Why Jesus Died

Non-Christians have difficulty understanding why Christians make such a big deal about the death of Jesus Christ. As a former atheist, I understand why that seems strange to people who do not believe Jesus was anything more than just a man. However, for those of us who believe Jesus is both God and Man, we understand that His death is at the core of our spiritual salvation. If Jesus had not died, we would not be saved. It’s as simple as that.

Unfortunately, many Christians today understand little about what they believe. That lack of knowledge leads to a lack of appreciation for what Christ did on the Cross. It also makes explaining the importance of Christ’s death to non-Christians difficult and sometimes embarrassing. The two doctrines most fundamental to Christianity are the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this first part of our special Easter study, we will look at Why Jesus Died. In the second part, we will see Why Jesus Rose.


Predictions of Christ’s Death

The Old Testament is filled with prophecies concerning the death of Jesus Christ. It should have come as no surprise to the people who saw and heard Him, but it did. The Scriptures spoke of the great pain he would experience: physically and emotionally. Death on the cross was one of the cruelest ways of killing another human being known to the world at the time of Christ. That is the death the prophets spoke about in great detail centuries before that form of death was even created. Here are just a few examples from their ancient wrtings.

“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning?” Psalm 22:1

“But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads.”Psalm 22:6-7

“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. they divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” Psalm 22:14-18

“He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions,He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked— But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:3-12

What Jesus Did On The Cross

Jesus accomplished great things on the cruel cross. We know about them because God inspired the Apostles to tell us. The following is a list of more than 50 things the Apostle Paul said Jesus did for us on the day He died voluntarily on the Cross. Consider, prayerfully, the Love and Sacrifice of Jesus Christ as you read each one. I pray God will touch your heart deeply and show you the Great Love He has for you.”Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

He redeemed us and forgave our sins

  • Acts 20:28

“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

  • Ephesians 1:7-8

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence.”

  • Colossians 1:13-14

“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

He justified us freely by His Grace and saved us from God’s wrath

  • Romans 3:21-26

“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

  • Romans 5:9

“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”

He saved our lives by atoning for our sins (Romans 5:10-11)

“For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

He gave us the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:12-21)

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which camefrom one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

He freed us from sin by placing us under grace (Romans 6:1-14)

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

He died to free us from sin (Romans 6:6-7)

“… knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. “

He gave us the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

He will rescue us from the sin nature (Romans 7:21-25)

“I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”

He removed us from the condemnation of God and set us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1)

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

He made us joint-heirs in the inheritance of God (Romans 8:16-18)

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”

He gave us every good spiritual thing (Romans 8:31-34)

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”

He gave us an unbeatable love (Romans 8:35-39)

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

He showed us the power and wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:18, 23-24)

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God … but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

He became the foundation of all Christian service

  • 1 Corinthians 2:1-2

    “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

  • 1 Corinthians 3:11

    “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

He died for our sins according to the Scripture … He fulfilled all Old Testament prophecies about the suffering Messiah (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

He placed all His enemies under His feet (1 Corinthians 15:24-26)

 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. “

He gave us victory over sin (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)

“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21)

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

He made us rich (2 Corinthians 8:9)

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”

He delivered us from this present evil world (Galatians 1:3-4)

“Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father”

He gave us the Holy Spirit and freedom from the law (Galatians 3:1-3)

“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?”

He redeemed us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13)

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”).”

He made us spiritual sons (Galatians 4:4-7)

“But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.”

He gave us freedom and liberty from the law (Galatians 5:1-4)

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”

He crucified the world to us and us to the world (Galatians 6:14)

“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

He blessed us with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

He gave us His glorious Grace in Christ (Ephesians 1:6)

“… to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”

He sealed our salvation with the Holy Spirit of Promise (Ephesians 1:13-14)

“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”

He became the Head of the Church, His Body

  • Ephesians 1:22-23

    “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

  • Ephesians 5:23

    “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.”

He opened the way for the spiritually dead to come to life (Ephesians 2:1-2,4-5)

“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience … But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”

He made a place for us to sit with Christ in the heavenlies (Ephesians 2:6)

“… and raised us up together, and madeus sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

He demonstrated the exceeding riches of His Grace (Ephesians 2:7)

“… that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

He empowered us to do good works (Ephesians 2:10)

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

He made a way for the Gentiles to come to God (Ephesians 2:13)

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

He abolished the law of commandments in ordinances and blotted them out

  • Ephesians 2:14-15

    “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.”

  • Colossians 2:13-14

    “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

He made the Jew and Gentile fellow citizens in the family of God

  • Ephesians 2:15-19

    “… having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”

  • Ephesians 3:6

    “… that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel.”

He demonstrated His love for us (Ephesians 5:1-2, 25)

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma … Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”

He made us spiritual lights (Ephesians 5:8)

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

He gave us weapons to fight spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18)

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”

He became our example of obedience and service to God (Philippians 2:5-8)

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

He provided a way to guard our hearts and minds from worry and anxiety (Philippians 4:6-7)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

He gave us strength to face the difficulties of life (Philippians 4:12-13)

“I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

He supplied all our needs (Philippians 4:19)

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

He made us fit to be partakers of the spiritual inheritance (Colossians 1:12)

“… giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.”

He delivered us from the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13)

“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”

He earned pre-eminance in all things (Colossians 1:18)

“And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.”

He made peace and reconciled us to God (Colossians 1:20)

“… and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”

He presented us holy to God (Colossians 1:22)

“… in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.”

He delivered us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10)

“… and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

He became our mediator with God (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

He called us with a holy calling and abolished death (2 Timothy 1:9-10)

“…who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

He redeemed us from all iniquity and purified us as a special people (Titus 2:14)

“… who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”


You are VERY special! Look at what God has done for you through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. God did all of this because He loves you, deeply and eternally. Don’t ever doubt it. Don’t let anyone make you think you’re not special in this life. You are! God thinks the world of you. He gave you His greatest Gift. He’ll give you everything you need to bring glory to His Name.

In Christ’s Love and Grace,

Mark McGee

GraceLife Ministries

“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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