of love to save you, and you will be with me in heaven for eternity." That in essence is the good news: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
Some people may tell you that you still need to contribute to your salvation by doing this and that, but that's like telling a death row inmate that good conduct will reverse his death penalty. It's nonsense.
However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't do good deeds. But the reason for doing them is important. We should do good deeds out of sincere gratitude for the salvation Jesus granted us. If we do good deeds thinking that those good deeds save us, we reject Jesus' salvation. It isn't what we do for ourselves but our belief in what God already has done for us out of love.
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