Did Jesus have to die a painful death or was it sufficient to just die normally?


Did Jesus have to die a painful death (including the scourging at the pillar, the carrying of the cross, and the actual method of execution, etc.) or was it sufficient to just die a normal death?

From my understanding, the ultimate price of sin is death. So there is no “lighter” sins or “greater” sins; each one would ultimately lead to death unless someone paid the price for it. (For both venial and mortal sins the price is still death, right? Or am I completely confused here?)

I know that Jesus is the new passover lamb. Now in the Old Testament, I’m pretty sure that when they slaughtered their lambs for passover they didn’t torture them or anything. I’m pretty sure they just had it slain.

So my question is, did Jesus really have to go through all that pain or was it fine for him to die normally? (This is my first question)

My second question is, if he DID have to go through that pain, why did God allow Pilate’s wife (Claudia) to have a dream (which could possibly cancel his execution), and why did God insert many events that could have saved Jesus from a horrible death? By these events I mean the interpretation that Pilate had Jesus scourged to attain more mercy from the people, and some others. I cannot quite remember any more than these events now, but I hope you know what I mean.

A friend of mine, also a Catholic, told me that contrary to popular belief, Jesus DID NOT have to suffer a painful death; as proof of this God tried his best to save Jesus from the said painful death through the events I listed above.

I really, really, really want to know the answer for this.

Thanks a lot in advance.


It depends on your definition of “need.”

Thomas says there are two definitions of “necessity:”
*]It would be impossible to perform this task without it (e.g.: You need a spacesuit to go into outer space).
*]It would be very, very difficult to do without it (e.g.: I “need” a car to go to the next town over.)
You could walk to the next town, but it’d be very difficult.

God is all-powerful. He is not bound to follow the idea of blood atoning for sin, that would limit God (who is limitless). Therefore, mankind could have been redeemed with the Crucifixion.

However, the Crucifixion was the very best way of saving humanity. Why? We’re not positive, there’s an element of divine mystery to it. But it could be that the human drama that the Crucifixion brought about is a central idea. We, as people, have trouble dealing with the abstract. But if we have this bloody, terrible, yet glorious event, it inspires us.


As L Marshal noted, a lot depends on your definition of ‘need’

God, being limited, could have granted our salvation by a simple snap of proverbial fingers.

But God will always choose the BEST way.

Why was the Crucifixion the BEST way of atoning for our sins. We will not know for certain in this lifetime, but most likely it is due to our natures.

The Crucifixion shows us the gravity of our sins. The pain and offense that it causes to God. It allows us to see the cross and to contemplate the sheer amount of LOVE that God has for us in a way that a little ontological pat on the head could never do.


According to Jesus it was necessary. Recall the road to Emmaus…

Luke Ch. 24
25 And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!

26Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”


For more information regarding this extract please read this - youshallbelieve.com/A-plea-to-humanity.pdf and go here - youshallbelieve.com/jesus-messages/english-2/

All of Katya’s booklets contain the Roman Catholic Imprimatur which assures the reader that nothing therein is contrary to Catholic faith, morals or teachings. My favourite booklets being “The Holy Mass” “The Stations of The Cross” and “The Passion” which can also be read online following the above links. :slight_smile:

Hope I have helped

Thank you for reading


Thanks L Marshal and Brendan for your eye-opening answers ;). Yes, come to think of it, that is the best way to reach out to us humans… it’s really in our nature.

Why do you think God then chose to make such a big drama about it then, almost making it seem that he was trying to prevent the Crucifixion? (I’m talking about Claudia’s dream, Pilate’s reluctance to have Jesus crucified, etc…)

Truly a mystery that I doubt can be explained… :shrug: but this is really interesting… really makes me appreciate my faith more :stuck_out_tongue:


As we know, Jesus came to fulfill the law. The OT is full of what the coming Messiah would be like and would have to go through. So yes, Jesus did have to die the way he did in order to fulfill what was written.


The law states that to atone for sins the Israelites would slaughter a lamb. Not torture a lamb and then kill it, that’s what I’m trying to find out. You might be referring to the suffering servant songs of Isaiah, but then that was just a prophecy and it didn’t state whether it had to be done or not. (But yes, as some of the people who replied already said, it’s wrong to even think that something needed to be done by God, as he is limitless).

That’s true, but then that’s referring to the prophecy that the Messiah will have to suffer (Suffering servant songs of Isaiah). Because it was prophecied, it was necessary. At least that’s how I understand this passage. To clarify my question, I was asking if it was really necessary for him to die this way. Could he have died in another way, perhaps?

And now because of the first 2 people who commented, I have a good answer. And that is yes, he could. But God chose to have it done this way.


The main thing to consider is that Jesus’ obedience repaired the damage of Adam’s disobedience.

In addition, Jesus overcame the worst of deaths. “Where, O death, is your sting?”
(1 Corinthians 15: 54-58)

Regarding this comment:
“A friend of mine, also a Catholic, told me that contrary to popular belief, Jesus DID NOT have to suffer a painful death; as proof of this God tried his best to save Jesus from the said painful death through the events I listed above.”

Apparently, there are a number of Catholic teachers, including some clergy, who have promoted an erroneous understanding of the Catholic doctrines surrounding the actual Original Sin. If I knew your understanding of Original Sin, most likely, I could take apart your friend’s position.

Re-reading the “quote” I cited, I am starting to wonder if your friend has a clear understanding that Jesus Christ was both True God and True Man which is a necessary condition connected to Original Sin and subsequently Christ’s freely chosen death on the cross. The Catholic Church definitely knows that the teachings on Original Sin cannot be altered without undermining the mystery of Christ. (CCC, 389)

Would you be willing to share your understanding of Original Sin and its surrounding doctrines?


It may have been such a horrific suffering and death because God knew that’s what it takes to grab and capture the attention of mankind.

Think about it, the lead story on the internet or news is never a story about someone dying peacefully in their sleep. But, a story of death by a horrid murder or accident is right up there!


Hi, thanks for your answer. From what I know (kindly correct me if I’m wrong), Adam and Eve committed the first sin. Because the consequences of sin are passed from generation to generation, we are all born with original sin. Jesus was able to save us from this original sin by his death and resurrection, allowing us to be saved. Subsequently any further sins we commit can now be forgiven because He paid for our sins in the cross already. I also know that he accepted this wholeheartedly. That is pretty much all I know.

Going back to what I said about my friend, he claims that Jesus still had to die. However, he claims that it did not have to be in this painful way. (Just clarifying this just in case)


Jesus had to be sacrificed.

Every covenant is ratified with an oath, a shared meal, and a sacrifice - the shedding of blood. Jesus is the perfect sacrifice for a new covenant between God and man because Jesus alone is both God and man.

Breathing your last breath as you lie peacefully in bed with your grandchildren at your side is not a sacrifice. We are in a new covenant. Every covenant requires sacrifice. Jesus is the sacrifice.

Covenants form family bonds.
No sacrifice = no covenant.
No covenant = no family bond.
No family bond = we are not adopted sons of the Father through our brother and fellow man, Jesus.

You can focus the conversation on pain or length of life or prophesy but that misses the point. Those are incidental. There must be sacrifice in order for us to be in a covenant relationship with God, in order for us to be adopted sons of the Father.



But we can also critique the perception that sacrifice requires a method of death. When God gave his son through the incarnation, that very act constituted a sacrifice, because death was a natural consequence of incarnation, and whether he died peacefully, or at the hands of man, a sacrifice was made as required by covenant.


A very simple answer to this from me:

God does not make mistakes. It was done as it should have been done. We could spend a great deal of time going through this theologically, and this is overall a very complicated question, but it is also fair to say it as simple as I have.


God knows what He is doing even if we don’t understand it. Thank God and be grateful for HIS Mercy. Trust HIM. God Bless, Memaw


You are reaching a bit. I don’t think that the incarnation was a sacrifice.

God himself established what sacrifice meant in Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Sacrifice meant killing, blood, etc. Sacrifice means slaughter. Nowhere did God tell Israel to sacrifice a lamb by letting it go to live to an old age and die peacefully. God said, “Kill it.”



And as far as the OP question which was clarified regarding the method used… Tim (or others), perhaps you could help here but in my own research I had learned of what the Jews (I think) or at least the Samaritans did with the lamb when they left the temple with it. They essentially attached it to a “cross-like” structure which they would then stake in the ground near the fire, not allowing the flesh of the lamb to touch the fire, and cook it. I have seen photos of this but am not going to post it here as I’m not sure how sensitive folks are and if posting that would be offensive and against the rules. You can do your own image searches. I’ve also seen illustrations simulating this but with Christ on the Cross.

So it would seem to be consistent with Jesus transforming the Old into the New and everything seemed to follow suit. Although in a change of order, such as the 4th cup was the sour wine while he was crucified instead of immediately after the 3rd cup of blessing.


Brant Pitre in the book “Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist” recalls how thousands of lambs would be slaughtered on the passover and their bodies skewered for easy processing.

They would be placed on one vertical skewer through the body and a horizontal skewer through the front legs - in the shape of a cross. They would then be gutted and skinned.

The image of thousands of skinned lambs, each crucified on its own little cross is brought to mind. This is what the Jews would have witnessed at Passover - the sacrifice of the lambs.



Yes that’s the book I recall hearing about! Thanks Tim!

So given that and the OP’s question, it seems fitting to say yes this was the manner in which Jesus The Lamb of God had to die!?


I wanted to point out that several related topics are dealt with in St. Thomas’ Summa Theologiæ, in Tertia Pars, Q. 46.

Also: Two more notes: 1) Be careful not to limit God, God is not bound by any rules, and is free to do as he pleases as long as it doesn’t contradict His nature; 2) Don’t identify God as a process, everything God does (and has done, and will do) is one divine utterance. Time is irrelevant when dealing with God and His nature.

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