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Why did he have to die?

James Grayston

This is the first of our Easter blogs this week where we’ll be thinking about the death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

I was listening to radio 2 this morning who always have a religious thought for the day around 09:20.  This morning a priest was explaining that at Easter time Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus.  I am glad that on the BBC people are still free to speak about their faith and discuss these things in public.  At this time of year you will see and hear many other programs discussing the events of Jesus death and resurrection; I’m sure this year will be no exception.  But something bothered me.  The same thing bothered me years ago at school assemblies years ago when we heard the story of Jesus every year.  What bothers me is that in these discussions we hear about the death and resurrection of Jesus but we rarely hear about the reason behind the events two thousand years ago.  We rarely, if ever in the media, hear the answer to the question; why did Jesus have to die?

We sometimes hear many alternate theories.  This morning on radio 2 the man spoke about Jesus suffering before could come into his Kingdom.  He equated this with more recent political figures who have suffered hardship before coming into power.  Others have said before how the Jesus died as an example to show us how we should forgive our enemies, this is the kind of reason I was taught at school.  But where there is some truth in these ideas-Jesus certainly is an example to us and Jesus did talk about how he must suffer before he comes into his Kingdom-neither of these are the primary purpose that lead Jesus to the cross.  To answer the question, why did Jesus have to die, we have to look to the bible and listen to the words of Jesus himself.

 In Marks gospel, Jesus tells us exactly why he had to die:

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10 vs 45

Just before this in chapter 10 the Lord Jesus predicted exactly how he was going to die.  In Luke’s gospel again the Lord Jesus tells us why he had to die:

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” Luke 19 vs 10

Jesus had to die in order to save us from our sins.  We had sinned against God; we have broken his law.  The bible is clear about this there are none of us who are good, we are all sinners and God is angry at the wrong things that we do.  In fact we deserve Gods wrath and Gods punishment for all the wrong things we have done.  We deserve hell.  Jesus went to the cross as our substitute.  He was punished so that we can go free.  God punished Jesus for all the bad things I have ever done.  And if I place my trust in Jesus I receive mercy and forgiveness and all his goodness is imputed to me.  An exchange takes place.  This is the primary reason that Jesus died on the cross.  This is what Jesus meant by giving his life as a ransom for many.

It was prophesied around 700 years before Jesus was born by the prophet Isaiah:

 “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53 vs 5

The apostle Paul writes about it afterwards in his letter to the church in Rome:

 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5 vs 8

This is the real reason that Jesus died at Easter time.  This Easter it is vital that all of us understand this.  Jesus died to take the punishment for my sins and if I believe in him I can be forgiven from my sin.  And since Jesus has risen from the dead, one day we can be with God in heaven.  I wonder this year have you came to realize the true purpose of the death and resurrection of Jesus.