Because you are (not) worth it
Because we were worth dying for is perhaps one of the biggest lies that some Christians propagate.
Many of us wholeheartedly believe that we were of such inherent worth to God that He simply could not do heaven without us. Yet, this romantically charged idea is simply fake news.
The truth is that we are all disgraced sinners who have committed treason against the Creator of the Universe. Each of us deserves the penalty of our sin – death.
Yet, God has chosen to love us.
It is because of God’s love that we have worth.
A 21st Century parable
The 21st century parable depicted in the short film, Most (2003) directed by Bobby Garabedian, shares the harrowing tale of a father who sacrifices the life of his son in exchange to save the lives of many.
Most, shares the story of a loving father and his young son who work together at a railway draw bridge. Their story is intertwined by assortment of quirky characters including, a female drug-addict.
While working at the draw bridge the father asks the son to stay nearby. One day, while the draw bridge is lifted the son notices that a train is approaching in great haste.
The child’s intense fear is palpable for the viewer. We watch as he races toward his father to warn him of the approaching train.
The train speeds closer, and closer towards the open bridge.
We watch as the child scrambles to change the bridge’s gears, to lower the bridge and save the people from their impending doom. However, just as the oncoming train approaches the bridge, he slips into the gears of the draw bridge.
Providing the father with a horrific choice. To save the life of his son. Or, to save the life of many.
As the train rapidly approaches, the loving father makes the heart-breaking decision to lower the gears.
Crushing his son.
All the passengers on the train are completely unaware of the sacrifice. All except for the female drug-addict shown earlier in the film. She happens to look out the train window to witness the horrific accident.
The above narrative is often used by Christians to explain the gospel.
Although this powerfully emotive image includes a loving father and his son, that is the extent of its gospel parallel.
Rather, the tale highlights the significant limitations we have when we create illustrations to explain the gospel. Additionally, it emphasizes some critical misunderstandings we have about the character of God.
What the film’s illustration misses entirely is that Jesus was not like the little child, vulnerable and coerced into dying to save the masses. Rather, Jesus, being fully God and fully man, voluntarily sacrificed His life.
The character of God
God is not an abusive barbaric monster. Nor a pagan deity requiring the sacrifice of innocent children.
Rather Jesus, the only begotten Son, voluntarily gave His life in complete agreement and purpose with the Father who sent Him. Critics of this view claim that it portrays God as a cosmic child abuser. However, what we often forget is that God is triune – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life- only to take it up again. No on takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John chapter 10, verse 17-18).
As it is written in John chapter 10, verse 17-18, Jesus chose to lay down His life on His own accord. Furthermore, it would contradict scripture to say the Jesus was subjected to an undeserved punishment that He was unwilling to receive.
It is because of God’s holy, loving and just character that he chose to redeem us from the punishment we all deserved – death.
Kiwi-born with British roots, Jessica Gardiner drinks tea religiously while her dinner table discussions reverberate between the sovereignty of God, global politics, and the public health system. Having experienced churches from conservative to everything but, Jessica writes out a desire for Christian orthodoxy and biblical literacy in her generation. Jessica is married to fellow young writer Blake Gardiner.