What Does “Jesus Died For You” Really Mean?

Kyle Ranson

Listen Now 5 mins

What in the world does, “Jesus died for you” mean?

Around Easter, the phrase “Jesus died for you” gets batted around like a baseball during a rousing game of pepper. But what does it actually mean?

Let’s break it down, quick like:

1. You’re dead.
No, that’s not a threat, and I don’t mean physically dead. I mean, spiritually dead. And it’s not just you—it’s everyone. According to scripture,1 we’re all infected with a disease more devastating than the ol’ ‘rona: it’s a disease called sin. And far worse than killing our physical bodies, it kills our souls. The symptoms are a lack of joy, a high fever of fear, depression, discontentment, jealousy, and all the stuff you feel and experience that you wish you didn’t. Basically, it sucks the absolute worst.

2. Dead stuff can’t make itself alive.
Just like a dead car battery can’t miraculously recharge itself, you can’t magically inject fresh power into your empty LIFE tank. Concerning modern culture, this is maybe the most culturally radical idea in Christianity because it contradicts the ever-popular pop-spirituality line, “everything you need is inside of you.” But according to the Bible, we’re like hopeless zombies, walking around trying to devour everything in sight. Think about this: the one time God came and walked the Earth (Jesus), we stalked and killed Him. You know, kind of like what zombies would do.2

3. New life always comes from someone or something else dying.
Literally, all life comes from death. It’s a principle that is baked into creation. Those waffles you ate this morning?3 Before the waffle factory turned them into Eggos, they were grain—wheat, probably. Wheat had to die for that waffle to get made and give you life in the form of sustenance. And for that wheat to have grown in the first place, another stalk of wheat4 had to shed a seed that had to fall to the ground and die. Jesus was super smart. He said it this way, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”5

4. Jesus is God in human form, and he went through the physical death process to give us life.
Though people act like they understand exactly how this works cosmically, that Jesus’ brutal physical death on a cross benefits us spiritually, the truth is that there are all kinds of theories and opinions about the details based on what the Bible teaches, and no one knows for sure. If you’re into it, there are literally thousands of books you can go buy—or I talked about it once, and you could just watch the video. The bottom line from scripture is that Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection on Easter Sunday can resurrect us. Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, said it this way: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”6

5. Jesus died to give you new spiritual life—right here and right now.
Let’s go back to the car battery metaphor for a sec: Jesus is the good battery (the only one who’s ever been good, BTW) with enough power to jump-start you and your dead spiritual heart back to life. He died (emptied Himself of power), so you can live (be jump-started to life). In fact, He’s so powerful—He can jump-start every single person who wants to connect to Him.7 The connection is simple: You just choose to take a risk and believe He is who He claimed to be (God), and His intentions are what He said (to bring you back to life). Then you ask him to forgive your sins and make you fully alive. Jesus said, “So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”8

I am one of the millions who asked Jesus to bring me back to life—and I’m telling you it works. I genuinely feel like I’ve been made fully alive. I used to be full of fear, but now I sleep in peace. I struggled to be confident, but now I have loads of courage. I used to fixate on what I didn’t have and never feel happy, but now I have a joy tank with a backup that never runs out.

6. Seriously, try it.
You can be made alive too. Just borrow these words to pray:

*God, I want to be made fully alive. Jesus, forgive me. I accept your death as full and final payment for my sins. I believe that You died for me, so please transfer your Life to me right now. Bring me spiritually alive and let me experience life to the full with You. I will follow You forever. *

If you just prayed that prayer, welcome to new life! We’d love to chat with you9 and connect you with resources and people to help you experience the new life God is giving you. Just click the chat button in the corner of your screen.

1The Bible, great book. Ephesians 2:1 says, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins…” Can’t get much clearer than that

2I’ve always wanted to do a zombie themed teaching series at Crossroads. Think about it: door greeters in rags with blood dripping from their chins, zombie themed dances on stage—we should probably do this, right?

3In case you wanted to know, the All-Time Best Breakfast Toaster Food EVER is hands down Pillsbury Toaster Strudels. I don’t even understand how they’re street legal they’re so good.

4Stalk? Bundle? Squad?

5John 12:24 (The Bible)

6Ephesians 2:4-5

7I can never remember the order for connecting wires to jumpstart a dead battery: Red, Red, Black, Black? I do remember if you screw it up, the battery will explode and you’ll probably die. Thank God for YouTube.

8Luke 11:9-10

9Just click the chat icon in the bottom right of the screen.

Process, journal or discuss the themes of this article - here's a few questions to get the ball rolling...

  1. What stands out to you most about Kyle’s article? Why?

  2. What feels dead in your life? Could be your relationships, your energy level, your hope, your plans for the future, or the way you can’t shake the past and move on. Make a list or tell a friend.

  3. What emotions come to mind when you read (or prayed!) the prayer Kyle wrote at the end. Write or share as many as come to mind. Giving up a (dead) life and trading it in for real Life is a significant moment. Mark it with some reflection and conversation. Find some people to help you start fresh.

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Kyle Ranson
Meet the author

Kyle Ranson

Kyle has been around Crossroads for over a decade filling a variety of roles, including teaching pastor and leading the Experience Team - the group that creates videos, articles, music, and more. Kyle joyfully fulfills stereotypes about Millennials with his love of bourbon, craft beer, and woodworking, and is passionate about people finding God. He and his wife Sara have three kids, Ben, Eli, and Gracie.

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