As the sun is setting on the year 2009, many Christians look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah. Why did God send Jesus to earth?
Many Christians believe that God sent Jesus to come to save the world by dying on the cross. It is true that Jesus died on the cross. Can we, however, say the same about the world’s salvation? Can we truly look at this world and say that it has been saved by the crucifixion of Jesus? Affirming that God sent Jesus to save the world by dying on the cross is synonymous to saying that God is a God of chaos for this world is, well, still not a better place almost two thousand years after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
And when people claim that Jesus came to die for our sins, what are they really talking about? Are they implying that God had no problem sacrificing Jesus like a lamb because the sinful contemporaries of Jesus were more important than the Messiah? Are they implying that it was in God’s original plan to give Jesus, a sinless person, to Satan as a ransom for sinful humanity? Where is the victory in that?
How could God, the Loving Heavenly Father, send His one and only begotten Son to earth with the sole purpose of him dying on the cross for sinful human beings who fulfill the will of Satan? Is God confused? If not, then we are. This is because there must be confusion somewhere—either within God or within human beings. There is no argument here that any confusion that exists, exists within human beings. We are so confused that we are unable to fathom who and what God is and how He operates. As a consequence, we have become confused about who Jesus was, what he was about, and how he was supposed to save the world. Because we believe that Jesus was the Messiah, because we want to make sense of the fact that he was the Messiah, because we want to make sense of his teaching that God is a Father of love, and because he died on the cross, we came to the conclusion that God must have sent Jesus to save the world by dying on the cross. Is that what Jesus taught when he was on earth? Did Jesus ever mention the cross in the beginning of his ministry? Is there any biblical evidence that Jesus set on his public mission with the sole intention of heading to the cross? How can people who believe that God is a Father of love claim that He sent Jesus with the mission to save the world by dying a cruel death? What type of Father would God be? What type of deity would He be if He sent Jesus to die a torturous death? Do we even listen to ourselves when we make such statements?
The reason many Christians believe that God sent Jesus to die on the cross is because they want to justify Jesus’ brutal, degrading, and premature death. Yet, they do it the wrong way. They tend to explain God’s providence from the cross backtracking into the past. They use the crucifixion of Jesus to justify the Old Testament instead of using the Old Testament to justify his crucifixion. The true answer to the question why Jesus was crucified lies in the Old Testament. It is only by interpreting the Old Testament properly—as the foundation for the work of the Messiah (Jesus)—that believers can come to the true answer. Once the Old Testament is read and understood as being the record of God’s work with the people of the past in order to bring forth salvation, the conclusion that God sent Jesus to be crucified will cease to make sense. Would a God of love, a God of mercy, the Almighty God, undergo almost four thousand years of toils, heartache, tribulations, and more in educating, raising, and preparing a whole people simply to send the Messiah so that he be rejected by His chosen people and face cruel, torturous, and degrading death in the hands of the enemy? Come on folks! Really! How in the name of heaven can we justify that?
There are some Christians who use the Old Testament as God’s groundwork in preparing for the coming of Jesus as the Messiah. They find prophecies after prophecies that foretold of Jesus Christ—messianic prophecies. They do all that to justify that Jesus was the one and the very same Messiah whom the Israelites were awaiting. Yet, when dealing with the issue of crucifixion, they fail to use the Old Testament to understand what led Jesus to the cross. It is all a matter of convenience. It hurts to say that this is not only true with Christianity; it is true with other religions as well.
The question one needs to answer is: Whom does this convenience benefit—God or Satan?
Happy Holiday Season!