“What, then, was Jesus doing in his life and in his death?  The answer must be that in his life and in his death Jesus was demonstrating to men the eternal, unchangeable, unconqurerable love of God.  He was demonstrating to men that God is the Father who loves undefeatably and whose one desire is that the lost son should come home.  

When Jesus entered the world, when he healed the sick, comforted the sad, fed the hungry, forgave his enemies, he was saying to men:  ‘God loves you like that.’  When he died upon the cross he was saying: ’Nothing that men can ever do to God will stop God loving them.  There is no limit to the love of God.  There is no end beyond which that love will not go.  God loves you like that.’  

That is why nothing less than death on the Cross would do.  If Jesus had refused or escaped the Cross, if he had not died, it would mean that there was some point in suffering and sorrow at which the love of God stopped, that there was some point beyond which forgiveness was impossible.  But the Cross is God saying in Jesus: ’There is no limit to which my love will not go and no sin which my love cannot forgive.’”

William Barclay, The Mind of Jesus