Nobody died FOR my sins

I am so tired of the phrase, "Jesus died for your sins." I Where does it land in you? I mean, does it make enough sense to really feel it- to emotionally connect to it? The only emotion that I connect to the phrase is guilt. When I hear this phrase I feel guilty that Jesus died for my sins.

The core issue really is that I think this phrase is pretty meaningless. Even if their is any emotional connection it is a connection about guilt rather than about the meaning of God's life and love in our lives. Even if you add, "God loved us so much that he sent his son to die for our sins." Wow, God kills people to love us...something about that doesn't even make sense. Unless you believe that God is an asshole. But, my #1 fundamental theological belief is, "God is not an asshole." (or if I am cleaning up my language, "God is not a jerk.")

So what then do I make of the whole Jesus dying for our sins thing?

What I think we are constantly overlooking is the resurrection. All of Jesus' life, all of the gospel writers words, all of the crucifixion, all of the dying is in light of the resurrection. The phrase, Jesus died because of our sins is actually more accurate.

Just like any prophet pisses people off that's what the JC did. Anyone who messes up the system by uplifting the poor, the outcast, the illegal immigrants, the mentally ill, the guy at the intersection who needs money etc. People are going to get mad, and if you push people far enough they often get violent. Jesus pushed enough buttons in his day and set people, particularly authorities, off. So their response (a sinful one) set people off. So there he is, the victim of capital punishment is crucified.

Let's look at the math:

The people in power kill Jesus
if we were in power we all probably would have done the same
our sinfulness crucifies Jesus too.

But then the most radical thing of all happens and hold on to something because this is more radical than capital punishment... God says, "I don't give a shit if you reject me, if you don't listen to me, if you kill me even- dammit- I am not leaving my people." And the resurrection happens. Jesus comes back to be with people. To be with those who were trying to be loyal, to be followers, to live his message (though imperfectly). That's what this is all about.

So really, the phrase should not be, "Jesus died for your sins." But that "Jesus rose from the dead- to be with us despite our sinfulness." But that doesn't make a person feel guilty as much as it makes them feel humbled. And that after all might be even more uncomfortable than guilt.


  1. I have been struggling with that phrase for years. Perhaps it made more of a connection it a society where sacrifices of all types were more commonly used in worship?


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