Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

Have you ever wondered why Jesus had to die for our sins? Couldn’t God have forgiven us without His Son’s painful death?

A photograph of our son covered in mud documents the special affinity my toddler had with puddles. The caked dirt didn’t change my love for Brant. But it did affect how I treated him. He wasn’t allowed to roam the house while muddy. I held him at arm’s length when I carried him to a tub of running water. After he was clean, we snuggled close, and he gained free access inside the house again.

Who benefited from my child’s bath? Bathing him was work for me, but it was also joy. Removing his grime restored the pleasure of cuddling together.

Some people avoid God when they mess up. They think He doesn’t want to see them. But Jesus died to remove the stench of sin that separated us. He wants to share life now and throughout eternity.

Before sin entered the world there was no need for sacrifices. After sin, animal sacrifices provided a temporary remedy so people could enjoy closeness with God. From the skin garments God made to clothe the first man and woman to the blood sacrifices that were part of the Mosaic Law, blood was God’s provision for removing guilt and restoring fellowship with Him (Lev. 17:11). “In fact, …without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22).

Before sin entered the world there was no need for sacrifices. After sin, animal sacrifices provided a temporary remedy so people could enjoy closeness with God. #Salvation, #BigGod Share on X

Like bathing with body wash, the effectiveness of animal sacrifices was temporary. These Old Testament sacrifices pointed to the sacrifice of God’s perfect Lamb who would become sin on our behalf.

  • “With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever” (Heb. 9:12 NLT).
  • “Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deedsso that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins” (Heb. 9:14 NLT).
  • “But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice” (Heb. 9:26 NLT).

In Genesis 4:4, Abel brought an offering to the Lord from the best of his livestock. John MacArthur said Abel’s sacrifice prefigured the way of the cross.

  • Abel offered “—one lamb for one person.
  • Later came the Passover—with one lamb for one family.
  • Then came the Day of Atonement—with one lamb for one nation.
  • Finally came Good Friday—one Lamb for the whole world.” [1]

When John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) his Jewish audience understood. This was the long awaited One first promised to Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:15).

While we look back in history to the cross, Old Testament believers offered sacrifices that pointed to His coming. Faith in God’s promised One is the basis for righteousness for both Old and New Testament believers. When we accept Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin, like Abel, we please God and gain His eternal approval

Why did Jesus have to die? So He could be close to you! And only the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin so we can be close to Him (1 Jn. 1:7).

Why did Jesus have to die? So He could be close to you! And only the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin so we can be close to Him. #Fellowship, #BigGod Share on X

Comment here. 


Adapted excerpt from Little Faith, Big God © 2020.

[1] John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary Hebrews (Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute, 1983), 301.

Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

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  1. Ann Musico

    Debbie I love your analogy about bathing your son. I remember clearly that after bathing my children, even though it was sometimes tiring, I always felt cleaner! The picture of being able to approach Jesus and snuggle in His arms as our children do in ours is beautiful.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Ann. It is a happy thought.

  2. J.D. Wininger

    Beautiful post Ms. Debbie. I could almost picture you, lovingly bathing your son Brant. Yes, tired from a long day, but knowing that when clean, you were going to share an intimate moment of pure love with your child. Your words made me put myself in that moment with God. Oh how the tears, and love, flowed in that moment when I gave my life to him. Perhaps that’s why we cry today when we confess and repent to our Lord. He is reminding us, with a loving embrace, of that moment. God’s blessings ma’am. I pray some day my life will be worthy of the sacrifice God made for me.

    • Debbie Wilson

      J.D., it really is breathtaking to think of what He did so we could be close to Him!

  3. Lisa notes

    I’m so grateful that Jesus did whatever it would take to be close to us. It’s almost too good to be true. But thankfully it is true!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Lisa, you’re right, too good and yet true. What a Savior!

  4. Patsy Burnette

    Thanks for these thoughts, Debbie! I love how Calvary was never “Plan B.” When God created man, He knew humanity was going to need a Redeemer, and He also knew that He would be able to provide that Redeemer. I also love how the picture of Calvary is spread all throughout the Bible.


    Thank you for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Patsy, I also love seeing how the whole Bible fits together! Thanks, Patsy.

  5. Jennifer DeFrates

    Holding a muddy child at arms length is such a good visual for our relationship with God in our sin! Thanks for sharing that with us! And we need more reminders that our sin is what held Christ on that cross. Sometimes we get so arrogant and forget that we humbly receive God’s grace!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Jennifer. Grace truly is the heart of it.

  6. Mary Geisen

    The fact that Jesus sacrificed all for us is overwhelming and amazing. The love He shares is a gift that never ends. Thank you for sharing these words.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Mary!

  7. Tammy L Kennington

    Hi Debbie.

    I can picture my own wriggling, muddy children held at arms length just a few years ago. How lovely to know that because of Christ nothing separates us from God’s love!


    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes, Tammy, how wonderful that He has washed us with His own blood and we are forever clean!

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