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Why did God choose to have His son die on a cross as the way to wash our sins?

The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. . .”On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. Exodus 12:5-7, 12-13

The sacrificial system began with Moses in Egypt and the tenth and final plague that struck the Egyptians. If the Israelites followed these steps, they were saved from death. The details of that sacrifice were:  
  • The animals must be males
  • The animals must be without defect
  • The animal was killed
  • The blood was shed and covered the doorframe
  • The animal was consumed
  • Those that performed this act were saved from death
During the time of the tabernacle and temple, if the people sacrificed an animal for their sins, that action would protect them because they trusted God by faith and put themselves in a relationship with him. Their sins were forgiven.

The system was not perfect throughout the Old Testament. Since the sacrifices could only occur at the temple, the destruction of temple by the Greeks and Babylonians brought interruptions to the system.

Also, the system became corrupt with imperfect people running the show.

So Jesus arrived as the ultimate, perfect, eternal fulfillment of that sacrificial system.
  • Jesus was a man
  • Jesus was sinless, without defect
  • Jesus was killed on the cross, the common execution of the Roman empire
  • His blood was shed and covered our sins
  • We apply the blood and body of Christ fully into our lives (communion points to this)
  • We are spared a death apart from God and promised eternal life with God
The Israelites needed to believe/trust that this blood system would keep them alive. We also must believe/trust that Jesus’ death on the cross and the application of his blood on our lives will pay for our sins and wash our slate clean.