Home > Main > Why did Jesus die?

Why did Jesus die?

I started this post a while back, at the end of Advent actually, but hadn’t gotten around to finishing it until now.  

Jesus’ path toward the cross began the day he was born. As I said in my sermon a few weeks ago, when a group of non-Jewish wisemen show up to worship a Jewish “king” you know something is up, and clearly Herod felt threatened based on his reaction.

From his seemingly humble beginnings until his end we find that what ultimately got Jesus into trouble was not some sense of self-martyrdom, but his willingness to look at the power structures around him and challenge them if he found them to be unjust. His mere presence was enough to threaten Herod, and as his ministry continued to challenge and worry the powers around him, to the point where they finally had him eliminated (or so they thought).  According to Mark (and I never noticed this until last night during our Good Friday service) Pilate knew this:

9 “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him.

When people say that Jesus would be neither a republican or a democrat they’re right – Jesus’ mission was far too radical and subversive to say determine if Jesus would be a republican or democrat.  But to say that Jesus was all about saving souls and not politics is a complete misread of Jesus’ ministry.  You don’t end up on a cross unless you really bothered the powers that be.  Jesus was very interested in the balance of power in the first century and his interest in it ultimately cost him his life.

The power of the atonement is this: In the death of Jesus humanity used all its power to try and reject God – by killing God wearing their own flesh.  But through it God demonstrated what Paul would later write:

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

God would not let humanity go, even when we threw everything we had at God and nailed him to the cross.  That is the Good News of Good Friday.

Categories: Main
  1. April 10, 2007 at 12:30 am


    I always appreciate your drive to let the gospel be the gospel and everything else fall out where it may. Its gonna be what its gonna be. Thank God for that!

    God is awesome! More awesome then anything we can imagine.


  1. April 10, 2007 at 5:59 pm

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