Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Ten Reasons Jesus Had to be Crucified

Jesus foretold that He would be crucified several times before it happened.  Not only did our Lord say that He would be crucified, He said He MUST be crucified.  The Greek word translated must is dei.  It is used to refer to something that is necessary, something that has to happen.

So why was it necessary for Jesus to be crucified?  Or, to ask it another way: What good things were achieved by Jesus being crucified?  The answer is that there are many answers!  A study of the New Testament reveals at least ten reasons Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified.

Here are ten reasons I found, along with verses to think about:

Reason #1:  Jesus was fulfilling the will of His Heavenly Father as found in the Bible.

For Jesus, the most important thing was to do the will of His Father in Heaven.  Based on the part of the Bible that was already written in His day (the Old Testament), Jesus knew it was His Father’s will for Him to be killed.

NIV  Matthew 26:39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

NIV  Matthew 26:53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?" 55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56a But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled."

Reason #2:  Jesus was crucified to pay for our sins.

NIV  Romans 4:25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

NIV  Romans 5:6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

NIV  1 Corinthians 15:3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

Reason #3.  Jesus died to reconcile us to Himself and to God.

NIV  Colossians 1:22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation--

NIV  1 Peter 3:18a For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.

Reason #4  Jesus died on the cross to give us eternal life and an eternal inheritance.

NIV  Hebrews 9:15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance-- now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

Reason #5.  Jesus gave His life for us because of His great love for us, and because of the Father’s great love for us.

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

NIV  John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Reason #6  Jesus was crucified to free us from sin.

This is not the same as paying for our sin.  This means that the death of Jesus allows us to be empowered and motivated so that we are no longer slaves to sin.  Instead of living for sinful desires, we are free to live for righteousness.

NIV  Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

NIV  Romans 6:6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--

Reason #7  By the cross, Jesus ends hostility and brings peace between people and peoples.

Not only does sin create conflict between us and God, sin also creates conflict and hostility between us and other people.  When we accept Jesus as our Lord we become brothers and sisters with all other Christians.  Thus, groups or individuals with a past history of conflict, hurt, and hatred, can now find peace with one another.  In the verse below, this is applied to Jews and Gentiles.  The same principle applies to blacks and whites, or any other groups which have a past history of hurt and hostility.

NIV  Ephesians 2:15b His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

Reason #8  Jesus was setting an example for us to follow of loving others sacrificially and obeying God even at great cost.

NIV  Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

Reason #9 By dying on the cross, Jesus defeated the Devil and all his demons and also gave us the ability to overcome the Devil.

NIV  Colossians 2:15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

NIV  Hebrews 2:14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death-- that is, the devil-- 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

NIV  Revelation 12:11 They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

Reason #10  Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before him.

In the story of the cross, we see the very real suffering of Christ.  There were drops of sweat like blood, pain, insult, thirst, and agony.  But beneath all the blood and tears and sweat and suffering, deep in His heart, Jesus was driven by JOY.  Jesus could look ahead and see the glorious future His suffering would bring to pass. He could see the pleasure of His Father. He could see His glorious bride purchased with His blood.

NIV  Hebrews 12:2b For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.


When we think of the reason that Jesus had to die, normally the first thing that comes to mind is that He died to pay for our sins.  And that is absolutely true and it is good if that comes to mind.  But we’ve seen that the cross of Christ also achieved many other things.  In fact, more could be added to the list above.

Many Christians have seen this same truth and expressed it in different ways.  Some have identified three broad reasons for the cross:

1.  Christ as Substitute:  Christ died to pay the penalty for our sins and rescue us from the wrath of God. In many ways this is the foundational reason for the cross.

2.  Christ as Example:  The incredible love and obedience Jesus showed on the cross is a moral example for us to follow.

3.  Christ as Victor:  Through the cross, Jesus takes away the “right” Satan has to influence us and rule over us and secures Satan’s ultimate defeat while rescuing us.

For those who are familiar with theological terms for the different parts of salvation, we can see from the ten reasons above that the cross is foundational not only for our justification (setting us free from the penalty of sin), but also for our sanctification (setting us free from the practice of sin), and our eventual glorification (setting us free from the presence of sin).

Here’s a final image to think about as you consider the wonder of cross of Christ:

Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others . . .

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