The Death of Jesus Christ

Bible Book: Selected Passages 
Subject: Christ, Death of; Easter; Cross

There is a tendency on the part of many people to think lightly of the death of Jesus because of a lack of understanding of the reason for His death. Other people have died on a cross, but there is a distinct difference between their deaths and the death of Jesus.

There are questions that need to be addressed and answers given for an understanding of the cross: Why did God choose to send His Son to die? Why did God choose death as a means of punishing sin? What made Jesus’ death different from that of others?

An understanding of the answers to these questions will give you a greater appreciation for the gospel and will help you to better understand the great doctrines of salvation covered in the following outline studies in this section.

I. The Purpose Of The Incarnation

The justice of God demanded death for sin. The love of God compelled Him to send His Son to die in our place. Why was not any man on earth chosen to die? Because there was no one without sin of his own - a perfect sacrifice was necessary, therefore Jesus came to be that sacrifice.

The incarnation means that Jesus, who co - existed with His Father in Heaven, was manifested in the flesh. Born of the virgin Mary, He became like us in all things.

Jesus became like us in His body. He grew in stature: He hungered and thirsted: He grew tired and slept and at times was overcome with fatigue. In His mind and heart He was like us, for He increased in wisdom and experienced sorrow. He loved: He wept: He had great compassion: He was glad and rejoiced; He was grieved and at times was indignant and trembled with emotion; He knew rejection.

He read the Scriptures and prayed; He experienced agony in Gethsemane and His sweat was as "great drops of blood falling down to the ground." He was the recipient of anger, hatred and scorn. He was assaulted by Satan and "suffered being tempted."

Do not think of Jesus as merely appearing as a man or as being a man only in His body - He was fully man in body, soul and spirit. He was God who came in "flesh and blood" - just as we are on earth. He identified with us that He might die for us.

Why did Jesus come? As the Son of God in Heaven, He could not die, for God cannot die. As the Son of man on earth, He could and did die.

II. The Purpose Of The Cross

Hebrews 2:9

A. To Satisfy God’s Justice

The purpose of the cross was to remove the barrier of sin between God and sinful man by satisfying the de­mands of His justice. Laying down His life, He entered the realm of death and came in contact with the power of Satan, the wrath of God and the condemnation of the law. Paul tells us that God made Jesus to become sin. Jesus became everything that God must judge in order to remain just and to become the justifier of the ungodly.

I Peter 3:18

The purpose of the cross was also to satisfy the demands of the law. Jesus suffered the penalty demanded by the broken law. The law demands death for sin.

B. To Demonstrate God’s Love

Romans 5:8

God is not only just - He is love and the cross reveals it. It is not His will that any should perish, but that sinful man should come to Him in repentance and faith in Christ.

III. The Power Of The Cross

Hebrews 2:14

The death of Jesus is unique - there has never been another like His death - it was the death that Satan had the power of. Satan had a just and legal claim against us that we should die - an eternal death which is eternal separation from God. This is "the curse of the law." His claim was based on the justice of God and the inflexibility of the law that demanded death for the law - breakers. God honored Satan’s claim because, in providing salvation, He deals in perfect righteousness, justice and truth. This is why He gave His Son to die - to "redeem us from the curse of the law" by being made a curse for us. (Galatians 3:13).

Satan was conquered, not merely by the greater power of Christ, but by the power of justice and truth. Isaiah 25:8 says, "The Lord will swallow up death forever." Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:54 that it is.

When Jesus died, He "swallowed up death forever," satisfied the demands of God’s justice and canceled Satan’s claim against us.

Genesis 3:15

When Jesus died, God’s prophecy spoken to Satan in the Garden of Eden was fulfilled. In essence God said, "You shall bruise His (Jesus) heal, but He shall bruise your head." In death, Jesus’ heal was bruised, but He bruised Satan’s head and thereby nullified his claim.

While Satan has no more claim against the believer, he does against the unsaved. Without Christ, the sinner is still under the power of the death that Satan had the power of - until he appropriates the death of Jesus as his own.

Colossians 1:13