Is Jesus Something More?

Day 4 of 7 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Jesus Dies 

The death of Jesus stands at the center of history. On the cross, the sinless Son substitutes himself for sinful man that we might receive life in him. The crucifixion of Christ is both the greatest evil and the greatest good of all time.

Why did Jesus have to die?

In the beginning, God created everything. He made mankind in his image, appointing them as rulers over the world. God walked with Adam and Eve intimately. They enjoyed every good in the garden of God but chose to sin against him by substituting themselves in his place. They acted on their own authority to choose between good and evil, instead of submitting to the ultimate authority of the true God.

Our first parents’ act of rebellion brought the curse of death upon the world. What’s more we’ve all sinned falling short of God’s standard. We’re sinners by nature and choice. We love our sin more than we love God. We’re enslaved. We’re separated from God and under his wrath, rightly deserving death.

God could have said, “The End.” He wasn’t obligated to save anyone! The story didn’t begin with innocent people hurt by a bad God. It began with a good God betrayed by sinful people. But God, rich in mercy and love, pursued and saved us by substituting his Son in our place.

God’s great exchange—Jesus’ life for yours.

God’s couldn’t simply “overlook” your sin because his love and justice are inseparable. Someone had to die for your sins. It should be your death. But Jesus exchanged your death for his sinless life. He lived the life you failed to live and died for you as an innocent man—betrayed by a friend, beaten by lawless men, condemned like a criminal, and executed by a coward.

Although it’s the greatest evil ever committed, the murder of Jesus is the best news in the world for believers. It’s the gospel—the good news that though you substituted yourself in the place of God, God substituted his Son in your place that you might draw near to him in righteousness. Those who repent and believe can receive new life in Jesus, be reconciled to God, cleansed from shame, restored to honor, and given an eternal inheritance in the family of God!

Consider/Discuss:

  1. How have you acted as your own authority?
  2. What does Jesus’ substitution reveal about God’s love?