Do You Know Why Jesus Died?

Do you know why Jesus died?

An innocent man called Jesus Christ was put to death on a cross. Crucifixion was normally reserved for the very worst of criminals. It was designed to be a slow and agonising death. Many thousands of people were punished for their crimes in that cruel and inhumane way. So what, if anything, is the significance of the execution of Jesus Christ? Why are we still talking about it 2,000 years later?

1. His death was predicted long ago

We can be quite certain that the death of Jesus Christ was not a chance happening. The Old Testament part of the Bible contains hundreds of prophecies about the coming of the Saviour, and Jesus Christ fulfilled every one of them. Many of these predictions relate to his suffering and death. Just to give one example, the prophet Isaiah foretold 700 years before, that the Saviour would be executed alongside criminals: “…he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors…” (Isaiah 52:12). The eyewitness accounts in the New Testament tell us that two other men were crucified either side of Jesus on that first Good Friday afternoon.

2. His death was punishment for others

One of the criminals alongside Jesus rightly said about him, “…this man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:41). Jesus was innocent of any crime. Even the judge at his trial had said the very same thing. Why then was Jesus crucified? The Bible gives the reason. It was not for his own wrongs but for the wrongs of others that he died. We have all broken God’s laws! We have lied and cheated and stolen. We have been greedy and selfish and proud. If we are honest, we know that sin deserves to be punished. We all deserve to be punished by God who is holy and just.

However, because God loves us, he devised a plan that would involve someone else being punished in the place of his people. That someone was God’s only Son, the Lord Jesus, who never sinned yet willingly became a substitute for others. The Bible says, “…while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). This was wonderful love!

3. His death provoked two responses

One of the criminals crucified next to Jesus mocked him by demanding that if he really was the Saviour he should save all three of them from death. The other man couldn’t have been a greater contrast. He admitted that he and his fellow criminal were getting exactly what they deserved. Then he turned to Jesus and, showing that he believed that Jesus really was the Saviour of sinners, asked that there might be a place, even for him, in Jesus’ coming kingdom. The man received the most amazing reply, “today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).

4. His death still demands a response

The Bible says, “…the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). What Jesus Christ was willing to go through on the cross will either repel you, or it will draw you to him in sorrow for your sin and with complete trust, “…Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31). The power that raised Jesus from the dead three days after his crucifixion is the same power that can save your soul and guarantee you a home in heaven.


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