Who’s Responsible for Jesus’ Death?

Who is Jesus? Was Jesus a real person? Why did Jesus die? Is Jesus God?

Christianity, especially the American sort, has its own language. Many people don’t speak a word of this curious language…so, as a web designer specializing in working with churches and non-profits, I have to remind a lot of folks to avoid using jargon to communicate.

“Christianese” is a pet peeve…but there’s another part of Christian communication that’s worse: platitudes. I absolutely HATE platitudes.

A platitude is a trite, meaningless, or prosaic statement that is presented as if it were significant and original.


Here’s the platitude I’m railing against today: “it was my sin that nailed Jesus to the cross“. It sounds good, doesn’t it?

That’s the nature of a platitude: it sounds good, so it’s believable…but it’s simply wrong. Meaningless. Songs have been written about it, and lots of people believe it. Let’s look at some Bible verses to see how this platitude doesn’t work.

First: Jesus’ death wasn’t a reaction to our sin.

In Revelation 13:8 we read that …the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. It was God’s plan all along!

Second: Some people talk like Jesus was murdered. He wasn’t.

Jesus Himself pointed that out in John 10 when He said that The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No one 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. Jesus wasn’t a victim. His death was pre-planned and purposeful.

Finally: Jesus taught that His death was part of an important process.

We read in Mark 14> that, at the last supper, Jesus said this: This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. His death was one component of a big picture that runs from Genesis through Revelation. Every bit of the Bible contributes, in some way, to our understanding of God’s love as it was displayed in Jesus’ death.

I understand the sentiment involved, and am not putting down sincere statements about our own sinfulness. My point is that nobody is served when we think up, repeat, and believe silly platitudes. If you’re going to say something, why not say something that sounds good and has real meaning?