These teachings are now available in 30 minute videos at our YouTube channel at 721ministries.org.
Last week we talked about why Jesus had to actually die. As C.S. Lewis put it:
If God was prepared to let us off, why in the world did he not do so? And what possible point could there be in punishing an innocent person instead?
I agree. Why couldn’t God just send Jesus, have him live the perfect life he did, and extend forgiveness to all who surrendered their lives to him? (Notice I said, “surrendered to,” not, “believed in.”)
Mr. Lewis, answers his own question:
None at all that I can see, if you are thinking of punishment in the police-court sense. On the other hand, if you think of a debt, there is plenty of point in someone who has some assets paying it on behalf of someone who does not.
Please recall that last week we established the fact, the reality, that in the natural flow of our existence, “Sin brings death.” Whenever you sin, against yourself or someone else, there is a death of some sort—in the relationship with your God and your relationship with that someone else. You know and I know it.
Therefore, the world view, the thirty-thousand-foot view of ‘sin brings death,’ is that Jesus died to provide a path to salvation for the world.
“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
But what about the one-foot view? The up close and personal view? The view that takes the world view and applies it to each of us? In our 721 meetings last week, we passed out mirrors to each man. We then said, “Each time you look in that mirror, you are looking at the reason Jesus had to die.”
That is the one-foot view. Yes, you my friend, reading this right now; you are the reason Jesus had to die. Your sins put him up on that cross. Your self-will. Your determination to be king or queen of your life. Notice I am not talking so much about your behavior, although that certainly plays an integral part, but about your will and your heart.
Some of you have behaved well, for the most part. Almost all of you better than I. But Jesus had to die for your sinful, stubborn, Self-obsessed, heart, even more so than for your sinful behavior.
Mr. Lewis shines helpful light on this:
Now what was the sort of ‘hole’ man had got himself into? He had tried to set up on his own, to behave as if he belonged to himself. In other words, fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms. Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you’re sorry, realizing that you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor—that is the only way out of our ‘hole.’ This process of surrender … is what Christians call repentance. (Mere Christianity)
So, each time you look in the mirror you are looking at the real reason Jesus had to die. Take a hard, long look. Let it sink in. You are the reason.
But, after you have taken this long, hard look, please step back, pause, take a breath, and then look back into that mirror. The person you see reflected in that mirror is also the reason Jesus was willing to die.
Yes, you are the reason he had to die. But you are the reason he was willing to die!
Jesus lived the life I never could have, and died the death I surely should have, so I could have eternal life starting now. (Unknown)
Jesus did this – he died for you – because he knows you; he knows your innermost fears, your deepest regrets, your hopes and dreams, as well as your fragile humanity. He knows you have imprisoned yourself, often without realizing it, and he was willing to die to set you free. To set you free to live the life that is truly life, life to the full, that you can only experience with him.
Next Week: If Jesus had to die, so do you.