Those dear tokens of his passionIt sounds like the people in his group are asking questions and trying to understand why Christians believe what they believe, which is good. And more than can be said for some of the commenters, of course.However, amongst the mockery there are some more serious comments. Time and again, for example, the old answer to the question is trotted out: "Why did Jesus die? — Because he annoyed the Romans."It is an historically unsubtle answer to an historically subtle question, as the evidence as we have is that Christ did not directly annoy the Romans; he 'annoyed' the religious authorities, who fomented enough unrest for the Governor to take the view that it was expedient to crucify the cause of the unrest, Christ. Beyond that, though, it is simply missing the point of the question. One may ask "Why is the kettle boiling?" and receive the answer, "Because electricity is passing through the element causing the water to heat and as it approaches 100°C it boils," or one might receive the answer, "Because I want a cup of tea." Both are accurate, but one looks beyond the proximate cause for an ultimate cause. All these atheists preening themselves on their clear thinking and philosophical sophistication, and they haven't even heard of Aristotle. Whatever do they teach them in schools nowadays?Then there is the question of why God could not simply forgive our sins: after all, we are called to forgive without sacrifice, so why does God need a sacrifice? But this is to miss the sinfulness of sin. All sin is against the perfect, holy God who has never sinned and cannot by nature sin. When someone sins against me, they are doing so against someone who is, at root, just as guilty and sinful as they, and I am to forgive on the basis of being equal with them. But we are not equal with God. And if we are not equal, then our sin against him must be atoned for, since it is not possible simply to blow sin off as though it were nothing.Finally, and briefly, someone comments:
Still his dazzling body bears;
Cause of endless exaltation
To his ransomed worshippers;
With what rapture
Gaze we on those glorious scars!
God Sacrificed Himself To Himself To Save Us From HimselfThat makes no sense at all to me. I imagine Christians just don't think about the underlying stupidity and concentrate on the more rewarding bits.But this is the point at which everything makes exact sense! For surely as Beza says (thanks: Scott Clark),
Secondly, it is necessary, from the justice of God, that there be a relationship between the crime and its punishment. The crime is infinite, for it is committed against One whose majesty is infinite. Therefore there is here need of an infinite satisfaction; for the same reason, it was necessary that the One who would accomplish it as true man be also infinite, that is to say, true God.Thirdly, the wrath of God being infinite, there was no human or angelic strength known which could bear such a weight without being crushed (John 14:10,12,31; 16:32; 2 Cor. 5:19). He who was to live again, after having conquered the devil, sin, the world and death united to the wrath of God, had to be therefore not only perfect man, but also true God.That is to say, arguing backwards, if God offered himself, the only agent who could require so great a sacrifice could be God himself. If God was offered, he can only have been offered, as it were, to God: for to pay a finite creature would take only a finite sacrifice.If Jesus Christ is God incarnate and if he died and rose to set me free from danger, then surely the danger from which he set me free can be none other than the wrath of that same God himself. No other danger would need so great a sacrifice.