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Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

The death of Christ Jesus was foretold in the Old Testament many, many years before He died (Isaiah 53:8; Daniel 9:26; Zech. 13:7). So, just WHY did He have to die? When I first became a Christian, this was one of my biggest questions.

  • 1. It was necessary for our redemption. Luke 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: [KJV] Jesus’ Words. The Bible clearly stated that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise again from the dead on the third day. Jesus’ role as a prophet was foretold in Deut. 18:15-20; His sufferings were prophesied in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53; His resurrection was predicted in Psalm 16:9-11 and Isaiah 53:10-11. Acts 17:3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. [KJV]
  • 2. Acceptable, as a sacrifice to God. Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. [KJV] Jesus’ Words. A “ransom” was the price paid to release a slave from bondage. Jesus often told His disciples that He would have to die, but here He told them why --- to redeem all people from the bondage of sin and death. The disciples thought that as long as Jesus was alive, He could save them. But Jesus revealed that only His death would save them and the world. Our Lord speaks of His death in terms applied to the sacrifices of the Old Testament. He was the Perfect Sacrifice for the sins of men, a True and Sufficient Sacrifice, and the only one God the Father would accept. He was a ransom for many, and enough for all.
  • 3. Jesus was the final Sacrifice. When God taught His people to worship Him, He placed great importance on sacrifices. WHY? Sacrifices were God’s Old Testament way for people to ask forgiveness for their sins. God has made it very clear that sin separates people from Him, and that those who sin deserve to die. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [KJV] Since we ALL “have sinned” God, in His goodness, mercy and love, directed that sacrifice was a way people could seek forgiveness and restore their relationship with Him. Because God is a God of endless love and mercy, God decided from the very first that He (God the Son, Jesus) would come into our world and die, to pay the sin penalty for all humans. Jesus, while still God, became a human being. In the meantime, before God made this ultimate sacrifice of His Son, He instructed people to kill animals as sacrifices for sin. Animal sacrifice accomplished two purposes: (1) the animal symbolically took the sinner’s place and paid the penalty for their sin, and (2) the animal’s death represented one life given so that another life could be saved. This method of sacrifice continued throughout Old Testament times. It was effective in teaching and guiding people and to bring them back to God. But in New Testament times, Christ’s death became the last Sacrifice needed. He took our punishment, once and for all. Animal sacrifice is no longer required. Now, all people can be freed from the penalty of sin, IF they simply believe in Jesus and accept the forgiveness He offers.
  • 4. How does shed blood make atonement for sin? Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. [KJV] When offered with the right attitude, the sacrifice and the blood shed from it made forgiveness of sin possible. Blood represented the sinner’s life, infected by his sin and headed for death. The blood also represented the innocent life of the animal that was sacrificed in place of the guilty person making the offering. Death of the animal (of which the blood was proof) fulfilled the penalty of death. God therefore granted forgiveness to the sinner. It is God who forgives based on the faith of the person doing the sacrificing.
  • 5. How can a holy God look on us sinners? How is it possible for a pure and holy God to receive sinners without violating His righteousness and justice? The inspiring answer comes from the Book of Exodus! Exodus 12:13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. [KJV] This was the Passover. Christ is our Passover (1Cor. 5:7). Christ is the Lamb of God (John 1:29); often in the Revelation He is called “the Lamb.” A lamb to be offered for sacrifice was to be in its prime; Christ offered up Himself in His prime. It was to be without blemish; the Lord Jesus was a Lamb without spot (Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:19): the judge who condemned Christ declared Him innocent (Luke 23:4,14). It was to be slain, and roasted with fire, denoting the painful sufferings of the Lord Jesus, even unto death, the death of the cross. The wrath of God is as fire, and Christ was made a curse for us. Not a bone of it must be broken, which was fulfilled in Christ (John 19:33), denoting the unbroken strength of the Lord Jesus. The sprinkling of the blood was typical. The blood of the lamb must be sprinkled, denoting the applying of the merits of Christ’s death to our souls; we must receive the atonement (Romans 5:11). Faith is the bunch of hyssop, by which we apply the promises, and the benefits of the Blood of Christ laid up in them, to ourselves. It was to be applied on the door-posts, denoting the open profession we are to make of our faith in Christ. It was not to be sprinkled upon the threshold; which cautions us to take heed of trampling under foot the Blood of the covenant (Hebrews 10:29). It is precious Blood, and must be precious to us! The blood, thus sprinkled, was a means of preserving the Israelites from the destroying angel, who would not go where the blood was struck on the door posts. The Blood of Christ is the believer’s protection from the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and damnation of eternal Hell (Romans 8:1,3). The solemn eating of the lamb was typical of our Gospel duty to Christ. The Passover lamb was not to be looked upon only, but to be fed upon. We must by faith make Christ our own; and we must receive spiritual strength and nourishment from Him, as from our food (John 6:53,55). It was all to be eaten; those who by faith feed upon Christ, must feed upon a whole Christ; they must take Christ and His yoke, Christ and His cross, as well as Christ and His crown. It was to be eaten at once, not put off till morning. Today Christ is offered, and He is to be accepted while it is still today, before we sleep the sleep of death. The Passover lamb was to be eaten with bitter herbs, in remembrance of the bitterness of their bondage in Egypt; we must feed upon Christ with sorrow and brokenness of heart, remembering our sin. Christ will be sweet to us, even if sin is bitter. It was to be eaten standing, completely dressed, being ready to leave. When we feed upon Christ by faith, we must forsake the rule and the dominion of sin; sit loose to the world, and every thing in it; forsake all for Christ, and think it no bad bargain (Hebrews 13:13-14). The feast of unleavened bread was typical of the Christian life (1 Corinthians 5:7-8). Having received Christ Jesus the Lord, we must continually delight ourselves in Him. The Jews were very strict as to the Passover, so that no leaven should be found in their houses. Leaven is a symbol of evil in the Bible. It must be a feast kept in love, without the leaven of hatred or malice; and in sincerity, without the leaven of hypocrisy. It was by an ordinance for ever; so as long as we live we must continue feeding upon Christ, rejoicing in Him always, and with thankful mention of the great things He has done for us.
  • 6. The death of Jesus designated by God. (Isaiah 53:6, 10; Acts 2:23) Jesus’ death is considered as God’s act; and of wonderful grace and wisdom. Because Divine justice had to be satisfied, God and man brought back together again, and Christ Himself glorified, His death could not be altered. Christ was God’s Holy One, sanctified and set apart to His service in the work of redemption. His death and sufferings should be to all who belong to Him, the entrance to a blessed life for evermore. Everything that happened to Jesus was under God’s control.
    7. Jesus’ death was voluntary. (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 26:53; John 10:17-18). Jesus’ death and resurrection, as part of God’s plan for the salvation of the world, were under God’s full control. No one could kill Jesus without His consent. No one could demand His life of Him, but He laid it down, freely and willingly, for our redemption. He offered Himself to be the Saviour. He didn’t have to leave the glory and safety of Heaven, knowing all too well what was in store for Him; but He came! For us sinners, He came! He offered Himself for the Supreme Sacrifice. He was both the offerer and the offering, so that His laying down His life was His offering of Himself. It is plain, that He died in our place, to obtain our freedom from the penalty and punishment of sin, to obtain the pardon of our sin. His death obtained that pardon for us. Our Lord laid down His life for His sheep, for the world, for all that are wise enough to accept Him and all He has done for us. If you do not know Jesus for the full pardon of your sins, turn to Him today. He’s waiting with open arms.

Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. [10] For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. [KJV] also see: John 1:12-13; 3:15-18; 5:24; 1 John 5:10-12.

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Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

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