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Summary: Palm Sunday sermon

God: Why did Jesus have to die? 1 Pet. 3:18

1 Pet 3:18, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:”

1. Jesus Christ died when he was about thirty-three years old. Other than the fact that he died as a relatively young man, on the surface there seems to be nothing unusual about that statement.

2. The reason why that seems to be a routine statement, is because death comes to everyone.

***When the Irish writer, George Bernard Shaw, completed a statistical study on the subject of death, he said he came to just firm conclusion: One out one people dies.

3. Normally, that is why biographers seldom spend much time on the deaths of their subjects. However, when we come to Jesus, this rule is broken because about one-third of the "gospels", which is the closest thing we have to a biography of Jesus, is devoted not to his life, but to his death.

4. Now we know that Jesus was totally different in his birth from every other human being, because he was born of a virgin. We know he was totally different in his life from every other human being, because he was absolutely sinless. But I want you to learn now that Jesus was totally different in his death from every other human being in this respect every other human being ever born was born to live, but Jesus was born to die.

5. Peter affirms that Christ died. The word for “died” in vs. 18 speaks not just of physical death but also the awesome sufffering.

***A few years ago Mel Gibson released “The Passion of the Christ,” he was widely criticized for the brutality with which he depicted the death of our Lord. In response to that criticism, he released a “recut” version of the movie on Friday. It’s six minutes shorter because he cut out part of the scourging scene and part of the crucifixion scene. He also changed some of the audio and the angles of certain shots to soften the shock of the film. But 2,000 years ago, no one could soften the crucifixion for Jesus. What they did to him was far worse than any Hollywood movie could portray.

***The great preacher, Dr. R. G. Lee, put it like this: "His death prearranged, prophesied, and provided by God, was no afterthought. Jesus was born with the shadow of the cross upon him. With the shadow of the cross upon his heart, he learned to walk, he learned to talk, he learned to work. From his earliest moment upon this earth it was his burden by day, his pallet by night."

7. Normally, people are remembered by something they accomplished by their living. For example: When you think about George Washington, you immediately think he was the first president of the United States. When you think about Benjamin Franklin, you remember he discovered electricity. When you think about Thomas Edison, you remember he invented the light bulb.

8. When you think about Neil Armstrong, you know he was the first man to step foot on the moon. When you think of Sir Edmund Hillary, you know he was the first to climb Mount Everest. When you think about Walt Disney, you think about the creation of Mickey Mouse.

9. But according to the Bible, the most significant thing Jesus Christ ever did was to die. Two thousand years after Jesus left this earth physically, the universal symbol of the movement that he began, is not a cradle, nor a crown, but a cross, the cruelest instrument of execution known to the ancient world, and one which was banned nearly fifteen hundred years ago. The cross is God's flashing neon sign telling us that if you're to know him, that is the Lord Jesus, you must know him in his vicarious death.

10. One half of one verse, 1 Pet. 3:18, gives us a simple, straight forward, succinct, and yet practically exhaustive teaching on the death of Jesus Christ. For in this half a verse we learn three crucial truths about that death.

I. A Sacrificial Death For Sin

A. Man dies because of Sin

1. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins" Now I call it a sacrificial death because as Heb. 9:26 puts it, "He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." You will never understand the death of Jesus until you understand its relationship to sin.

2. We all know that death is universal, and death is inevitable. Medicine cannot prevent it, it can only postpone it. What we call living we could also dying, because at the end of the day we reach the end of the day.

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