I've had that question in my head since I was "evangelized" in college.
"Jesus died for you." OK, why should that matter to me? It sounds important, but why?
Well, here is what I've come up with.
Before earth and time, God was all in all, and there was perfect unity. His creative power was forever expanding. There was nowhere He wasn't, and all His created beings were in accord- that God is all wisdom and knowledge and love and power and dominion.
Then Lucifer- worshipper, beautiful, lovely and perfectly made for his role- looked upon himself, and looked upon Him whom he worshipped and thought to himself, "Look at me! Am I not beautiful? ...and look at Him... couldn't I do what He does? Just look at me!"
God turns to Lucifer, "What is this thing you are thinking?"
In His perfect knowledge and discernment, knowing the darkness that had just entered into Lucifer's heart, and all the pain and suffering this pride would cause; He would create a place for him- a place that had never existed before- a place where He would not dwell- a place for this fallen one and all who he would take with him.
"Fine! I don't need you anyway. Look at me! I can do anything. ...I have at least as much power as I've seen Him display. Look at all who are already following me! I have power."
I believe God at that time responded to what this fallen angel brewed up. Perhaps He said "You think you know power. You think you know beauty. You think you know what is priceless.... I will show you power. I will show you love and beauty and worth- things you know nothing of!" He counseled with Himself, and overflowing from His unsearchable love and depth of compassion came forth a display of love and power that would make all He had done before seem a casual distraction.
And God created the Heavens and the earth.
Oh the heavens and the earth weren't the display of power and love. (Though we are amazed at their vastness) They would simply be the stage upon which He would pour it out. He was about to carry out the greatest display of love and power that would ever be. What could be greater than all the heavens and earth?
And God created a new being- one that had never existed before- one made in His OWN image. And He gave him a piece of Himself. And He said things about man that he had not said about any of His other created beings. And He promised this new being a share in His kingdom- the kingdom of God. And He promised to this new being to impart His own Spirit. And one day He would make His dwelling place among men, and would be their light. Oh the words He spoke over man!
Oh the jealousy that Lucifer felt at those words. Was he not the most beautiful of all created beings? Maybe he was. But he grew uglier by the moment as his heart, perfectly formed at his creation, grew harder and more set against God.
But creating and loving man was not the greatest display of love and power. As much as He cares for your needs, rejoices in your joy, suffers pain at your loss, and longs to wipe away every tear. No, God's purpose was far beyond the works of His hands and His wisdom. Satan (his new name as fallen angel) had created a division in heaven that even today waits to be reconciled. All of creation groans in anticipation of the day when that rift will be reconciled.
Son of Man
God created man upon the earth, and with such vision for his fellowship with Him- in spirit and in truth. I wonder if God wasn't deeply saddened at Lucifer's fall. So deeply saddened He desired to pour out His Spirit upon man, and call him to Himself- out of darkness and into His marvelous light. And no one would ever snatch away those whom He called out to be His very own.
In fact, so deep was the love God felt toward man that He would again overflow in all that is God- love and truth and light and power and dominion- and He would send His only Son to be stricken at the hand of Satan.
This was directly confronting the prideful "knowledge" of Satan that he raised up against the knowledge of God. This was God about to display for all heaven to see, His very nature and character. In coming to earth, and putting on human form, Jesus entered into the realm of "the prince of the power of the air". And He did it seemingly without a defense. How curious.
Jesus walked the earth, declaring the kingdom of God and displaying its power over everything in this world- taking ground wherever He would. And we marvel at His miracles, at His works. He was simply being who He is- Almighty God! ...MAKER of heaven and earth, designer and ultimate authority over all its physics, its chemistry, its weather, its life. Satan saw every display of dominion over creation, and plotted His death. Ha! Jesus would walk right into that little plan with the same authority he walked the earth every day. Satan had no idea that he had no power at all over the Son of God.
One step back for a moment. When Adam and Eve first sinned, what did God do? He killed an animal and gave the skin for them to wear. Wait a minute... God killed? But, until then, nothing had ever, ever, ever died! This must have been the most terrifying thing to ever happen! No wonder creation was disrupted! All of heaven must have been aghast! I wonder if Satan didn't swallow hard at that moment... In fact, way back then, God was setting the stage for what would happen next.
Jesus was about to shed His blood, and pay for my sins. And as great a display of love as that is, Jesus walking into death was also an act of reconciling the great conflict in heaven. When Jesus gave up his life on the cross, He was not a criminal or a thief. He was the sinless and Holy Son of God. When He entered death- Satan's finite little realm- He had no sin to hold Him there.
I believe He confronted Satan in all the authority He had when He was seated at the right hand of God the Father. He took the keys of hell and death, set the captives there free, and walked out with not a word from Satan. In fact, I see Satan at that point trembling uncontrollably in fear, unable to even look up at the terrible and awful face of purity and light.
"You think you know power... you will see power, and you will see love." Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend." In death, Jesus conquered death because He was free of anything to hold Him there. He owns death. He created death... but not for you or for me. He created it for only one. For Satan and for those who fall with him.
So why did Jesus die for me... and for that matter, all mankind? It was an expression of His great love, and His great power- for all of heaven and earth to see and understand. A fallen angel had decieved a third of heaven, and all of earth. But God is greater than any rebellion or lie. Out of His great love, He gave Jesus to become man, suffer all that Satan could devise in this life, and then walk into death- Satan's own little realm- and take me back, for I was chained in it.
So what is all of creation waiting for? What is the reconciliation of the great conflict in heaven? It is when the sons of God are revealed. It is when on a great final day, Jesus will come forth and claim all those who are His, those whom God brought out of death and made alive in Christ, and no one will snatch them out of His hand.
On that day, heaven and earth will pass away in a moment because they will have accomplished what God created them for. And time will end because it has accomplished what God created it for.
And the sons of God will worship Him in spirit and in truth. And He will wipe away every tear from their faces. And He will set them over His kingdom. And, Paul says, we will judge those fallen angels. And so, man will be used in the reconciliation of the great conflict in heaven. And he will dwell with his King forever. And in the coming ages, He will show the immeasurable riches of His Grace and His kindness toward us in this work of Christ Jesus. We'll be talking about it forever.