You know what? Sometimes God doesn’t make much sense to me. Yup, you just heard me said that. Please read on, and you’ll understand.
It has struck me for quite some time, this one single question:
Why did Jesus have to die – like this?
I guess that question came from a mixture of having too many happily-ever-after-tales, my curiosity, and my stubbornness.
But someone tell me it’s a good question, please. It is, isn’t it?
Now think about it. God created the universe. He created the Law. It was His game, it was His rules. He could have changed them. He could have saved mankind in a less hurtful way. Why should He die? It doesn’t make any sense. He is THE God. He could have forgiven us in any way He wanted to, couldn’t He? Why die?
That question bugged me. And to be frank, it made me feel bad. After all that He’s done on the cross for me, I decided to respond by…questioning it?
Feeling that it was too much of a doubt, too ungrateful of a question and that upon being asked and not finding an answer will cause more harm than good (and possibly impede other people’s faith), I tucked the question away, somewhere in the back of my head. You see, for someone undeservingly saved by grace and mercy, I am a rather ungrateful brat. I am rather curious in nature, and that curiosity too has made me question a lot of things about God. And trust me, you don’t wanna know how logical (re:stubborn) I can get. Until today. I was talking to my best friend about the Bible. And that question surfaced to my conscious mind again.
“Should I ask? But what if I don’t get the answer? What if this question hinders other people’s faith instead?”
But somehow, I just had this urge to discuss this question with this friend of mine. Maybe because I knew that he is spiritually mature enough to handle these kinds of questions without hindering his faith despite not getting an answer. Or maybe I hoped that he could give me a satisfying answer. But now I believe that it’s an invitation from God to know Him and His unconditional love better.
So I asked him.
Hey, don’t you wonder sometimes? Why did God have to die? I mean, He could have just forgiven us without dying, couldn’t He? It’s not like someone has put the rule in place and told Him “You have to die on a cross to save these sinners”. And even if someone did, it’s not like it matters. He is THE God. There ain’t no telling Him what to do. He can do what He wants to, save who He wants to, in the way He wants to.
I was ready for prejudice, to be honest. Or possibly rebuked on how I should not be questioning all the works that He has done on the cross and so on. Yet to my surprise, he said, “You know what? I’ve asked the exact same question before. Why don’t we look for the answer?”
And so we searched for answers. I went through pages, chunks of texts, long paragraphs, and scholarly theological articles. Yet nothing could satisfy my insatiable need for an answer that answers my question. And then the answer that slapped me real hard in the face came in one short yet mind-blowing sentence:
God is the God who achieves what God wants through suffering, self-sacrificial love
BOOM. It blew my mind.
God could have simplified things to save us.
He could have chosen not to die.
On a cross.
But He didn’t.
The fact that He Himself had to die on a cross, not only showed how great our transgressions were, but of how great the love that conquered it, cleansed it, and made us worthy of His love.
The fact that God was the one to put the laws in place yet instead of going against His righteousness and breaking them when He could have done so, gave His one and only Son for us showed His unchanging, righteous and loving nature at the same time. Our God is a covenant-keeping God. And the good news is Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations” – He will never stop loving you. He had to go to such lengths to keep His covenant with you. Even when you were not worth saving, let alone loving. Of His faithfulness therefore, you can be assured.
He could have saved us only with His Word anyway. He could have died a less terrible death anyway. He could have even chosen not to save us anyway. We’re sinners anyway. But He died despite all the reasons He could have decided not to anyway. Because He loves you anyway.
And we wonder why did He have to die? Why didn’t He make things simpler? Why didn’t He die a less terrible death?
Then it struck me and humbled me. The fact that we thought of such a question (re: why didn’t He save us in a simpler way) shows how finite we are, how humane we are, and how we’re still living in the flesh.
He could have done so, if He wanted to. But He is not us. While we humans want to show our love in the least hurtful way for us possible, He didn’t. His love knows no compromises. And His ways are not our ways.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts
To sum it all up, let me tell you why He had to die in such a terrible way:
He loves you that much, that He found no reason to lessen His suffering, in order to save you.
Have you done anything to deserve it? No, it was all grace. Can you do anything in return? Not really, nothing could pay off what He’s done. But giving our lives to Him should come naturally as an expression of gratitude for all that He’s done. And I decide to give it to Him. Will you do the same with me?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.