Why Was Christ Crucified?

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Why Was Christ Crucified?

Why was Christ Crucified?

Christ's CrucifixionThe simple answer is this:

Christ was crucified because of man's sinfulness and God's love and righteousness

What does that mean? Let's look deeper...

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Paul’s Letter to the Romans, chapter 6, verse 23)

These words summarise both the problem and the solution to our human predicament.

They tell us why we need salvation and how salvation can be achieved.

Let’s briefly summarise the situation:

We all sin against God and therefore we all die.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Paul’s Letter to the Romans, chapter 3, verse 23)

“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (The Letter of James, chapter 1, verses 14 & 15)

Jesus Christ is the only person who did not sin, and therefore did not deserve to die.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (The Letter to the Hebrews, chapter 4, verse 15)

“He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.” (Peter’s First Letter, chapter 2, verse 22)

In His justice, God raised Jesus from death and gave him everlasting life.

“God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.” (The Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2, verse 24)

“We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.” (Paul’s Letter to the Romans, chapter 6, verse 9)

God mercifully grants forgiveness and everlasting life to those who truly and faithfully believe in what Jesus has achieved and try to follow him.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (The Good News according to John, chapter 3, verse 16)

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace…” (Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, chapter 1, verse 7)

Two important questions arise from this:

1.     Why was Jesus able to succeed when others failed?

2.     Why did Jesus have to suffer the agony and humiliation of death on the cross?

Why was Jesus able to succeed?

Jesus is a unique person. The Bible tells us that he is the only begotten Son of God. These words are not just a title given to Jesus. They mean that God really is his Father. The mother of Jesus was Mary, an ordinary devout young woman.

This is how the Bible explains Jesus’ birth:

“Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?’ And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God.’” (The Good News according to Luke, chapter 1, verses 34 & 35).

Just as we inherit characteristics from both parents, so Jesus inherited characteristics from his mother Mary, and his Father, God. 

  • As Son of Mary (“Son of Man” is the title often used in the Bible), Jesus inherited human weakness and the nature which leads us to sin. He was “in every respect… tempted as we are, yet without sin” (The Letter to Hebrews, chapter 4, verse 15).
  • As Son of God, Jesus showed the glory of his Father, all through his life:

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (The Good News according to John, chapter 1, verse 14).

Jesus was so in tune with God’s ways that he triumphed over every temptation.

Jesus was uniquely qualified both to identify with human weakness and to triumph over it.

Why did Jesus die on the cross?

The Bible says that Jesus was “delivered up [to be crucified] according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (The Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2, verse 23).

And again in Acts 3:18 “But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer”

So the crucifixion was not a chance happening. It was part of God’s purpose which was foreshadowed throughout the Old Testament, by the sacrifices under the Law of Moses, and significant events in the lives of God’s people. So the Gospels show us that Jesus went willingly and purposefully to his death.

A matter of principle

The crucifixion vividly demonstrated an important principle. God has sentenced sinful man to death. From personal experience Jesus knew the weakness of human nature and said himself:

“The flesh [i.e. human nature and the things associated with it] is of no avail.” (The Good News according to John, chapter 6, verse 63)

By the crucifixion Jesus publicly acknowledged God’s justice in condemning sinful mankind to death. Jesus was in effect saying: “This is what human nature deserves. God is right, mankind is wrong!”

As a cruel murder of a totally innocent man, the crucifixion was in itself clear evidence of the inherent wickedness of human nature.

Summary

Let's summarise: 

  • Jesus shared human nature and experienced its weakness. 
  • By living as an obedient servant of God, every day of his life, Jesus conquered human nature. 
  • By willingly going to the cross, Jesus acknowledged that God was right to condemn man to death.
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Learn here of God's Plan for the World