Why did Jesus of Nazareth endure a torturous death by crucifixion? After all, he could have just stayed in Heaven and left us all alone to pay the penalty for our sins. Instead, “he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross”
“Who (Jesus), though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:6-8
But why? For one thing, God loves us dearly. All three persons of the Trinity were in agreement. God our heavenly Father was prepared to send His only Son to pay the penalty we deserve to pay. Jesus was prepared to make the tremendous sacrifice (incomprehensible) on our behalf and the Holy Spirit had to endure making it happen.
“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Love is the biggest reason Jesus “endured the cross, scorning its shame” (Hebrews 12:2).
Jesus suffered and died on the cross so that you and I could be rescued from sin, death, resurrection to face judgment, punishment, and a second death in the Lake of Fire. If we could have saved ourselves by our own righteousness, it would have been utterly foolish for the Father to send his only Son to redeem us. The fact of the matter is that Christ’s crucifixion was the only way we could be rescued. “If righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing” (Galatians 2:21).
I assure you that the Messiah didn’t endure crucifixion for nothing! It was the only way God’s worldwide rescue mission could be accomplished!
Do you realize what happens to a person after death if their sins are not forgiven? Jesus made it very clear that the wages of sin are death. And because God does not want you to go to Hell, but rather to Heaven, he did the one thing that would save us from punishment and a second death.
“The Father has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” Colossians 1:13-14
“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.” Revelation 2:10-11
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8
The Bible says “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (1 Corinthians 1:18). We simply don’t understand any of it. It must be illuminated by the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God. The Lord opens our minds to understand the Bible, just like he did with his first disciples. “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45).
The prophet Isaiah foretold the crucifixion of Christ some 700 years prior to Jesus’ birth,
“He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds, we are healed” Isaiah 53:5)
This prophecy clearly foretold the suffering the Messiah would endure. Nevertheless, many people refuse to believe Isaiah’s message. “The 17th-century Jewish historian, Raphael Levi, admitted that long ago the rabbis used to read Isaiah 53 in synagogues, but after the chapter caused ‘arguments and great confusion,’ the rabbis decided that the simplest thing would be to just take that prophecy out of the Haftarah readings in synagogues.” So much for Biblical inerrancy.
Meanwhile, don’t forget: If Jesus had sinned even one time, he would not qualify as anyone’s Savior. In that case, he would need someone to save him. Thankfully, “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). A sinner cannot pay for anyone’s sins; a perfect sacrifice is required.
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” 1 Peter 1:18-19
God not only forgives our sins when we accept the Messiah by faith, but he also gives us a new heart with which to love and serve our Creator.
The death of Jesus on the cross pays for our sins and reconciles us to God. When we repent of our sins, trust Jesus to forgive our sins, and are baptized, we receive the third person of the Trinity into our souls to enable us to live the Christian life and be in a right relationship with God. Apart from the cross, we would remain rebels and would lack the Holy Spirit which enters our soul the moment we are spiritually reborn (John 3:1-18). Jesus endured the Cross so that all who receive him (John 1:12) will enjoy a relationship with the Lord forever.
Have you placed your faith in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, or are you living under the delusion that your best efforts are enough to gain eternal life? If we could defeat sin and death with our own righteousness, then it would have made no sense for the Father to send his only Son to suffer such excruciating pain and unrelenting physical, spiritual, and emotional torment.
If you have not yet bowed your knee, repented, and surrendered your heart to Christ, this is a perfect time to do so. Turn away from your sins and believe that the Messiah’s death on the cross paid the full penalty for your sins.
Repenting your sins and accepting Christ as your Savior is the path to peace with God, whereas rejecting the Messiah leaves a person on death row facing punishment and second death.