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Why Jesus Had to Die (Part 2)

By Decalogue · Jul 19, 2021 ·
This is Part 2 of "Why Jesus Had to Die". It is a continuation of "Why Jesus Had to Die" (Part 1).
  1. (continued from "Why Jesus Had to Die" - Part 1)

    If the Pharisees had shown excellent judgment in warmly receiving Jesus Christ, acknowledging that Christ was who he said he was, and accepted that he did the things he said he did - wouldn't man have a more charitable perception of our own will? If Jesus was worshipped by the Roman soldiers instead of being beaten by them, man might be tempted into believing that there is nothing wrong with acting on his own judgment and will.

    Christians might have received the Holy Spirit. But would they obey it? Believers in Christ might have a connection with God the Father, but though they had access to God's pleasing and perfect will, wouldn't they be more inclined to march to the beat of their own drummer?

    Man acquitted himself terribly in rejecting the message of God and putting His son to death; in so doing, man made the most powerful argument, through his own actions, against listening purely to his own judgment. Just as God scripted events of Egypt to tell the story of his sovereignty over this world, could God have influenced events in the Holy Land to tell a story about the inadequacy of human judgment & will, and the need to submit instead to God's direction?

    In Christianity, we are commanded to submit our will to God. Jesus modeled this in his prayer of submission in the Garden of Gethsemane:
    Here, Jesus says that he will endure his coming punishment if that is the will of God the Father. All Christians are commanded to similarly subordinate our own will -- our plan for our own future and notions of how to handle events in our lives -- to God's higher wisdom.

    Jesus's death and resurrection was followed by God's gift of the Holy Spirit to man to help us abide by the will of God. For Christians today, embracing the Holy Spirit and submitting one's will to God's makes sense, especially in light of how man's unruly and unwise will led to the death of Jesus - it represents a path of disaster.

    Grounds for The New Covenant

    The first covenant was formed between God and the Israelites after God rescued the Israelites from Egypt. It is worth noting that during Jesus' mission on Earth, the primary focus of his ministry was on the Israelites, not the Gentiles (although he did minister and heal some Gentiles). For example, Jesus instructed his apostles, “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel” (Matthew 10:5-6)

    At the time, the Israelites were the only messengers of God. Could the death of Jesus, caused by the Israelites, have been necessary for God to drive home the message that the Israelites were not fit, alone, to carry the message and mission of God, but that it must be expanded to all nations and all peoples?

    Towards the end of Jesus' ministry, he condemned the Jewish leaders for inadequately serving the Kingdom of God, a task solely vested in the chosen people at the time, and also assured them they would lose their exclusive covenant with God. Jesus said, "Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits” (Matthew 21:43).

    After Jesus' death and resurrection, when he appeared to his disciples, he said, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). Clearly, the focus of ministry of Jesus changed following his death: from reform of the Israelites to recruiting gentiles as followers of God. This appears to be an indictment of the Israelites given their condemnation of the Son of God.

    Therefore, just as God scripted events in Egypt earlier to drive home the message of His power, it is possible that Jesus' death was necessary to show the final straw of God's patience with the Israelites. In committing the unthinkable deed of having the Son of God put to death, there formed an incontrovertible reason given to the people to make sense of the need for a new covenant with the gentiles. God needs no reason for anything, but this message may be meant for the people, just as God's message about His power was meant for the people as well.

    Final Thoughts

    We know God has a plan in mind and a wisdom we cannot always comprehend (Romans 11:33–34). Yet we often feel a strong calling to know God and understand His ways. Understanding God's purposes in the the Old Testament can be helpful in interpreting the New Testament, which becomes necessary as God the Father's reasoning is not stated outright in the New Testament as it sometimes is in the Old Testament.

    God's scripting of events in Egypt thousands of years before Christ was designed to impart a larger message on the people; this framework might help us understand the necessity of Jesus's death. The death of Jesus may have sent a powerful message about the chaos caused by man if he solely follows his own will instead of submitting to God. Jesus's death may have also served as an incontrovertible message for people to understand the necessity of a new covenant with non-Israelites.

    About Author

    Decalogue
    Saved by God's grace, Bob Chandra is a believer. Bob is a marketing consultant; he formerly worked for Amazon.com and Twitter, and holds a degree from the Haas School at UC Berkeley. Bob can be reached at BobChandra AT gmail dot com, and tweets here.

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