Why did Jesus have to die?


#1

Why, exactly, did Jesus have to die and rise from the dead? What was accomplished by this? How did this save us? What did it save us from? What if he hadn’t died? I’m not trying to be facetious. I really treasure Holy Week, but often I think that I don’t really understand what happened then. Is it considered a “mystery?”


#2

[quote=sbcoral]Why, exactly, did Jesus have to die and rise from the dead? What was accomplished by this? How did this save us? What did it save us from? What if he hadn’t died? I’m not trying to be facetious. I really treasure Holy Week, but often I think that I don’t really understand what happened then. Is it considered a “mystery?”
[/quote]

Christ died to save us from sin and the consequences of sin, which is death. By dying on the cross, Christ atoned for our sins and he made us eternal.

In the passion of Christ he showed us the infinite love which God has for us. He also showed us all the virtues in a perfect example during his life. He also conquered evil by the opposite virtue, humility. There are many reasons why Christ died on the cross, but the ultimate reason was to save us from our sins and death.


#3

[quote=jimmy]Christ died to save us from sin and the consequences of sin, which is death. By dying on the cross, Christ atoned for our sins and he made us eternal.

In the passion of Christ he showed us the infinite love which God has for us. He also showed us all the virtues in a perfect example during his life. He also conquered evil by the opposite virtue, humility. There are many reasons why Christ died on the cross, but the ultimate reason was to save us from our sins and death.
[/quote]

Thanks, Jimmy. I’ve heard that before - He died to save us from death and our sins - but what does that mean? How did his death save us from our own death? Does it mean we wouldn’t have been able to go to Heaven without his crucifixion? Why not?


#4

There was another thread recently. Some really good answers.

8 sums it up for me. forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=43599&highlight=Christ

Does it mean we wouldn’t have been able to go to Heaven without his crucifixion? Why not?

If God had chosen to do so, we could have been able to go to Heaven without His crucifixion. But God chose it to be that way so Christ had to die.

Go read some of those other explanations. They did it much better than I did. I think Jimmy piped in over there with some great ones too #14, 15, and 19. I think it will help.

God Bless,
Maria


#5

Jesus was the new covenant promised in the Old Testament. He is the Messiah that was prophesied in the scriptures to save mankind from death, sin and Satan. The cross is the door to heaven, the key to Paradise, the downfall of the devil, the uplifting of mankind and the prize for our freedom. The cross is the sign of God’s mercy and proof of forgiveness. " God loved us so much he sent his only Son," as written in John’s Gospel.

I read this wonderful saying somewhere…Man’s ways lead to a hopeless end, but God’s way leads us to endless hope.

Jesus told us he is the way, the truth and the life…Why shouldn’t we believe and follow.


#6

Man, on his own, was incapable of obtaining recommunion with God after the Fall of Adam and Eve. By sinning against an infinitely good & loving God, man sinned in an infinitely evil way. No action by a sinful man was capable of repairing this infinite breach.

To reorder mankind and the universe to God, it would take an infinitely good sacrifice. Christ, who was fully God AND fully Man, came and gave himself as an infinitely good sacrifice. Through this act, he redeemed Man (since He WAS a man) and made it possible for man to live with God again in Heaven. His Spirit is sent to complete in each of us that act of salvation. We are free to invite that Spirit into our daily lives or to reject it, but whatever virtues and holiness we see in ourselves, it is simply the work of Christ’s Holy Spirit in us that is conforming us to Christ and bringing us further into communion with God. Even when we sin, our repentance is a fruit of the Spirit. Christ gave us the 7 Sacraments as spiritual weapons to fight the World, the Flesh, and the Devil - those 3 enemies that seek to turn our attentions from our own sanctification and towards selfishness and pride - the antitheses of being Christlike.

At our death, God’s work in us will be manifested and judged. No matter what our judgement, we will not be able to say that God’s grace was ever insufficient to keep us on the straight and narrow.


#7

A couple of ideas I have, in addition to others mentioned here:

Christ died on the cross as a way to try and make us understand how much He loves us. Same answer applies to the entire Incarnation. Also, He died as a way to try and make us understand how destructive sin is.

Christ rose from the dead to show us that we are not to fear death, for in Him we will live forever. Also to show that He makes all things new, including making the worst suffering and death into the salvation of all humanity. I.E., in order to teach us to be not afraid.


#8

God created us, and loves us so much that he sent his ONLY son to save us.

We are human and think and experience things in our measly human terms. Of course God expects us to meet us on his terms…but as this is so difficult and we are ALL douting Thomases to some degree, he changed his standards at one level.

He came to us. He brought his new covenant to us. He made sure we could understand his grace and love through something thousands learn about on a daily basis…the loss of life and the hope for something better.

God came to us in our form, on our terms, and in doing so, brings us to his level in such a way that we don’t even realize it. We don’t need to understand everything in order to be saved, we don’t need to ascribe to every letter of the law as was done in the time before Jesus…we just need to look at Christ and follow his example and follow his words.

God loves us so much that he wants us to be part of one family. Part of one body…and so he gave us the body of Christ. He gives us the opportunity to unite our sufferings in this exile with the sufferings of his son on the cross.

That is why Jesus had to die…to help us understand the impact of our sin, to give us a reality check in the visual and emotional terms we can all relate to. To help us understand the love and grace of God…and to help us be united as he had always intended from the time of our very creation.

It’s never God who changes the rules…is we humans who break them and then God comes to us to forgive the original pact and create a new one for us to meet.

We are the banished children of Eve, but in Christ, we are one body and we are united in the =perfect love God shares with all of us on our imperfect terms.

Now THAT is life, love, and sacrifice.


#9

[quote=sbcoral]Why, exactly, did Jesus have to die and rise from the dead? What was accomplished by this? How did this save us? What did it save us from? What if he hadn’t died? I’m not trying to be facetious. I really treasure Holy Week, but often I think that I don’t really understand what happened then. Is it considered a “mystery?”
[/quote]

This is such a good question, and posters have given some really great and excellent answers. When I was reading Genesis and Exodus in a Bible study, some things were really brought to light.

  1. When Abraham is about to sacrifice his son Isaac, (Gn 22:7-9) Isaac asks as they were building the alter “Where is the LAMB for the burnt offering?” Abraham’s reply was “Hebrew: Jehovah Jireh” or “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering”. Then the angle (Gen 22:10-12) stops Abraham, and a ram came out of the bushes. Later Abraham named that place “The Lord will Provide”.

  2. Lets fast forward to Moses on Mount Sinai the first time Moses gets Ten Commandments (Ex24) when God makes a covenant with the Israelites. When Moses comes down from the mountain top after 40 days(Ex 32:1-20), he sees Aaron and all people worshiping the golden calf (Egyptian calf god). Moses tosses down the tablets to symbolize a BROKEN covenant. In those days, when a party broke a covenant, the penalty was death. So the question is, Who is going to Die? Israel or God. John the Baptist Id’s Jesus as “the Lamb of God” in Jn 1:34.

These are just two examples in a nutshell that demonstrates God’s love for us.

Starting with Adam in Genesis and ending with Jesus: God made a covenant with man, man doesn’t trust God and goes into exile, and God makes another covenant, man breaks and goes into exile again. Jesus did what Adam failed to do. TRUST = Sacrificial Love. In the 1st Garden, Adam fails to protect his bride. In the 2nd Garden, Jesus sweats blood and shakes while facing the enemy, but says “Father….your will be done”. Christ’s Resurrection shows that we can Trust God.


#10

Our earthly lives weren’t meant to end with the horrifying and unnatural seperation of the soul and body. Jesus’ wouldn’t have either if we could have let Him live. We were supposed to end our earthly lives and enter the new life whole and complete with body and soul.There have been a couple documented in Sacred Scripture who ended their earthly lives naturally. But that wasn’t eneogh to save anyone. They were born in sin and through Grace recovered a sinless state of being. Christ died so that He could rise again to new life. That human experience left it’s pattern on the substance of humanity and through it any human can follow what He carved and experience the unity of Body and soul as God originally intended.


#11

Yesterday I heard someone on TV compare the birth of Adam’s bride and Jesus’ bride. Eve was created when Adam was asleep. The Church was when Jesus was “asleep.”

When he said this I though of the time Jeus said of Lazareth, “he is only asleep.”

I’m not sure, but I think it was a Catholic show on EWTN – I think it was that dude with a beard. Father Groeshel? Anyway I liked the guy and thought he had some interesting things to say.

Alan


#12

[quote=AlanFromWichita]Yesterday I heard someone on TV compare the birth of Adam’s bride and Jesus’ bride. Eve was created when Adam was asleep. The Church was when Jesus was “asleep.”

When he said this I though of the time Jeus said of Lazareth, “he is only asleep.”

I’m not sure, but I think it was a Catholic show on EWTN – I think it was that dude with a beard. Father Groeshel? Anyway I liked the guy and thought he had some interesting things to say.

Alan
[/quote]

I think Adam suffered too. Removing a rib from the hearts crib sounds painfull to me.


#13

As others have mentioned a sacrifice was performed to reconcile with God. In the old covenant the sacrifices of Able and Abraham were pleasing to God. After eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden. Once no longer in the garden, mankind lost access to the tree of life as well, and as a result of original sin mankind knew death.

The sacrifices of Able and more importantly Abraham were steps to restoring the covenant relationship with God. When delivering his people from Egypt, God sent a series of plagues to persuade Pharoh. The 10th plague was the death of the first born sons. So that this plague would pass over the Hebrews, God instructed Moses to have the people sacrifice an unblemished male of 1 year age from either the sheep or the goats. The people must place the blood of the sacrifice upon the lintel and door post of their homes, and each family was required to eat the flesh of the sacrifice and to burn what could not be eaten. In doing this the angel of death would pass over their household.

The blood holds life, hence the kosher prohibition on consuming blood. The Jews in the temple continued to offer sacrifices of unblemished male lambs for the expiation of sin. However, these sacrifices were not sufficient to truly forgive sin and the sacrifices had to be offered continually because they could not blot out our sinfulness.

In his mercy, God sent his only son who was without sin as a perfect sacrifice for the whole world. Jesus is the Lamb of God, the perfect unblemished lamb that is sacrificed. This perfect sacrifice would be sufficient to expiate all sin. In the Mass the bread and the wine are consecrated seperately – when the blood is seperated from the body we are participating in the very same sacrifice of the passion. At the last supper Jesus breaks the bread before giving it to his deciples – hence the body of the Christ must be broken before we can eat. At Mass we eat his flesh, flesh of the perfect Lamb of God, in the transfigured bread as the Hebrews ate the flesh of the passover lamb. At Mass we drink his most precious blood so that the angle of death will pass over us, as the Hebrews painted the blood of the passover lamb upon the doorway to their homes. While nailed bloody to the wood of His Cross, the Christ’s body became for us the fruit on a new tree of life.

God in His mercy condescended to die for us that we might be redeemed and the revelations of salvation history would be fufilled. “Oh who am I, that for my sake, my Lord should take frail flesh and die?”


#14

[quote=sbcoral]Why, exactly, did Jesus have to die and rise from the dead? What was accomplished by this? How did this save us? What did it save us from? What if he hadn’t died? I’m not trying to be facetious. I really treasure Holy Week, but often I think that I don’t really understand what happened then. Is it considered a “mystery?”
[/quote]

Jesus had to die because mankind, outside of the grace of salvation, is a lunatic sinner, who causes suffering and commits murder, as to whom God’s justice says, “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life.” In other words, God’s justice, which is “in and of” God, demands “suffering” and “death” for us lunatic sinners. There is no way around it. God can not decide to be “un-just.” “God-ness” requires that murder be responded to with death.

Christ, Who loves, volunteered to satisfy the demands of that justice “in and of” God, by suffering and dying in our place.

God the Father, Who loves, accepted the offer, and so offered His beloved Son up for death.

That is why Jesus HAD TO die. There was no other solution, because God’s perfect justice would not have permitted any other solution.


#15

[quote=sbcoral]Thanks, Jimmy. I’ve heard that before - He died to save us from death and our sins - but what does that mean? How did his death save us from our own death? Does it mean we wouldn’t have been able to go to Heaven without his crucifixion? Why not?
[/quote]

How? It saved us by atonement. It was a sacrifice on behalf of humanity by a sinless human. By sacrificing himself to God for us its kind of like God see’s the great sacrifice man is making in order to reconcile himself with God.

The consequeces of sin are death. The sins of the first man and woman caused death to the whole race. To sin is to seperate one self from God. He is all good and he is life itself. By sinning we reject God and consequently it causes our death. By Christ dieing and his ressurection it repairs our relationship with God and it makes us eternal. This is a statement from the mass.

“by dieing you restored our death, by rising you restored our life.”

No, we would not be able to go to heaven because we rejected God with our sins. By following Christ we recognize the great sacrifice he made for us and we recognize that we are to live by his example.


#16

Thanks, guys. I guess I understand the sacrifice part of the crucifixion. But this begs the next question - why did Jesus have to rise from the dead? Was it just a symbolic act - showing that He triumphs over death? Or did something concrete happen as a result?


#17

[quote=sbcoral]Thanks, guys. I guess I understand the sacrifice part of the crucifixion. But this begs the next question - why did Jesus have to rise from the dead? Was it just a symbolic act - showing that He triumphs over death? Or did something concrete happen as a result?
[/quote]

In Him the physical and spiritual realities become seperated as they are in death, and in Him they are united as they will be at the final ressurection when all of the physical creation is purged of corruptible realities and is united with heaven. The whole cosmos participates in His death and ressurection becuase the whole cosmos is created through and for Him. So, He died because we did and He rises so we can and the whole of creation can as well. No mere symbol but something real that happened to Him and will be real to everything created through and for Him at the end of time.


#18

[quote=sbcoral]Thanks, guys. I guess I understand the sacrifice part of the crucifixion. But this begs the next question - why did Jesus have to rise from the dead? Was it just a symbolic act - showing that He triumphs over death? Or did something concrete happen as a result?
[/quote]

Romans 4:25 says that He was “raised for our justification.”


#19

[quote=sbcoral]Thanks, guys. I guess I understand the sacrifice part of the crucifixion. But this begs the next question - why did Jesus have to rise from the dead? Was it just a symbolic act - showing that He triumphs over death? Or did something concrete happen as a result?
[/quote]

Through Christ’s ressurection, we are ressurected. Christ was the first. “through your death you destroyed death, through your ressurection you restored life”. The passion would be nothing without the ressurection. The ressurection is the conquering of death by Christ.


#20

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