Why Did Jesus Die?

By Anne Graham Lotz   •   March 31, 2006

Recently I attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. While there, I heard a Muslim imam say that he did not believe in vicarious atonement for sin. In other words, he did not believe the death of Jesus was necessary.

When have you heard someone say that there are other ways to God besides Jesus? That all religions are equal? That as long as we are sincere in what we believe, a loving God will accept us? That the Cross was not necessary? That if our good works outweigh our bad works, we can hope to go to heaven?

But if there are other ways to God besides Jesus, if all religions are equal, if God accepts all those who are sincere in their beliefs, if our good works earn us a ticket to heaven, then why did Jesus die?

If there were any other way to offer us forgiveness of sin, to reconcile us to God, to give us eternal life and to open heaven for us when we die, God would have done it. But there was no other way.

Read John 18-19

Jesus Died to Forgive …

Even Those Who Doubt Him

    • What did Annas, the former high priest, question Jesus about? See John 18:19.

 

  • Apply Annas’ questions to doubts people have today.

 

 

  • What did Caiaphas question? See Matthew 26:63.

 

 

  • Apply Caiaphas’ question and dramatic denial of Jesus’ answer (and Caiaphas’ response) in Matthew 26:64-66 to people’s doubts today.

 

 

  • What doubts do you have about God’s Word or about who Jesus is?

 

 

  • Read Matthew 14:31, 21:21; Mark 11:23; James 1:6. Why is it important to resolve your doubts?

 

 

  • What doubts about Jesus do you have? Would you confess them to Him, ask His forgiveness and then place your faith in Him and in His Word?

 

Even Those Who Deny Him

    • Describe Peter’s confidence in Matthew 26:31-35.

 

  • Describe his denial of Jesus in Matthew 26:69-75.

 

 

  • Use the following verses to describe why you think Peter repeatedly denied Jesus when he had been clearly warned and had sworn that he would not: Proverbs 11:2, 16:18. Compare Mark 14:32-38 with Proverbs 6:9-11.

 

 

  • What are some things that you and I can do to guard against this sin? See Psalm 56:3-4, 1 Peter 4:7, 1 Corinthians 16:13.

 

 

  • What wisdom does Peter share from his own experience in 1 Peter 5:8-9?

 

 

  • How do we deny Jesus today?

 

 

  • Describe a time when you have denied Christ. Would you confess it to Him now and ask for His forgiveness?

 

Even Those Who Reject Him

    • Relate John 1:11 to Matthew 26:57-67.

 

  • Relate John 1:10 to John 19:1-16.

 

 

  • Who do you know that has rejected Jesus?

 

 

  • What encouragement do you find in the following Scripture passages: Acts 2:22-24, 36-41; Acts 3:13-15; Acts 4:4?

 

 

  • If you have rejected Jesus, what do you need to do? See Acts 3:19-20, John 1:12. What is keeping you from doing it now?

 

 

  • Consider 1 John 1:8-10. What is your sin? Would you confess it, using the same name for it that God does, and ask Him to cleanse you with the blood of Jesus?

 

His Death Is …

Our Sacrifice

    • From the following verses, describe what God’s law required in order for a sinner to obtain forgiveness: Leviticus 5:5-6, 17-19; 17:11.

 

  • Read Hebrews 10:1-4. Did the sacrifices under the Old Covenant really take away sin? If not, why were they required?

 

 

  • How was the sacrificial law an audiovisual aid of who Jesus is and what He would do? Give phrases from Isaiah 53:4-12, John 1:29, Romans 3:22-25, Hebrews 13:11-12, 1 John 4:10.

 

 

  • Is there any other sacrifice for sin we can offer that God will accept?

 

 

  • When have you claimed Jesus as God’s sacrifice for your sin?

 

Our Substitute

    • Describe God’s instructions to Moses in Exodus 12:1-7, 12-13, noting key phrases. What two things were necessary to secure salvation from God’s judgment?

 

  • As though speaking to someone outside the Church, or to a child, explain how the Passover is a picture of Jesus. Use these passages to help you: Matthew 26:2, 1 Corinthians 5:7, 1 Peter 1:18-19.

 

 

  • Read Revelation 5:1-13; 7:9-17; 12:10-11; 21:1-2, 22-23; 22:3. How relevant to your future is the word picture in these passages? Explain.

 

 

  • When judgment comes, either at your death or when Jesus returns, will it pass over you? Why?

 

Sufficient

    • Read Hebrews 10:5-14, 17-18. What further sacrifice does God require for our sin?

 

  • How is this confirmed by Jesus’ own words spoken from the cross in John 19:30?

 

 

  • When you claim the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, what sin is forgiven? Give phrases from the following: 1 John 1:7, 9, 2:2,12; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 2:13-15. Apply each phrase to your own life.

 

 

  • Besides obtaining God’s forgiveness, what other blessings does the blood of Jesus secure for the believer? See Revelation 1:5-6, Hebrews 10:19-22, Romans 5:9, Colossians 1:19-20.

 

This Easter, would you thank God for sending His only beloved Son to die on the cross as His sacrifice for your sin? And would you thank Him by confessing your sin and living humbly in His forgiveness? Then go and tell someone else why Jesus died.

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