Jesus’ death on the Cross is one of the most talked about events in history though happening two thousand years ago. It doesn’t make sense morally or relationally when suggesting the Cross was to appease God’s sense of justice or protect God’s reputation. In crude terms did Jesus really die to placate a blood-thirsty God who needed their child murdered to have their honor restored?
- Is God no different than the other gods in past history who demanded human sacrifice to appease their own desires for power and control? God is not like terrorists or religious extremists. Terrorists blow others up because of their personal beliefs about God. God doesn’t threaten us with death or Hell because of our beliefs. God only seeks to warn us of paths that lead to personal and relational destruction.
- Is God really that repulsed by sinners? Can God not love or look at sinners except through the lens of Jesus? Jesus, who claimed to be God in the flesh, loved hanging around the supposed dregs of society, and I am sure in those gatherings not all regretted their behaviors.
- Did Jesus die for God or us? Many discuss the Bible teaching Jesus died to save us, but their legal explanation implies Jesus died to save God from us. God doesn’t have to be appeased and their honor restored through Jesus’ death before God can love us.
- Does God believe violence or revenge – killing someone – really solve problems? Death may protect the innocent from further harm, but death does nothing for the guilty. Death doesn’t either resurrect the murdered or erase childhood memories of the innocent. True confession from the guilty and forgiveness by the victim is what truly heals and restores.
- Does God seek to forgive or payback? Suggesting one must die in our place for our sins sounds like revenge. God doesn’t delight the most in sacrifice or burnt offerings but a broken and contrite heart (Ps. 51:16-17). Jesus didn’t have to die before God would forgive us.
- Is God more of a rageaholic than loving Parent? God is not like some parents who go off on fits of anger before they will even look at their child without disgust. Besides, such vents don’t really pave the path for forgiveness.
- Is guilt really transferable? Demanding the blood of an innocent party doesn’t legally resolve another’s person guilt. My going to jail for a friend’s wrongdoing doesn’t somehow clear my friend of their crime. Guilt is not somehow magically removed by someone else’s confession of a sin they didn’t commit.
- Is God’s purpose for justice to pay a price or lead to a change in heart? God’s anger in the Bible isn’t to change hearts but to hopefully deter others from evil that destroys lives.
- Does a legal view truly inspire what God intended? Jesus dying for our sins claims to do something externally – spare us from God’s wrath. Such a view does nothing though to inspire us internally in how we treat others. God created freedom for true love must be chosen not forced. Jesus wished to influence us to freely consider ways in our best interests.
I am convinced Jesus’ death was meant to be influential in changing our attitude about God, not changing God’s attitude toward us.
God sought to prove that our Creator loves us more then we can ever imagine and desperately seeks a relationship with us for our own good. God sees us as Christ as our sins nailed to the Cross, so we can be empowered to be comfortable with God despite our guilty feelings.
Soldiers die for one another because they believe deeply in the cause and importance of freedom. Jesus thought His message was worth dying for. Jesus wanted to convince us of what He knew about God rather than what others said about God. Jesus believed in God incredible love for us, and that God desires to empower us to reflect such love back to others. I love my children the way I do because I just do, and I hope they will make for a better world. What kind of God sees how the world has turned out and doesn’t just say the Hell with it, but instead enters such a world to experience underserved suffering via the Cross to inspire and relate?
Please see Gregory Boyd’s website and article for further insights: