I know why Jesus had to die, but what was the prescription that required him to die such a violent death?
Jesus didn’t have to die. He did speak of His passion in terms of fulfilling the Scriptures. But the Scriptures could easily have said otherwise. The kind of death Jesus died seems to have been specifically designed to demonstrate to us God’s love in a way we would be able to understand.
We know that God is infinitely good and that His love for us is without limit. But we have no experience of anything that is unlimited. Such a concept remains abstract for us. However, we do know what suffering is. It is not just an abstract concept. We know about it because it is part of our own experience.
By the fact that Jesus willingly suffered such torture, we get a glimpse of what infinite love must be. His passion brings us face to face with a God who created us out of nothing and was willing to suffer such pain on our behalf when He did not have to. He didn’t even have to create us in the first place. By this we get some inkling of how important it is for us to love Him and each other. Obviously, His love is truly beyond our ability to completely fathom.
Through His passion we are able to recognize how limited we are in the face of Divinity.
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.