This is the third in a series of posts that proposes to answer the following question.
Can you name a single thing Jesus said which was genuinely new, original, or useful?
We had The Presentation Of The Question in part 1. If you wish to understand why we are considering this question and how we intend to answer it, please visit part 1.
With respect to the question above, here we will examine the following.
Why Did He Do It?
This is the thing unbelievers have trouble with. This is the thing that leaves believers in tears.
Philippians 2:5-11 New King James Version (NKJV)
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
What the unbeliever has difficulty understanding is Philippians 2:8. How could anyone, much less God, could humble himself so much? For what? What troubles some believers is Philippians 2:5, the impossibility of ever matching such love. What angers other believers is the notion they should love anyone else more than they love themselves. You see, even the demons believe (James 2:19).
Why did He do it? Because it states the reason so concisely, John 3:16 is the most popular of Bible verses. John 3:17 reminds us that this is only the first coming of Christ. John 3:18 reminds us that we will be judged and those so judged will perish.
John 3:16-18 New Living Translation (NLT)
16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.
The unbeliever wonders. What did I do to deserve such judgement? What does Jesus’ death on a cross have to do with me? What is this foolishness?
1 Corinthians 1:18-25 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.”
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
We like to think “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Such words appeal to our pride. We like to think that our fate depends upon our own merit, but in God’s eyes “all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).
We are God’s children, and just like our own children we too need to be made respectful and obedient. Yet here the analogy breaks down for we need God far more than our children ever need us.
Ephesians 2:4-9 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Consider the problem God has with us. He is holy. We are not. He loves us and wants us to spend eternity with Him, but He will not tolerate our rebellious nature, certainly not for all eternity. Moreover, justice requires that we pay the price for our sins, and that we cannot do. What sacrifice could we offer that would atone for disobedience to God? Therefore, unless we repent and pay the price for our sins, what is God to do with us?
Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection solved our dilemma. Jesus did what we cannot do. He lived perfect life, and He allowed Himself to be sacrificed in our place for our sins. When we accept the grace and mercy Jesus offers us — when we repent for our sins and commit ourselves to following in Jesus’ footsteps — His sacrifice covers our sins. We become acceptable to God. Instead of being permanently separated from God (consigned to Hell), we can be in His presence.
Was Jesus trying to do anything new, original, or useful? With respect to what passes for the wisdom of this world, probably not. The Jews understood the notion of original sin, and Gentiles could see the human race is flawed, but consider what pride demands. Don’t we all want to believe that whatever needs to be done “I can do myself”?
What Jesus explained is we cannot do what needs to be done. We must have faith in Him.
John 14:6 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Was this teaching a new idea? I think so. Is this teaching useful? That depends upon whether we believe.
- The Sacrifice that Satisfied @ www.gty.org
- Why did Jesus have to die for our sins? @ carm.org
- Why did Jesus have to die? @ www.gotquestions.org
- Why did Christ have to sacrifice himself? @ http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/
- The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ @ www.ucg.org
- Why? @ settledinheaven.wordpress.com
- “Why did Jesus have to die?” @ altruistico.wordpress.com
- Jesus is Our Role Model @ lifereference.wordpress.com
- IS CHRISTIANITY THE ONLY WAY? — PART 3 @ citizentom.com