IMAGINE that you are in a boat that is sinking. Would you want someone to save you?— What if someone gave up his own life to do so?— Well, that is what Jesus Christ did. As we learned in Chapter 37, he gave his life as a ransom so that we could be saved.
Of course, Jesus does not save us from drowning. What does he save us from? Do you remember?— From the sin and death we all got from Adam. Even though some people have done very bad things, Jesus died for them too. Would you risk your life to try to save people like that?—
The Bible says: “Hardly will anyone die for a righteous man; indeed, for the good man, perhaps, someone even dares to die.” Yet, the Bible explains that Jesus “died for ungodly men.” That includes people who do not even serve God! The Bible says further: “While we were yet sinners [still doing bad things], Christ died for us.”
Can you think of an apostle who had once done very bad things?— That apostle wrote: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am foremost.” The apostle who said that was Paul. He said that he was “once senseless” and that he had carried on “in badness.”
Just think of how much love God had to send his Son to die for people like that! Why not get your Bible and read about this in John chapter 3, verse 16. There it says: “God loved the world [that is, the people who live on earth] so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.”
Jesus proved that he had the same love for us that his Father had. You may remember that in Chapter 30 of this book, we read about some things Jesus suffered the night he was arrested. He was taken to the home of High Priest Caiaphas, where He was put on trial. False witnesses were brought in who told lies about Jesus, and the people hit him with their fists. That was when Peter denied knowing Jesus. Now let’s pretend we are right there and can see what else happens.
Morning comes. Jesus has been up all night. Because the night trial was not a proper one, the priests quickly call together the Sanhedrin, or Jewish high court, and hold another trial. Here they again accuse Jesus of crimes against God.
The priests next have Jesus bound, and they lead him to Pilate, the Roman governor. They tell Pilate: ‘Jesus is against the government. He should be killed.’ But Pilate can see that the priests are telling lies. So Pilate tells them: ‘I find nothing wrong with this man. I will let him go.’ But the priests and others shout: ‘No! Kill him!’
Later, Pilate again tries to tell the people that he is going to let Jesus go free. But the priests get the crowds to shout: ‘If you let him go, you are against the government too! Kill him!’ The crowds become very noisy. Do you know what Pilate does?—
He gives in. First he has Jesus whipped. Then he turns him over to soldiers to be put to death. They put a crown of thorns on Jesus’ head and make fun of him by bowing down before him. Then they give Jesus a big post, or stake, to carry and lead him outside the city to a spot called Skull Place. There they nail Jesus’ hands and feet to the stake. Then they stand it up so that Jesus is hanging on it. He is bleeding. The pain is very great.
Jesus does not die right away. He just hangs there on the stake. The chief priests make fun of him. And passersby say: “If you are a son of God, come down off the torture stake!” But Jesus knows what his Father has sent him to do. He knows that he must give his perfect life so that we can have the chance to get everlasting life. Finally, about three o’clock that afternoon, Jesus cries out to his Father and dies.
How different Jesus was from Adam! Adam did not show love for God. He disobeyed God. Neither did Adam show love for us. Because he sinned, all of us have been born in sin. But Jesus showed love for God and for us. He always obeyed God. And he gave his life so that he could take away the harm that Adam did to us.
Do you appreciate what a wonderful thing Jesus did?— When you pray to God, do you thank him for giving us his Son?— The apostle Paul appreciated what Christ did for him. Paul wrote that the Son of God “loved me and handed himself over for me.” (Galatians 2:20) Jesus died for you and for me too. He gave his perfect life so that we can have everlasting life! Surely that is a strong reason why we should love Jesus.
The apostle Paul wrote to Christians in the city of Corinth: “The love of Christ puts us into action.” Into what kind of action should Christ’s love put us? What do you think?— Notice Paul’s answer: “Christ died for everyone so that they would live for Him. They should not live to please themselves.”
Can you think of ways you can show that you are living to please Christ?— Well, one way is by telling others what you have learned about him. Or think about this: You may be alone, so your mother or father cannot see what you are doing, nor can any other human see you. Will you watch TV programs or perhaps look at things on the Internet that you know would not please Jesus?— Remember, Jesus is now alive, and he can see everything we do!
Another reason why we should love Jesus is that we want to copy Jehovah. “The Father loves me,” Jesus said. Do you know why he loves Jesus and why we should too?— Because Jesus was willing to die so that God’s will could be done. (John 10:17) So let’s do what the Bible tells us: “Become imitators of God, as beloved children, and go on walking in love, just as the Christ also loved you and delivered himself up for you.”
To build appreciation for Jesus and for what he did for us, please read John 3:35; 15:9, 10; and 1 John 5:11, 12.