Why did Jesus need to die?

Hello all,

I always wondered why Jesus had to die on the cross? The Bible clearly speaks against Sole Fide and mentions many different means of atonement. As a former protestant, I was shocked to find this out and consequently left Christianity. Why did Jesus need to die on the cross if there are other means of atonement?

It is the ultimate sacrifice to lay down His life for us.

Under Levitical law, we had finite sacrifices for finite sins. But Jesus, being God, is the perfect and ultimate sacrifice, for the forgiveness of all sins.

Ditto that.

So that He could get resurrected ! and all of us together with Him, into a new life :thumbsup:

Because the wages of sin is death. The only way to atone for all of humanity’s sins is for a perfect and sinless person to give their life. Blood had to be shed and death had to come. That’s why in the old testament they sacrificed animals as a temporary way to blot out their sins till the ultimate sacrifice could be made that would atone for all sins once and for all. That’s why we don’t sacrifice animals today like they did in the old testament.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker just blogged about that question today. Here’s the link:


He didn’t have to. He chose to.

By our sins, we have separated ourselves from God. This is an infinite separation - there is nothing we can do on our own to restore our relationship with Him. That requires an infinite atonement, which only God could make. But since man owed the debt, it had to be man who paid it, and so God became man in Jesus to pay the debt.
But He didn’t need to die on the cross. A single drop of Jesus’ blood has infinite value and would have been more than enough to pay our debt. If the child Jesus had offered a single scraped knee or nosebleed to the Father for our sins, that would have been enough. But instead, He chose to offer every single drop of His blood: He chose to die. And not only that, but He chose to die in the most painful and the most humiliating way possible. He chose to give up everything for us.
Why? Why would God choose to give His very life when a single drop of blood would suffice? It sounds crazy.
It sounds crazy because it is. But people do crazy things when they are in love, all to get their beloved to love them in return. Jesus thirsts for your love. There is nothing He wants more than for you to experience the perfect joy of eternal union with Him. He wants your love so badly that He would gladly give anything, even His own life on the Cross, for even the slightest chance of getting you to fall in love with Him.
Jesus is madly in love with you. He didn’t have to die on the Cross, but He chose to. For you.

Thank you all for your input. Much appreciated!

It’s not just about the sacrifice. It is also about the covenant.

Covenants form family bonds. God and Israel were in a covenant relationship. Covenants end when one member of the covenant dies.

Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant. (Hebrews 915)

God had to become man and die in order for the old covenant to end so that God could establish a new covenant. The end of the old covenant and the establishment of a new covenant is the entire reason for the Letter to the Hebrews.


Interesting, I’ve never heard this before. Do you know of any sources I can look into to read more about it?

Reconciliation is the reason for the Cross, God reconciled mankind with Himself. Man was hostage of “death”. Heaven was closed, mankind was banished from the garden, they had no access to the “Tree of Life”. The Tree of Life = Jesus-Cross.

There’s many. Tim’s thinking is spot on.


Mark, this is where the confusion is “in order for the old covenant to end” ?

The specific language is the issue or the overall understanding?

I think there is some difficult language all the way around, and often. For example the thread also begins with “need to die”. We really don’t use this language, since God didn’t “need” to do anything.

That said I hear you.


They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus,q
whom God set forth as an expiation,* through faith, by his blood, to prove his righteousness because of the forgiveness of sins “previously committed”

ə tṓnmənt ]

1.making of amends: the making of reparation for a sin or a mistake
2.reconciliation between God and people: in Christian belief, the reconciliation between God and people brought about by the death of Jesus Christ

Chapter 3 and 4

So Paul, he continues…


Solemn Charge.*
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power:a
proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.b
For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity,* will accumulate teachersc
and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.d
But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry.

Here too is a very important sentence to understand. "Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead. "

Original translation of the living, is the “quick” those quickened by the most Holy Spirit. And the “quick” are responsible for themselves at the “judgment” in which its “then” determined if indeed you are “saved”

And the “quick” are responsible for the “dead” at the final “judgement”.

All these means of atonement point to the Sacrifice of Jesus, the offering to the Father of a perfectly obedient life, even to death on a cross. A true means of atonement looks forward to this ultimate atonement, adding to it true repentance. The true means realizes the Mercy of God is predicated on propitiating the insult to God. But the only acceptable pripiation is made by Jesus Himself.


Try the free online course Covenant Love: Introducing the Biblical Worldview from the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. This is Scott Hahn’s organization, very well respected.

Our understanding of Scripture and God’s plan of salvation will always be lacking unless we understand the idea of covenant and realize that Jews were the people of the covenant. Covenant was everything to the Jews. The covenant was what made Jews special, in a family relationship with God.


Hi Kohai

I would add just one more thing. That by sharing in human death, Jesus has transformed death from something to be feared to something that ultimately can be embraced in peace and hope. Death was the final enemy (1 Cor 15:26) but we can now say ‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’

He did not need to die, he chose to die for us to save us from hell

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.