Because of the way I share about God, emphasizing His love and His desire for a deep, intimate relationship with each of us, I sometimes do not share in detail about why it was necessary for God to send His one and only Son, Jesus, into the world, and why it was necessary for Jesus to die on the cross. Instead, I explain that Jesus died so that through faith in Him, we may be reconciled to God, leaving out the fuller understanding from the many Bible verses related to this point.
The standard presentation of the Gospel — the Good News of Jesus the Messiah — tends to include many of these verses, since it involves trying to get people to see that they are sinners, why they are worthy of eternal punishment by God, and why they need to stop sinning and ask Jesus to be their Savior. While there is much truth in that approach, I still believe that of primary importance (from God’s perspective) is God’s desire for relationship with us, and of secondary importance is the role of our selfishness (living for self instead of living for God). I prefer to use the term “selfishness” instead of “sin” because I think it is more to the point and less confusing.
Nonetheless, Jesus coming into the world and dying on the cross for us — so that we could be reconciled to God and have an intimate relationship with Him — is the essence of the Good News, regardless of which approach one takes in explaining the Gospel to someone else. In what follows, I list Bible verses under headings so that the reader can better understand the question I posed in the title, “Why did Jesus have to die?” If you prefer, I have made both a Powerpoint presentation and a PDF file for use.
The Good News of Jesus the Messiah
Our Spiritual State Before Jesus — Darkness
- “At one time you were darkness, but now [through faith in Jesus] you are light in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8, ESV).
- God “called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9, ESV).
- “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13, ESV).
- “‘I [Jesus] have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness'” (John 12:46, ESV).
Rightly Deserving God’s Wrath
- “You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Ephesians 2:1-3, ESV).
- “Whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (Spoken by Jesus in John 3:18, ESV).
- “Whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36, ESV).
- “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 3:23, 6:23, NIV)
Jesus’ Death Reconciled Us to God
- “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” Colossians 1:21-22 (NIV).
- “While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10, ESV).
God’s Love Made a Rescue Plan
- God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4, ESV).
- “‘The Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.'” (Spoken by Jesus in Luke 19:10 NLT)
- The Lord does not want anyone “to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, NASB).
- “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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (Spoken by Jesus in John 3:16, NIV).
- “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions… It is by grace you have been saved, through faith” (Ephesians 2:4-5,8a NIV).