Thirty-Ninth Day of Lent

Scripture: John 19:17-42 

On the way to church one Good Friday, my then 4-year-old daughter, Mia asked me, “Why did Jesus have to die on the cross and why is it good?”  Dozens of things went through my mind as to how I would share the Gospel message with my eldest child. I thought, “Well, it’s because of the wickedness of human sin and the horrors of its consequences.” But that wouldn’t work for a 4-year-old. “Well because Judas betrayed Him, an angry mob demanded His death, then Pontus Pilate ordered it, the soldiers followed through and it was a fulfillment of a promise and a prophecy.” Umm, too complicated.

It was that dirty cup of sin that we served up to Him and sent with Him to the cross. In one of Jesus’ last acts before the crucifixion, He fell on His face and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39).  But there was no other way.  He had to drink that nasty bitter cup so that you and I wouldn’t have to. That’s why Jesus had to die: for all of this and more. But we didn’t ask Him, we didn’t send Him, we didn’t choose Him.  God did.

Sin is that powerful, for it sent Jesus to the cross and only one thing is more powerful, the love of God (1 Corinthians 1:18). That’s why Jesus had to die.

Way too much for a four year old and to tell you the truth maybe too much for a 30 year old or a 60 year old.  I needed something simpler. 

Why did Jesus have to die on the cross?

“Mia,” I asked, “How much do you love me?”

She stretched her arms out wide and replied, “This much.”

I stretched my arms as far to the east and west as I could and said, “When Jesus died on the cross Mia, He was saying to the world, ‘I love you this much.’

Why is it good?  Because in this act he is telling me and you and the rest of the world that God loves us that much.  It’s good because He loves you.”

The truth is always simple! The Gospel message is that simple.  Let’s not forget it.

John Cho
Avenue Community Church
Toronto, ON