Jesus willingly died to take on himself the punishment due to humanity for their rejection of God. The Old Testament was pointing forward to this event. In the cross of Jesus, God the King was God the Saviour too.
It was God’s plan to demonstrate his love for his people by this act of self-sacrifice. It is an astonishing way to establish a Kingdom.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (ESV)
Jesus’ death was essential to his role as the saving ruler of God’s Kingdom. Through his death we are offered free entry into life, as citizens of the Kingdom. The death of Jesus shows us God’s deep love for a rebellious people. John 3:16-17 is a great summary of what God did for us in Jesus.
God is the one who loved the world by sending his Son Jesus:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.“ (ESV)
Jesus’ death took the punishment for our rebellion against God—one act, for all:
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God… (ESV)
1 Peter 3:18
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (ESV)
Jesus’ suffering and death is both the means of our salvation, and an example for us of humble obedience and trust in God.
For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (ESV)
1 Peter 2:20-25
Why was it necessary for Jesus to die?
Thank God for Jesus’ death on your behalf, providing for you free entry into life as a citizen of the kingdom.