Have you ever wondered why Jesus died the way he did? Many might say that he died for our sins. That is true - but why die the way that he did? And besides, what is the logical connection between Jesus' death and the phrase "for our sins"?
If it was only Jesus' death that mattered, why didn't Jesus just die in his sleep, or of old age? Why a brutal death on a cross?
Some would say because he needed to spill his blood. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. True again. But he could have had his wrists cut and simply bled out. Besides, what is the logical connection between the blood and the remission of sin?
When I was first a Christian, I was told that Jesus died for my sins. Although I believed it, I know I didn't understand it. I knew that somehow Jesus showed us the full extent of his love by dying in our place. But I never understood how this exchange of places was made. Was it because God just decided to except Jesus death as mine, or was the connection more intrinsic and organic? Or both/neither?
Then I happened upon something that Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians. It reads like this: So also it is written, "The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 1 Cor 15:45-48 NASU I saw that Jesus was the last Adam. Last because when Jesus died, all in Adam died. How did this happen? I'm not sure. I think that in the way we are all in the first Adam is the way we were all included in the last Adam. God treated Adam as the human race, and Jesus too was the entire human race.
Things brings us to the reason why Jesus died the way he did. The human race deserved it. All of the evil and wicked stuff that has ever been done by the human race was scooped up by Jesus in himself. In one day God judged us all in Jesus. It was not enough to die a painless death. It was not enough to die a moderately painful death. Justice needed to be served from the Pol Pots and Hitlers to the backstabbing girls on a playground, justice needed to be done. The only act that could be just, that would satisfy my desire for someone getting what they deserved for murdering nearly all my Jewish relatives who died in Hungary during WWII, for stealing wealth and peace from the earth, was accomplished in the death of Jesus on the cross.
The cross is a statement to all, God hates sin. He hates sin because sin destroys love. Sin is the perversion of the will that makes love impossible. In the cross God put and end to sin for the human race for all those who agree with God's judgment and will believe.
This is also why Jesus is called the second man. A completely new beginning for all those who are found in him. A new creation; God's children - not Adam's.
May you be found in him.