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  1. Why Did Jesus Have to Die?
  2. Did Jesus Come to Reach the Gentiles?
  3. So Why Was Jesus Crucified?
  4. How did the apostles understand the Cross?

But he had faith and a passionate conviction that God would prosper Jesus and those who served him. Grand Rapids, Mich. This apostle later wrote the letters of John in the New Testament , the first one of which contains some of the strongest statements on God's love. Here are John's statements about the purpose of Jesus' death --in conformity with his Teacher's teachings:. But if anyone does sin, we have a helper in the presence of the Father—Jesus Christ, the One who does what is right. He died in our place to take away our sins , and not only our sins but the sins of all people.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love to us: He sent his one and only Son into the world so that we could have life through him. He sent his Son to die in our place to take away our sins. It is not that we loved God. We will never find what this love is if we start from the human end.

New Bible commentary : 21st century edition 4th ed.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill. The Apostle John was thus also faithful in proclaiming Jesus' teachings about His death on the cross, as our substitute and to free us from the punishment we deserve. Jesus did this--as sent from God the Father--out of love for us. Next, we will look at the Apostle Paul , who was an unwilling convert to Christianity. The person we know as Apostle Paul his Roman name was known as Saul his Hebrew name , and was a devout Jew around the time of Jesus' sojourn on earth.

Did Jesus Come to Reach the Gentiles?

Saul was a persecutor of the Christians until Jesus appeared to him from heaven and commissioned him to become an apostle of God to the non-Jews. Of all the early followers of Jesus, Paul was probably the one with the best training in the Hebrew Scriptures. He was educated in Jerusalem as a Pharisee--the strictest sect of Judaism at the time--and constantly quotes the Hebrew bible as authoritative in his New Testament letters.

Paul traveled extensively under the direction of the Risen Jesus, and wrote letters of divine instruction to the groups who became followers of Jesus in all the countries he visited and witnessed to. In his letters, Paul consistently reminds them that following laws and rules--even those given by God in the Hebrew bible--are not able to make one right with God. He points out that the message of Jesus was that God was the One who provided a special way for humans to receive forgiveness of sins , and further teaches that only by accepting God's message of the Good News 'gospel' of forgiveness by faith, can one even begin to submit to God's laws of love.

Our bodies--as we know in every religious tradition--somehow betray us, and seem to weaken and subvert our ability and even our willingness, in many cases to obey and please God. Paul calls this part of us the 'natural man'--the part containing what Islam calls the 'evil seed or touch' and Judaism calls the 'yetzer ha-ra''—and Islamic tradition agrees with the Christian tradition that every human including Muhammad, Moses, and the Prophets had this evil taint—with the exception of Jesus.

Only Jesus—according to Christianity and Islam—lived without its influence and lived without sin and without, obviously, the need for forgiveness of sin. Paul consistently repeated the message that the Lord Jesus gave us during his last night on earth—that Jesus would be a ransom-substitute for believers, and that Jesus would be a perfect sacrifice to bridge us to God the Father for forgiveness of sins. Even the notion of a 'religious redemption' is present in the Quran even though it is not God who does the redeeming , with the concept of being 'redeemed' or 'released' [Arabic fidyah ] from one religious obligation by the 'payment' of performance of some other religious good deed e.

When the boy was old enough to work with his father, Abraham said, ' My son, I have seen myself sacrificing you in a dream. What do you thing? The ransom aspect of the story is explained in more detail in the Hebrew Bible, where it is clear that it is God who provided the substitute--only God can provide a ransom:. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

So Why Was Jesus Crucified?

On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together.

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.

But both the Quran 5. Jesus and His companions and followers taught that God had provided Jesus Himself as a ransom , as a substitute, as a sacrificeand that God would ONLY accept this means for forgiveness of sins and a new relationship between us and God. There is one God and one mediator so that human beings can reach God. That way is through Christ Jesus, who is himself human.

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom ransomed us with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. Christ took away the curse the law put on us. He changed places with us and put himself under that curse. Instead, that grace teaches us to live in the present age in a wise and right way and in a way that shows we serve God. Second, the passages which speak more about Jesus as a sacrifice for us, with His shed blood being accepted by God for our forgiveness and for a new relationship with God. For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin , so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

God makes people right with himself through their faith in Jesus Christ. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ. This showed that God always does what is right and fair, as in the past when he was patient and did not punish people for their sins. So, the three main apostles of Jesus in the early church-- Peter, John, and Paul --confirm the words of Jesus, as they taught about what the death of Christ on the cross accomplished for us.

They learned from Him that people need more than just guidance and instruction in how to please God—they need rescuing, ransoming, and saving from the penalty of our moral failures, sin, and lack of godliness.

As such, they join the voices of the Angels and prophets that Jesus was more than just a teacher and apostle of God though He was that , more than the Light of the World though He was that , and more than a prophet though He was that — He was also a Savior, a Redeemer, and a Rescuer. He did all these things through His powerful, foretold, and deliberate death on the cross, as our substitute. And He did all these things so we could receive both forgiveness of sins and the power to live in obedience to the law of God and the commandments of love from Him.

Angels proclaimed this at the time of His birth:. This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. And prophecies announced this about him during His earthly ministry. He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David, just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

We can see now that the role of the Messiah was one of both teaching about God the Father, and about fulfilling the Father's will to reach us with His love and forgiveness.


How did the apostles understand the Cross?

The Gospel of John curiously draws attention to the fact that Jesus waited two days in Galilee and that when He arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for four days see John , 17, But because four days had passed since Lazarus died, the conclusion was inescapable: Jesus had miraculously raised Lazarus from the dead. But not everyone believed. Lazarus was now living proof that Jesus was indeed approved of God. Lazarus became somewhat of a local attraction for curious people who wanted to see the man who had come back from the dead.

The crux of the matter for the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem was the growing number of people who were now following Jesus, which was directly related to the miracle with Lazarus. Thus, as a result of the raising of Lazarus, the Jewish leaders not only plotted to kill Jesus Himself but also sought to silence Lazarus see John ; In other words, if Jesus is allowed to continue gathering followers, He may cause a riot in Jerusalem against the Jewish leadership, which in turn would lead to serious consequences against the temple and the Jews in Jerusalem.

Underlying this statement is the fact that other Jewish charismatics had caused, and would yet cause, significant problems in the eyes of the Romans. For example, the Jewish historian Josephus mentions that in AD 6, a man known as Judas the Galilean had incited other Jews to revolt against the local Roman government, refusing to pay taxes.

The members of the Sanhedrin knew that Jesus had the potential to cause problems similar to those of other charismatic leaders like Judas of Galilee. Jesus had already publicly taught negative things about the Jewish leaders. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick,. I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. The symbols that Jesus employed in His teachings concerning the good shepherd certainly would not have been lost on the people or the Jewish leaders.

So what’s this city of God like?

The Jewish leaders, on the other hand, were the irresponsible shepherds of Israel who should have, but did not, feed the flock of God. Naturally, the Jewish leaders became increasingly nervous as Jesus gained popularity and taught His rapidly expanding number of followers not to give heed to the direction of the Sanhedrin.

The Last Supper

What are we to make of this interesting statement? Is this actually a prophecy of the imminent atoning sacrifice of the Savior? If so, how could a wicked man such as Caiaphas utter such a prophecy? Or is there another way to understand this expression? The Jewish historian Josephus mentions traditions that say the high priest acquired the gift of prophecy simply by virtue of his position in the priesthood. James E. It is important to point out that this last statement—applying the death of Jesus not only to the Jews, but to other nations—is an editorial comment and not the words of Caiaphas himself.

But Christians like John can, in hindsight, look at the statement and detect further meaning that applies to the Atonement.