Summary: This message will try to answer the two questions - why did Jesus have to die and did He really rise up from the dead.
Jesus: Why Did He Have To Die
Did He Really Rise From The Dead?
I. Why Did Jesus Die?
I want to look at this question from 3 perspectives: the Romans, the Jews, Jesus and the church.
A) Why The Romans Said Jesus Must Die…
• Because he disturbed Roman order.
• Because he spoke of a coming kingdom other than that of Caesar.
• Because he allowed himself to be called “King of the Jews.”
• Because he made a nuisance of himself at the wrong time (Passover), in the wrong place (Jerusalem), in the presence of the wrong people (Pilate and the Temple Leadership under his command).
• Because his crucifixion would be a powerful deterrent that might keep other Jews from following in his footsteps.
Jesus was not the first or last Jewish man to die on a cross (the Jewish historian Josephus, Antiquities 18.3.3. AD 95 and the Roman historian Tacitus, Annals 14.44 AD 109 both record the crucifixion of Jesus).
When Spartacus led a rebellion against Rome in 73-71 B.C., the Romans finally prevailed. They crucified 6,000 men, stringing them along the Via Appia for 120 miles, from Rome to Capua.
Skip Gray in his book, The Way of The Cross says,
Tradition tells us that around the time when Jesus was a teenager, there was a rebellion near where he lived. The Roman army crushed the rebellion but they didn’t want it to happen again, so they crucified an Israelite every 10 meters along the road for a distance of 16 kilometers. The sight of some 1,700 people, dead or dying in agony, on crosses spaced every 30 feet for 10 miles must have made an incredible impression on the mind of a teenager.
During the siege of Jerusalem in AD 70 Jews who tried to escape were captured beaten and
Crucified at a rate of 500 per day.
B) Why The Jews Said Jesus Must Die…
First let’s note that not all Jews at the time of Christ wanted to see Jesus die. Some not doubt wanted Him to live and others did not have an opinion either way.
Jerusalem at the time of Christ has a population of about 35,000. During the Passover feast that number swelled to anywhere between 350,000 to 1 million. Since, no one knows exactly where Pilate had his headquarters we do not know how many people were in the courtyard on that Friday, but the number was probably less then 500 – which means that only .143% of the people in Jerusalem were eager to see Jesus die. That would be 1 in every 700 people in the city.
The Jewish leaders who sought to have Jesus crucified believed that his death was necessary for the following reasons:
1. By stirring up the people, Jesus was threatening the peace and life of the Jewish people, thus increasing the likelihood that Rome would destroy both Jerusalem and the temple. The death of Jesus would be preferable to the destruction of the nation.
If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation. 49Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, "You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish." John 11:48-50
2. He boldly and publicly attacked both their position and their relationship with God.
Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed." When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus' parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet. – Matthew 21:43-46
3. Jesus interrupted the orderly system of sacrifices in the Jerusalem temple, speaking against the temple and its leaders, thus opposing not only the core of Judaism, but God himself. Jesus’ quotation from Jeremiah 7 (“den of robbers”) combined with other things he had said during his ministry clarified his condemnation of the temple – a blasphemous offense. Only God could pass judgment on the Temple.
The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. - Mark 11:18
The Jews insisted, "We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God." - John 19:7