Is Jesus Just a Hero?
Q: Someone asked me, “Why do you Christians want to make Jesus your hero since he led a good life and was killed for it?” What should I say?
A: Jesus is someone we would want as the focus of our devotion (not “our hero”) for two reasons: first, he is God, and second, he died to free us from the eternal consequences of our sins. These two reasons alone are sufficient to warrant making Jesus the focus of our devotion.
The objection that he just led a good life and then was killed for it is erroneous. He did not merely lead a good life; he went around teaching many things, including his divinity, identity as the Messiah, and role in freeing us from our sins. It was these things that attracted the attention of the authorities to him.
He also was not crucified because he led a good life. He was crucified because he claimed to be the Messiah, which the Jews of his day misunderstood to be a political deliverer, and they feared he would upset the peace with the Romans and cause an invasion (cf. John 11:47-53).
Finally, he was not killed against his will but willingly lay down his life in order to save us from our sins (John 10:17-18, Matt. 26:512-54).