Why is sacrifice required?
Recently a friend asked me a very good question, one that I expect most of us have asked at one time or another - Why didn't Adonai just save everyone?
Why did our ancestors wander in the desert for 40 years, with all adults over 20 perishing except Joshua & Caleb.
Why did Messiah have to die for us?
I think the answer to this question revolves around a couple of key thoughts: Free Will and Sanctifying G-D's name.
Adonai chose to create man with free will, the ability to choose right from wrong. At first the test was simple; "don't eat of the fruit of the Tree of knowledge (or good and evil). Our fore-father failed this test.
In the Exodus from Egypt, our Fore-Fathers had visible proof of Adonai's provision; yet they had Free-will and chose to not trust G-D.
Likewise we today have the Torah, and the Words of the Master (Yeshua); we also have free-will and most choose not to follow G-D.
G-D had a choice, He could create robots to praise Him; but what would that mean? Isn't His way better? He created man to have a choice. While most will choose not to follow Him, some will choose to. Thus by their free will they have chosen to love Adonai and to follow him.
Which would you prefer, a slave who has no choice but to serve you, or someone who serves and worships you out of Love and Trust. I think the choice is clear.
Sanctifying G-D's name
So now lets address Part Two - why a sacrifice was required.
G-D is a perfect balance of many attributes, of which Mercy and Justice are paramount. If Adonai does not punish sin, He is not Just. Who amongst us wants to see a child-molester or rapist go unpunished? I suspect we all believe justice demands punishment.
On the Mercy side, who here does not want mercy from G-D when He examines our sins? I suspect we all want mercy.
Scripture is clear, all have sinned, some more, some less, but all are stained by sin. So how can Adonai maintain the Justice His Character requires, and display Mercy to those who cry out to Him. That is the purpose of the sacrifice. The sacrifice takes the punishment Justice demands, allowing the mercy of G-D to then act.
Sacrifice of Messiah
So where does the Messiah's death fit into this? The Passover Lamb and the Scape-goat are the perfect picture of this. Just as the Passover lamb had to die to ransom (redeem, buy back) the first born from death; the Messiah had to die to ransom us from death.
In Messiah, the function of Passover & Yom Kippur merge as a ransom was paid to the Adversary to ransom us from him, and a sin offering was made to Adonai to satisfy His justice and allow His mercy to flow down on us.
Likewise, just as the scape goat had all the sins of Israel placed on it, and was then lead outside the camp. So to the Messiah had to have all the sins placed on Him to be lead outside the camp to die in our place.
It is key to note, in both Yom Kippur and Passover, an action was required on the part of the person receiving the ransom or forgiveness. They had to participate and accept that the sacrifice was for them.
It hasn't changed, G-D's plan is the same, we have to accept the sacrifice and trust G-D for Salvation through that sacrifice.
While I realize this is a simple explanation, I hope it helps. I stumble and struggle with these same issues that each of you do. So when I believe G-D has shown me a way to understand it, I like to pass it along hoping it helps someone else.