My daughter-in-law was watching “The Bible” on TV and said she did not understand why Jesus had to suffer so much. I am not sure how to answer why His Father made him go through so much.
One of the difficulties in understanding why Jesus suffered for sinners is that many of us, especially in the modern world, tend to think of sin only in legal terms as the breaking of some abstract rules. But sin causes real harm, and has real effects, and these must be healed. Something actually has to happen.
For example, let us say that you see me near the edge of a cliff and I warn you to take three steps to the right. But let us also say that, out of rebellion, I take three steps to the left, and slide down a great cliffside into an abyss. I lie there, injured and utterly incapable of ever rescuing myself. Let us then say, in my humiliation and pain, I cry out and ask you to forgive me. In your mercy, you say yes. And that is forgiveness. But in order to be healed and restored, you will now have to expend great effort to come down the cliffside, care for my wounds, and carry me out of the abyss.
As I hope you can see by this analogy, my sin was not simply the breaking of rule. Deep and devastating effects happened in my life, and I was incapable of restoring myself. And this was our state; we were dead in our sins (Col. 2:13). We were incapable of ever restoring or healing ourselves.
Jesus therefore, not only brought us God's forgiveness, but also extended the effort and agony to come down, heal our wounds and lift us up. This was a great, and painful, effort. Our sinful disobedience had brought us suffering and death. Jesus took up that suffering and that death in order to restore us, even elevate us to a higher place.
The horrible suffering of Jesus shows us very clearly how awful sin really is, how it disfigures, wounds, and even brings us death. These are realities, and Jesus takes them up in order to heal them and carry them away for us. We tend to make light of sin today. It is no light matter, and to remember that, we do well to look to any crucifix and see what love cost him.
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