What Does “Jesus Died For You” Really Mean?

CULTURE | Kyle Ranson | 5 mins

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

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Around Easter, that phrase gets tossed around like a baseball during a rousing game of pepper.1

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,2 we’re all infected with a disease more devastating than the ‘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 back into your empty LIFE tank. You don’t have any power to spare—that’s why you’re dead. It’d be a major bummer if that’s where the story stopped, but thankfully, it doesn’t.

3. New life always comes from someone or something else dying
Think about it: 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. For that waffle to get made and give you life in the form of sustenance, wheat had to die. 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 help us out
Though people act like they understand exactly how this works cosmically, that Jesus’ brutal physical death on a cross benefits us spiritually, the honest truth is that there are all kinds of theories and opinions about the details based on what the Bible teaches, but no one knows for sure. If you’re into it, there are literally thousands of books you can go buy. The bottom line from scripture is that Jesus’ crucifixion, and then his resurrection on Easter Sunday, changed everything and gave us a chance to reconcile with God over this sin problem. One of Jesus’ closest followers, Peter, who saw the whole thing go down, said it this way: For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit…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 all the way 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 chose 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 do that. 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.”

I am one of the millions of people 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 used to struggle to be confident, but now have loads of courage. I used to fixate on what I didn’t have and never feel happy, but now I’ve got 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, I accept your death 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 you 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.


1RIP, sports.
2The Bible. Great book.
3The All-Time Best Breakfast Toaster Food is hands down Pillsbury Toaster Strudels. I don’t even understand how they’re street legal they’re so good.
4Stalk? Bundle? Harem?
5John 12:24 (The Bible)
61 Peter 3:18 (The Bible)
7I can never remember the order for connecting: Red Red Black Black? I do remember if you screw it up, the battery will explode. Thank God for YouTube.


Written by

Kyle Ranson

Director of the Experience Team at Crossroads, the group that creates everything from videos to music to articles to apps to weekend services. He joyfully fulfills stereotypes about Millennials with his love of craft beer and woodworking, and is passionate about people finding God.

Published on Apr 8, 2020
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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