God understood our problem and knew that we could do nothing about it. Because God loves us, he sent his own Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to bridge the chasm of sin that separates us from him.
Why Jesus Can Bridge The Gap
There has never been anyone like Jesus. For starters, Jesus was not conceived in the womb of his mother through natural means. Rather, he was supernaturally conceived in the womb of a young virgin named Mary. Because of his supernatural conception, Jesus, who is wholly God, also became wholly human.
Though Jesus is God, he chose to lay aside the privileges of his deity to live on earth as a man. The Bible, describing the sacrifice Christ made, in becoming a man, says that Jesus “made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form, he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7-8). It is extremely important to note that Jesus did not cease to be God when he came to earth. He simply laid aside his divine privileges and walked the earth as a man. In doing so, he was personally able to experience the gamut (extent) of human emotions, ranging from happiness to deep sorrow. He felt what it was like to be tired, cold, and hungry.
Moreover, he came to this earth with a clear objective in mind: to bridge that gap between God and us.
When the Israelites of the Old Testament sinned, they would have the high priest go into the Temple and offer an animal sacrifice to God to atone for their sins. In a symbolic sense, this was a way of putting one’s sins on the animal, which stood in place of the guilty person. The Bible teaches, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Hebrews 9:22).
The sacrificial rituals carried out by the Israelites of the Old Testament foreshadowed what Jesus would do when he came to this earth. He took the sin of the world upon himself when he hung on the cross so many years ago.
Numerous Old Testament prophecies pointed not only to his birth and life but also to his death, including the way in which he would die.
Jesus knew from the beginning that he had come expressly to die for the sins of humanity. He also knew that this sacrifice would be made on a Roman cross. He began his final journey to the cross of Cavalry at a place called Caesarea Philippi, and he often spoke of his impending death with his disciples. Scripture reads, “From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that he had to go to Jerusalem, and he told them what would happen to him there. He would suffer at the hands of the leaders and the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, and he would be raised on the third day” (Matthew 16:21).
He was eventually arrested on false charges after Judas Iscariot, one of his own disciples, betrayed him. But it was no accident. If humanity was going to be put in touch with God, and have the barrier that separated them removed, something drastic had to be done. In essence, with one hand Jesus took hold of a Holy God, and with the other hand he took hold of the sinful human race. As crude nails were pounded into his hands, he bridged the gap for us!
We must not forget, however, that three days after his crucifixion, Jesus rose from the dead! If it is true that “you can’t keep a good man down,” then it is even truer that you can’t keep the “God-man” down.
We Put Jesus On The Cross
The necessity of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross shows just how radical our situation was as fallen people. It’s been said that you can tell the depth of well by how much rope is lowered. When we look at “how much rope was lowered” from heaven, we realize how grave our situation really was.
For that reason, don’t blame the people of that day for putting Jesus on the cross. We are just as guilty as they. In reality, it was not the Roman soldiers who put him on the cross, nor was it the Jewish leaders: It was our sins that made it necessary for Jesus to volunteer for this torturous and humiliating death.
Read the verses and notes below to see exactly what Jesus did for us.
1. The Greatest Demonstration of Love
(see also Romans 5:6-8)
Jesus did not die for us while we were his friends, but while we were his enemies, opposing him by our sinfulness. Yet, in spite of all of this, God demonstrated his love for us by dying on the cross. In this verse, the Apostle Paul explains that Jesus did not simply die for humanity as a whole, but that he died for us as individuals. Elsewhere, Paul writes, “[Christ] loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Whenever you are tempted to doubt God’s love for you, take a long look at the cross on which Jesus died. Then realize that, for all practical purposes, it was not nails that held him to the cross, but love.
2. Forsaken That We Might Be Forgiven
(see also Luke 23:32-49)
Many of us have heard this story at some point in our lives. Yet the significance behind this heart-wrenching scene is often missed or misunderstood. This was not simply some “good teacher” being crucified for his beliefs. It was God in human form who hung on that cross, bridging the gap between sinful people and a holy God.
Matthew’s Gospel tells us that when Jesus hung on that cross, he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Many Bible scholars believe that those words marked the precise moment at which God placed the sins of the world upon his Son. The Bible, speaking of God, says, “You are of purer eyes that to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness” (Habakkuk 1:13, NKJV). For that reason, the Holy Father had to “turn his face” and pour out his wrath upon his own Son. On the cross, Jesus received the wages that were due us. He was not heard, in order for us to be heard. The ear of God was closed to Jesus for a time, in order for it never to be closed to us.
3. Christ the Sole Mediator
(see also 1 Timothy 2:5-6)
Why is there only one mediator who is qualified to bridge the gap between God and people? Haven’t there been other religious leaders who have claimed to have the way to God? Haven’t some of them also died as a result of their message?
While the answers to these questions may be yes, the truth is that not one of these other leaders was fully God and fully human. That is why Jesus is uniquely qualified to deal with sin. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come through the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Acts 4:12 tells us, “There is salvation in on one else! There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them.” And, most important, Jesus Christ rose from the dead!
Though it is true that you must believe Jesus died on the cross for your sins in order to receive eternal life and be a true Christian, there is still something else you must do.