(Well, OK, it’s not actually a reader question at all, since I have no idea whether the person who asked it has ever even seen this site. But my blog doesn’t have a category for “question I randomly saw somewhere and wanted to answer.” Speaking of which, if any of you real readers of this website have questions you’d be interested in my answer to, you know where to find me.)
One of my favorite bloggers, Brant Hansen, wrote an awesome post called The Good News About Your Guilt. It’s well worth a read. Brant points, quite rightly, to Jesus’ death on the cross as the reason we can be free from feelings of guilt and shame.
But one commenter, Melanie, asked this question:
Back 20 years ago when I was a brand new Christian and a mentor at my church was trying to help me overcome the constant guilt, she said look at the work of Calvary and say to yourself, “My sins put Him there, everything is paid for, no need for more guilt” Well, it had the opposite affect. I burst into tears and was horrified that my sins put Him there. I think it was a week before I quit crying because my sins put Jesus on the cross. I still struggle with guilt, and I am not sure what exactly I need to hear to help me stop feeling guilt. Please pray that I will some day be able to comprehend and accept this.
Here’s my answer.
Melanie: I don’t know if this might help, but the Bible actually quotes Jesus as saying exactly what put Him on the cross:
“No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” (John 10:18, NLT)
In other words, it wasn’t that your sins put Jesus on the cross; it was that Jesus chose to go to the cross for your sins. It was a voluntary sacrifice. Yes, if you hadn’t sinned, you wouldn’t have needed to be redeemed; but if Jesus hadn’t wanted to, He wouldn’t have needed to redeem you. Jesus could have avoided the cross altogether if He’d just decided He was OK with the idea of you being lost forever in your sins. But He chose to die for you instead. So Jesus’ love for you put Him there.
The remaining two thirds of the statement are quite true, of course–“everything is paid for, no need for more guilt.”