Why did Jesus have to die?


#1

Why was it necessary for Christ to give his life to free us from sin? If God can do anything, why not just forgive us?

Also, is it true that the whole point of what Jesus did was to free us from original sin? But it seems that human beings are still just as fallen.

In short I don’t understnad why Christ had to suffer, it seems like God could have done the same thing without the suffering (why would Christ’s suffering atone for our sins anyway)…

Am I missing something?


#2

I believe the primary reason for Christs death was for God to show us how much he really loves us, that he would even let his own son die, it also shows how humanity is corrupted, that we would kill a man who is the son of God.

I do not believe that God wanted Christ to die, and I do not believe that Christ took our sins when he did die. That all seems a bit sacrificial to me, what type of God wants the sacrifice of his own son, to forgive us of our sins. Jesus was no scapegoat.


#3

From The Gospel accourding to Luke
Glory to you Lord

24:25. Then he said to them: O foolish and slow of heart to believe in all things, Which the prophets have spoken.
Et ipse dixit ad eos o stulti et tardi corde ad credendum in omnibus quae locuti sunt prophetae

24:26. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and so, to enter into his glory?
Nonne haec oportuit pati Christum et ita intrare in gloriam suam

24:27. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures the things that were concerning him.
Et incipiens a Mose et omnibus prophetis interpretabatur illis in omnibus scripturis quae de ipso erant

24:28. And they drew nigh to the town whither they were going: and he made as though he would go farther.
Et adpropinquaverunt castello quo ibant et ipse se finxit longius ire

24:29. But they constrained him, saying: Stay with us, because it is towards evening and the day is now far spent. And he went in with them.
Et coegerunt illum dicentes mane nobiscum quoniam advesperascit et inclinata est iam dies et intravit cum illis

24:30. And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread and blessed and brake and gave to them.
Et factum est dum recumberet cum illis accepit panem et benedixit ac fregit et porrigebat illis

24:31. And their eyes were opened: and they knew him. And he vanished out of their sight.
Et aperti sunt oculi eorum et cognoverunt eum et ipse evanuit ex oculis eorum

24:32. And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in the way and opened to us the scriptures?


#4

[quote=svoboda]Why was it necessary for Christ to give his life to free us from sin? If God can do anything, why not just forgive us?

Also, is it true that the whole point of what Jesus did was to free us from original sin? But it seems that human beings are still just as fallen.

In short I don’t understnad why Christ had to suffer, it seems like God could have done the same thing without the suffering (why would Christ’s suffering atone for our sins anyway)…

Am I missing something?
[/quote]

I have struggled with this question as well. I’m anxious to see some responses.


#5

[quote=svoboda]Why was it necessary for Christ to give his life to free us from sin? If God can do anything, why not just forgive us?

Also, is it true that the whole point of what Jesus did was to free us from original sin? But it seems that human beings are still just as fallen.

In short I don’t understnad why Christ had to suffer, it seems like God could have done the same thing without the suffering (why would Christ’s suffering atone for our sins anyway)…

Am I missing something?
[/quote]

First off… Christ did not have to do anything, He chose to lay down His life for you and I. He is God, the 2nd person of the Blessed Trinity and He makes this clear…

John 10:15

As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

John 15:13

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

He chose to die for us because He wanted to reconcile what man could not do for himself. I really believe the key to understanding the crucifixion is John 15:13. Hope this helps.


#6

In the OT the Jews had to bring their sin offering to the Priest. Imagine how that action would convict a person’s heart…they were intimately involved in seeking atonement and forgiveness for their sins (people who avoid confession should think about that).

God setup sacrificial atonement in order to teach His Chosen People the horrors of their sins. Jesus perfected that sacrifice and concluded all sacrifices when He died for us. He was the perfect offering made to redeem, or atone, for all of the sins of the world. Without Jesus’ death, we would still be living in a world where our only path to direct atonement would be the sacrificial atonement made by the Jews.

Jesus died once for all. If you recall how bad Jews must have felt sacrificing an innocent animal, it is infinitely more painful for us to know that our sins caused Jesus to die for us. It is about personal guilt and recognizing that guilt.


#7

[quote=TPJCatholic]In the OT the Jews had to bring their sin offering to the Priest. Imagine how that action would convict a person’s heart…they were intimately involved in seeking atonement and forgiveness for their sins (people who avoid confession should think about that).

God setup sacrificial atonement in order to teach His Chosen People the horrors of their sins. Jesus perfected that sacrifice and concluded all sacrifices when He died for us. He was the perfect offering made to redeem, or atone, for all of the sins of the world. Without Jesus’ death, we would still be living in a world where our only path to direct atonement would be the sacrificial atonement made by the Jews.

Jesus died once for all. If you recall how bad Jews must have felt sacrificing an innocent animal, it is infinitely more painful for us to know that our sins caused Jesus to die for us. It is about personal guilt and recognizing that guilt.
[/quote]

Good answer! :thumbsup:


#8

Perhaps an easy way to understand this is like so:

Old Testament:

Adam, first man of creation, lived in pretty much a paradise. Through the sin of pride, he fell, and brought about death.

New Testament:

Jesus, the first man of the NEW creation, the NEW Adam, lived in paradise as God. However, because of His great love of us, he came down to live among us. Through the supreme act of humility, he was raised up on the cross, dying to bring about life.

We are still suffering from a fallen nature here on earth. What Christ did was to open the gates to paradise that had been closed when Adam sinned. But man had been driven out of paradise when Adam and Eve were sent out of Eden. We are outside of paradise, but we now can get back in. On earth, we must find God and follow the path He paved for us to get back to paradise. It is up to us to go or to stay.

I hope that clears things up. :slight_smile: This is one of my favorite topics!!! A really good book about man trying to find God and the Fall is GK Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man. It’s deep and yet humourus–he really gets his point across without loosing you!


#9

[quote=TPJCatholic]In the OT the Jews had to bring their sin offering to the Priest. Imagine how that action would convict a person’s heart…they were intimately involved in seeking atonement and forgiveness for their sins (people who avoid confession should think about that).

God setup sacrificial atonement in order to teach His Chosen People the horrors of their sins. Jesus perfected that sacrifice and concluded all sacrifices when He died for us. He was the perfect offering made to redeem, or atone, for all of the sins of the world. Without Jesus’ death, we would still be living in a world where our only path to direct atonement would be the sacrificial atonement made by the Jews.

Jesus died once for all. If you recall how bad Jews must have felt sacrificing an innocent animal, it is infinitely more painful for us to know that our sins caused Jesus to die for us. It is about personal guilt and recognizing that guilt.
[/quote]

But this system almost seems cruel to me. Why should an innocent animal have to die to atone for our sins. What if you went and raped somebody, why would killing an animal on top of it somehow make things better? It seems that all it would do is add to the violence. Plus, if you didn’t feel bad raping a human being, why would you feel bad seeing an animal die?

I don’t feel pain or guilt because Jesus died because it seems to me that he chose to die, not that our sins killed him or that he had to die. I feel puzzled that he would choose to do this, because it doesn’t make sense that the suffering and death of God would change the sins that some have committed.

It seems like God could have forgiven us regardless of whether he became man to die for us.


#10

svoboda,

I agree, much of the “system” does at first glance seem quite unfair. Yet, when we consider it more deeply, it becomes quite just…at least in my opinion.

I will grant you that it seems brutually unfair to kill an innocent animal because of our sins…yet that is precisly the point. Any person who has even a ray of light in their heart will feel terrrible that another living creature had to die because of their sinfulness. Which in turn helps people stay more on the path God has given.

Any person who rapes a woman and is not repentant, will not likely care if the animal dies, nor will they have made real atonement for their sins, nor would they be likely to even bother with atonement in the first place. Some people refuse to listen to their God given conscience.

Jesus’ death, when we stop to really think about it, causes our heart to break for the death and pain He endured for our sins. Hopefully, that heartbreak will guide us to repent and choose the ways of God…not of the world…and in all that is one of the keys to receiving eternal joy with our Lord in Heaven. Without repenetance, there is no forgiveness. Without forgiveness, there is no Heaven. Without Jesus, we die in our sins.


#11

[quote=TPJCatholic]svoboda,

I agree, much of the “system” does at first glance seem quite unfair. Yet, when we consider it more deeply, it becomes quite just…at least in my opinion.

I will grant you that it seems brutually unfair to kill an innocent animal because of our sins…yet that is precisly the point. Any person who has even a ray of light in their heart will feel terrrible that another living creature had to die because of their sinfulness. Which in turn helps people stay more on the path God has given.

Any person who rapes a woman and is not repentant, will not likely care if the animal dies, nor will they have made real atonement for their sins, nor would they be likely to even bother with atonement in the first place. Some people refuse to listen to their God given conscience.

Jesus’ death, when we stop to really think about it, causes our heart to break for the death and pain He endured for our sins. Hopefully, that heartbreak will guide us to repent and choose the ways of God…not of the world…and in all that is one of the keys to receiving eternal joy with our Lord in Heaven. Without repenetance, there is no forgiveness. Without forgiveness, there is no Heaven. Without Jesus, we die in our sins.
[/quote]

But would we really repent? A lot of people nowadays use birth control which according to the Church is gravely evil. They likely don’t feel bad about using birth control, and don’t even think about repenting.

But if suddenly the Church started killing people and saying that it’s precisely because of the use of birth control, then a lot of people would stop using it because they don’t want others to die.

But that doesn’t mean they would start thinking that it’s a sin, or would repent from using it!

But on the other hand if people were going to their deaths willingly because others were using birth control (the way God seems to have chosen to die), then people probably would not even stop using it.

Plus, the fact that God died doesn’t seem like a big deal because obviously God can’t die! And it was his choice to do it anyway, he could have made himself feel no pain at any time!


#12

svoboda,

But would we really repent? A lot of people nowadays use birth control which according to the Church is gravely evil. They likely don’t feel bad about using birth control, and don’t even think about repenting.

==> Catholics who are educated in their faith and still use birth control are commiting mortal sin. If they repented, they would cease using borth control and go to confession.

But if suddenly the Church started killing people and saying that it’s precisely because of the use of birth control, then a lot of people would stop using it because they don’t want others to die.
But that doesn’t mean they would start thinking that it’s a sin, or would repent from using it!

==> You are missing the key element: true repetance. Without feeling true repetance, one cannot be forgiven, even if they went through the atoning actions. Beyond the obvious point that the Church would not start killing people, one must make atonement for their sins by repenting of those sins.

But on the other hand if people were going to their deaths willingly because others were using birth control (the way God seems to have chosen to die), then people probably would not even stop using it.

==> I disagree. If a person using the birth control knew that their action would lead to other people dying for them, then if they have any light in their hearts they would feel terrible and cease using birth control…if not, then they have no light in them and until they do they are likely in real trouble.

Plus, the fact that God died doesn’t seem like a big deal because obviously God can’t die! And it was his choice to do it anyway, he could have made himself feel no pain at any time!

==> Yes, He could have called a legion of angels to His side, He could have fought off His attackers, He could have destroyed the entire planet for the sins we commit. However, God (Jesus) created us and loves us, yet He also wants us to be ready to share eternity with Him–willingly. Do not ever underestimate how important free will is…God never takes our choices away, yet He makes it clear there are consequences for our free choices. BTW, Jesus did die.


#13

did anybody catch Tim Gray’s episode on the Gospel of John on the evening of 2/16/06?

He gave a great explanation of one aspect of Jesus’ death that is a major theme in this gospel. And, of course, it was not Gray’s explanation, it’s an important point given there.

The water flowing from Jesus crucified body connects with the feast of tabernacles and the river of abundant water flowing from it, from around chapter 12. Jesus talked about being ‘lifted up’ referring to the cross. He said that he could not send the advocate, the paraclete until he was gone ie died.

Notice that after the resurrection when Jesus appears he breathes on them and says “receive the Holy Spirit.” This is a direction connection to the image of the creation of Adam.

So Jesus’ death is connected to various themes in the gospel, which are fulfillments. His suffering and death atones for our sins. The crucified Lord depicts God’s love for us – that’s how much God loves us.

I had the same sort of question myself, why could not God have done this all so much easier and much earlier, like giving Adam and Eve a second chance, or scooting them over to the tree of life so that they could eat and live forever.

The big object lesson is that God is just as well as merciful.

Otherwise, isn’t that what we want, to sin over and over again, and then our life becomes a mockery of his love.


#14

To understand why Jesus died, you have to understand covenants. The nation of Israel was still under the Deuteronomic Covenant, even though they’d broken the covenant promises. In Deuteronomy, chapter 28, Moses lists a lot of the promises, and then it lists the curses that Israel would suffer if they break their promises: Sickness, Disease, Exile, and ultimately death.

Israel had already suffered all the other curses. Now, they had to face death. The only way out of a Covenant is death of one of the partners, i.e. “til death do us part” in a marriage covenant.

God knew that Israel couldn’t die, that wouldn’t solve anything. So God had to die to release Israel from its Covenantal death. That’s why He sent His only begotten son.

It makes me tremble everytime I consider how much He loves us!

Notworthy

P.S. Crumby, Tim Gray detailed this on his series on Luke - Message of the Messiah.


#15

[quote=NotWorthy]To understand why Jesus died, you have to understand covenants. The nation of Israel was still under the Deuteronomic Covenant, even though they’d broken the covenant promises. In Deuteronomy, chapter 28, Moses lists a lot of the promises, and then it lists the curses that Israel would suffer if they break their promises: Sickness, Disease, Exile, and ultimately death.

Israel had already suffered all the other curses. Now, they had to face death. The only way out of a Covenant is death of one of the partners, i.e. “til death do us part” in a marriage covenant.

God knew that Israel couldn’t die, that wouldn’t solve anything. So God had to die to release Israel from its Covenantal death. That’s why He sent His only begotten son.

It makes me tremble everytime I consider how much He loves us!

Notworthy

P.S. Crumby, Tim Gray detailed this on his series on Luke - Message of the Messiah.
[/quote]

But God never died, he continued living (or more appropriately existing) all the while. Surely God can’t cease to exist, even briefly!

Plus I thought the Church taught that the Old Coventant still stands, and was never terminated.


#16

But Jesus did die, didn’t he? To imply that Jesus did not die is to deny His humanity and His Resurrection. I think the Catholic Church has hashed that out at least once or twice in the past.

He took on our sins (“He who did not sin became sin”), took on our diseases and afflictions (He healed the sick and the lame), He went into exile (when he was brought into Pilates Praetorium), and then He Died.

I, for one, am not under the Deuteronomic Covenant (thank goodness, I love the taste of pork!!!). The way I understand it, Jesus didn’t abolish the law, He fulfilled it.

The terms of a Covenant mean the two become one, and until death do you part (big-time paraphrasing, here). So we’ve fulfilled the terms of the Deuteronomic Covenant and (for those of us who joined it) are under the New Covenant.

Notworthy

P.S. Just wondering, could that be why we are told to be born again into the New Covenant?


#17

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