Question: Is it true that Jesus “chose” to die on a cross? I thought the Jews and Romans killed Him.
Answer: It’s difficult for us to hear that Jesus actually allowed others to inflict torturous beatings on Him, and then the terrible humiliation and death on a cross.
But the answer is yes – He consented to it because it was His ultimate purpose for coming to earth. Jesus announced right before He died that the plan was completed, or “finished.” (John 19:30) So that He could live and die among us as a human being, He intentionally stepped into time and space to become the substitute for us by being punished in our place. He tried to explain to His disciples that pain, death, and resurrection were ahead for Him, but they didn’t understand. They thought He was about to set up His kingdom on earth and would overcome the oppressive Roman government that ruled over their land. Jesus clearly shared the predictions of His death and the events that would follow to help them not to be afraid. He stated He planned to “freely do what the Father requires” – sacrifice on a cross.
Jesus said, “Remember what I told you – I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really love me, you will be happy for me, for now I can go to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do, you will believe in me. I don’t have much more time to talk to you, for the evil prince of this world approaches. He has no power over me, but I will freely do what the Father requires of me so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going.” John 14:28-30
“From then on Jesus began to speak plainly to His disciples about going to Jerusalem, and what would happen to Him there – that He would suffer at the hands of the Jewish leaders, that He would be killed, and that three days later He would be raised to life again.” Matthew 17:21
“Leaving that region, they traveled through Galilee where He tried to avoid all publicity in order to spend more time with His disciples, teaching them. He would say to them, ‘I, the Messiah, am going to be betrayed and killed, and three days later I will return to life again.’ But they didn’t understand and were afraid to ask Him what He meant.” Mark 9:30-32
“Gathering the Twelve around Him, He told them, ‘As you know, we are going to Jerusalem. And when we get there, all the predictions of the ancient prophets concerning me will come true. I will be handed over the Gentiles to be mocked and treated shamefully and spat upon, lashed, and killed. And the third day, I will rise again.’ But the disciples didn’t understand a thing He said. They thought He seemed to be speaking figuratively.” Luke 18: 31-34
It’s helpful to know some background about what God required of people before Jesus arrived on the earth. In the laws God gave to Moses, the Israelites were commanded to bring a spotless, perfect lamb to the temple where they worshipped. The lamb was killed by the priest, and some of its blood was offered on an altar to God so that the family would be forgiven of all their sins committed during that past year. The reason for this was that God cannot look upon sin because He is perfect and good and requires it of others, not allowing any evil in His presence. To remain in right standing with God, He mandated the yearly sacrifice from each family. What the people couldn’t foresee then was that this was preparation for the one perfect and final sacrifice by the “Savior” or “Messiah” God would send to them: Jesus! He was referred to as the “Lamb of God” because His death counted as our once-and-for-all-time offering so God would forgive us of our wrongs – past, present, and future!
“The next day, John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who will take away the sin of the world.’” John 1:29
The Bible says God planned all along for Jesus to die in this manner before He sent Him to earth to live as a man. Even if the Roman government and the Jewish leaders hadn’t desired Jesus’ death, God would have accomplished it anyway. Jesus knowingly and willingly took the punishment we would have received from God for all our sins. So now, we won’t ever be punished when we die – only rewarded. God defeated sin and evil! He accomplished this through Jesus’ death on a cross at a place called Calvary and His resurrection 3 days later.
“…God forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Colossians 2:13-15
“Jesus bowed His head and said, ‘It is finished’, and gave up His spirit.” John 19:30
Genesis 1 and John 1 document that God, Jesus (“The Word”), and the Holy Spirit were present and together during the moments of the creation of the world. In the Garden of Eden, God provided the first blood sacrifice when He killed an animal to provide its skins as clothing for Adam and Eve. He clothed them after they sinned for the first time, a foreshadowing of the blood that would need to be shed to cover the sins of the rest of mankind. God accepted the blood of animals until He sent Jesus to be the last sacrifice for sin. Since then, God has not approved of any other sacrifices made by people to cancel out their wrongs. Jesus is the only Mediator before God that human beings can have! When we invite Jesus into our lives to direct us, we join His family and belong to Him; He is our one and only Advocate before God. Jesus said:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Think about this: Are YOU right with God? Accepted His sacrifice Jesus for your sins?
Do you want the wrongs you’ve committed during your life to be canceled so that God will accept you rather than send you to be punished?
The Bible warns, there are only two destinations for people when they die – heaven or hell. To join God and many others in heaven, you must believe and accept that Jesus died on a cross to save you, to become your Savior. You must confess to God that you are very sorry for your sins and thank Him that Jesus satisfied that debt for your sins though His death. Say to God that you believe that He resurrected Jesus to new life, as you would like to be in the future. Finally, ask Jesus to come into your mind and heart and lead you, through His wonderful Holy Spirit, to make the right decisions and please Him. Once you take these simple steps, you belong to God through Jesus Christ and have entered the Kingdom of God. You are on track for heaven and a fantastic eternity!
“There is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit – and His power is mine through Christ Jesus – has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death. We aren’t saved from sin’s grasp by knowing the commandments of God, because we can’t and don’t keep them, but God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent His own Son in a human body like ours, except that ours are sinful, and destroyed sin’s control over us by giving Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. So now we can obey God’s laws if we follow after the Holy Spirit and no longer obey the old evil nature within us.” Romans 8:1-4