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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Why Did Jesus Have to Die on a Cross?

Most Christians understand that Jesus died for them. They understand the substitutionary atonement of Jesus death for their sins. However, they don't know why it had to be on a cross. Why wasn't Jesus executed by some other means which wouldn't have been nearly as painful?

Jesus' death on the cross was predicted. Deuteronomy 21:22-23 states, "If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree,  you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God's curse. You must not desecrate the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance." Sin is a capital offense according to Romans 6:23. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 2:24, " He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." Jesus' bearing our sins put Him under God's curse. It meant He would die on a "tree" for our sins.

Jesus' death on the cross was public. The Romans chose crucifixion for enemies of the state so that their execution would be a public reminder to prevent future insurrections. The Jews required witnesses for any capital offense. The The public crucifixion was a testimony of Jesus' death. Many would have seen Him die. It would be hard to refute. The completion of Jesus' sentence was established legally. There would be too many to see this execution for others to legitimately say that it didn't happen.

Jesus' death on the cross was the price. It was the most cruel and painful means of execution known. It would establish forever the egregious nature of sin. It would point toward the love of our God to sacrifice so much to save us. A careful look at the cross will bring us to our knees. Why would God die for us? Why would He go through such pain to see us forgiven? What parent would let his son go through such pain for others? Only God.

"Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow." The price of my sin was the cross. The price of your sin was the cross. I look on the cross and see the life of Jesus given for me. I am grateful and I know it had to be the cross.

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

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