One question I remember hearing often is this: If God is so loving, why doesn’t He just stop all the wars and come down and make everything okay?
Perhaps, He did. And we killed Him.
Jesus’ death upon the Cross marks the crossroads of life. Many anti-Semitic Christians have asserted that it was the Jews who killed Jesus. Christian Jews sometimes point out that it was the Romans who killed Jesus. But we are all responsible. The Jewish authorities orchestrated Jesus’ death, the Gentile (non-Jew) authorities carried the sentence out. Both Jews and non-Jews bear responsibility.
Now, one may say: “But I wasn’t there. If I had been, I would have had no part in it.” Such a statement is understandable, yet profoundly arrogant. Haven’t you ever said an unkind word about someone behind their back? Maybe, as your friends laughingly mocked, you resisted for a while, but when you sensed that you’d miss out on the party unless you joined in, didn’t you throw in a smidgen of insult? Trust me, no, trust God, when He says that “all have sinned”, and that if you had been present at the crucifixion of Jesus, you, like me, would have mocked.
But why did Jesus die? Surely, if He’s God, He couldn’t die? Some, such as the JW’s and Unitarians, deny that Jesus is God. But Jesus Himself claimed to be the great I AM (one of the Names of God). Thomas cried out “My lord and my God!” Jesus said, “I and the Father are One.” Maybe we can’t get our heads around God being three persons but only One God, but then I can’t get my head around the Hadron Collider. It doesn’t make something not true just because we don’t fully understand it.
Okay, so God, as the Son, came to earth. Why didn’t He just say: “Okay, I’m here now, stop fighting, stop bickering and we’ll have a party.”
There is the question of sin. What would have happened if God had said that He would make everything perfect, bring justice and reward everyone.
Well, as God is just, He would have had to reward everyone according to the state of their hearts and their deeds. Remember: all have sinned. All are guilty. All deserve to be punished. So, God brings Justice and we all stand condemned. It would have been a literal hell for everyone.
So, because God is loving, He sends His Son, who is One with Him. God had already shown in stark clarity the method by which sin could be forgiven: only by the shedding of blood. The Old Testament times are full with the blood of lambs, goats, pigeons and the like. There is a law: sin causes death. For sin to be forgiven, something had to shed its blood.
And so, at the Passover, God provides for Himself a Lamb. A Lamb without blemish. Perfect, pure, holy. His Son Jesus. Jesus’ shed blood makes the atonement. If we accept that He died for us and believe in Him, we can receive that atoning work of the Cross: we can be forgiven.
We killed Jesus. But Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” But that forgiveness only comes when we accept the Truth. Jesus said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life, no-one comes to the Father except by Me.” Jesus is the only Way of salvation, be you Jew or Greek or Roman or Indian or American or African or Australian.
So, a just God takes upon Himself our sin, a merciful God calls us to respond, and a gracious God offers us all, as many as would respond, life joyful and everlasting.