THE NECESSITY FOR THE DEATH OF CHRIST
Was it necessary for Him to die? If so, why?
Our Lord declared that He "must die."Matt. 16:21 - "dei" - the strongest Greek word to express necessity. "From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day."
Cf. Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22 "And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again."
"Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day."
How do we interpret this declaration?
Why did Christ feel that He must die? Two erroneous views:
- He sensed the growing opposition of the Jews, and began to feel that He could not escape their hatred. Therefore, He accepted what seemed inevitable, and began to prepare His disciples for it.
- He manipulated people and events to fulfill Old Testament prophecies of a Messiah, by getting some conspirators to give Him a drug so He could feign death on the cross, then recover and reveal Himself as "resurrected" after three days. But the plot failed because Jesus received a spear wound on the cross and couldn't be revived. (Hugh J. Schonfield, a Jewish historian from Britain, in The Passover Plot, reviewed by Yamauchi in Christianity Today, March 17, 1967, p. 38).
The necessity of Christ's death was voluntarily self-imposed.It was not a necessity imposed upon Him by fate or circumstance.
John 10:14-18 - "I lay it down of Myself."
Eph. 5:2 - "Gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice."
Phil. 2:8 - "He humbled Himself.. .unto death, even the death of the cross."
Several reasons are given by our Lord for the necessity of His death.
He must die to accomplish His own eternal purpose.
- John 12:27 - "But for this cause came I unto this hour."
- Rev. 13:8 - "He is the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
- 1 Pet. 1:19-20 "But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,"
He must die to obey the will of His Father.
- Matt. 26:38-39 - "not as I will, but as thou wilt"
- 42 - "thy will be done"
- 44 - "the same words"
- John 10:18 - "this commandment have I received of my Father"
- Phil. 2:8 - "becoming obedient even unto death"
- Heb. 10:7 - "I am come. . .to do thy will, O God"
He must die to fulfill prophecy.Matt. 26:52-54 - "How then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be."
Luke 24:44-46 - "All things must needs be fulfilled."
He must die in order to share His Own eternal life with sinful men.John 3:14-15 - "even so must. . .eternal life."
John 12:24 - "if it die, it beareth much fruit."
Note: Some say we are saved by the life of Christ. And in a sense that is true, cf. Rom. 5:10. But don't forget that it took the death of Christ to make His life available to sinners!