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Summary: Why did Christ suffer and die on an old wooden cross?

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Why the Cross?

The cross is at the center of all Christianity. It was while our Lord Jesus Christ hung on the cross that our sins were forgiven. This wasn’t an easy task for Him, but He did it willingly, because He loves us and it was the will of His father. The Lamb of God, who knew no sin, had to take on all the sins of the world.

Even as an youth, Jesus lived in the shadow of the cross. He knew He was born to die. And die He did - for all mankind to be saved.

Let’s read:

1 Pet 3:18

18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,

(NIV)

When we sin, we sin against God and only God can forgive our sins. How does God forgive sins? He must do it with a substitute. Jesus Christ was that substitute, the perfect Lamb of God.

Let’s read:

1 Pet 1:15-21

15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;

16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

17 Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.

18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers,

19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

(NIV)

Do you know where the Passover lambs were bred? In Bethlehem. When the angels came to the shepherds, to announce Jesus’ birth, they were probably watching over the lambs that were being kept for the Passover. It was the blood of the Passover lamb that saved the 1st born of the Israelites in Egypt. Several years later when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on that donkey through the Eastern Gate, it was 4 days before the Passover. At the same time the lambs for the Passover were entering Jerusalem through the sheep gate. During the preparation for Passover, the lambs had to be set apart for 4 days and inspected by the Priests to ensure that they were without blemish and perfect. At the same time that the lambs were being examined, the Lamb of God was being interrogated to find some flaw in Him. Even Pilate had to admit "I find no fault in Him."

At three o’clock in the afternoon on the day of Passover, the priest lifted the heads of the sacrificial lambs and killed them. At the same time on Mount Calvary, Roman soldiers nailed the perfect Lamb of God to the cross. This is the same mountain where Abraham was led by God to sacrifice his only son. When the Priest sacrificed the lambs, they were not to break any bones of the lambs. When the Roman soldiers came to make sure the ones hanging on the cross were dead, they broke the legs of the two thieves, but seeing that Jesus was already dead, they did not break any of His bones. All of these happenings did not happen by chance. It is all a part of a plan by a holy, gracious and loving God. God, who gave His only Son, as a sacrificial lamb for our sins, loves us so much that He wanted us to have eternal life with Him. A God who loves us so much that He doesn’t want any to perish.

Jesus knew that He had to suffer and die on that wooden cross, but it did cause Him emotional suffering.

Let’s read:

Luke 22:41-44

41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed,

42 "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."

43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.

44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

(NIV)

Jesus wanted the will of God, but He knew the suffering that He must endure, both physically and emotionally. He knew the physical pain would be great, but what troubled Him the most was the emotional pain that He would have to experience. Can you imagine a righteous, perfect person without any sin ever in their life, having to take on all the sin in the world from the beginning of time to the end of time. When I sin, I feel terrible. My self-esteem is at rock bottom low. I hate myself for giving in to sin. If I feel this way with my occasional sin, how do you think Jesus felt, not knowing sin and all of a sudden taking on all the sin ever committed by everyone in the world since creation?

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