Why Did Jesus Die? How Can Parents Explain This to Children?

Why Did Jesus Die? How Can Parents Explain This to Children?

Good Friday remembrance will be soon upon us. Parents, this provides you with an excellent opportunity to dig into the meaning of Jesus’ death on the cross. Here are a few questions you could ask as discussion starters:

Why did Jesus die on the cross?

Why would it be wrong for God to simply pretend that your sin is no big deal?

How does Jesus’ death on the cross show that God is right in punishing sin and forgiving sinners?

What did Jesus experience on the cross? Why is this important to know?

Why is it also important that Jesus gives His people His own perfect righteousness?

If you were to appear in a courtroom today in which God was sitting as the judge, what verdict do you think He would pronounce over you, “Guilty” or “Not guilty”? Why?

Why are these questions important to ask? Because they get the heart of the matter—the deep doctrinal truths regarding redemption. While it may be age-appropriate for a preschooler to simply learn and recite that “Jesus died on the cross to save sinners,” as our children age and mature they need to be taught a more expansive understanding of what happened on the cross and what Jesus’ death truly accomplished. In other words, they need to be taught the meaning of justification. No justification = no gospel. Here are some truths about justification to highlight and explain:

  • All people are guilty before God and deserve God’s just punishment. 
  • Jesus died as an atoning sacrifice for sin in order to satisfy the justice of God.
  • Justification is a legal act whereby God forgives sin, gives His people Jesus’ righteousness, and declares them righteous—“Not guilty”—so that they can now inherit eternal life.
  • Justification is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone.

Parents, here is a short excerpt from my book, God’s Gospel, demonstrating how justification can be explained in biblically yet child-friendly language to younger elementary-age children. Also, here is a free, interactive family devotional from Glorious God, Glorious Gospel. 

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