Jesus' suffering and death necessary for our salvation


Taking the twelve, He said, “Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished, for He will be handed over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. They will scourge Him and put Him to death, and on the third day He will rise again.” They understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend what was spoken. Luke 18:31-34

If Jesus had not died for our sins and risen again, you and I could not be saved. It is as the Apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth (1 Cor. 15:17-19): “If Christ is not raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. Then they also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”

Though Jesus told His disciples this, they did not understand. In fact, even after Jesus had died on the cross and risen again, they failed to understand; so, “He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms concerning Me.’ Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and accordingly it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem’” (Luke 24:44-47).

And many remain blind to this truth today, as well. They imagine that the cross was unnecessary and think that they can merit their own salvation by following the examples left for us by Jesus. For them, it really doesn’t matter if Jesus died on the cross and rose again bodily on the third day — His death was only an unfortunate end of Jesus’ life. They believe Christ lives on if we carry His love and concern for the poor and downtrodden into our age by following His example of meeting the physical needs of the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the blind.

Though Christ had perfect love for His neighbor and indeed met the physical needs of those who came to Him, that’s not the most important reason for His coming. He came into this world to save sinners (cf. 1 Tim. 1:15); and, to save sinners, it was necessary for Him to be mocked, scourged, beaten, crucified, and buried, and then to rise again from the dead on the third day. This is what the prophets had said He would do, and this is what was necessary to redeem us from our sin and the death we so deserve.

And this is what the Scriptures promised. He was the Seed of the woman who crushed the head of the serpent but was bruised in His heel (Gen. 3:15). He is the promised Son of David who would redeem Israel from all his iniquities (Ps. 130:7-8). He is the Lord God Himself in human flesh and blood that He might take our place under the law and fulfill it perfectly for us and then suffer and die upon the cross to bear our iniquities (Isa. 53; Ps. 22).

“His visage was so marred, more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men” (Isa. 52:14). “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way, but the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:5-6). Jesus is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). “In Him we have redemption through His blood and the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; He has put him to grief. If he made himself as an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days, and the good pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the anguish of his soul and be satisfied. By his knowledge My righteous servant shall justify the many, for he shall bear their iniquities” (Isa. 53:10-11).

It was necessary for the promised Messiah, the Christ, to suffer and die for the sins of the world and to rise again on the third day; and it is necessary “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations” that we might place our faith in Him and be saved!

We thank You, O Christ, for going to the cross, bearing our sins, and redeeming us to God. Open our eyes to see and believe that we may take comfort in You and the redemption You have provided for us with Your shed blood. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

Jesus, I will ponder now

1 Jesus, I will ponder now
On Your holy passion;
With Your Spirit me endow
For such meditation.
Grant that I in love and faith
May the image cherish
Of Your suff’ring, pain, and death
That I may not perish.

2 Make me see Your great distress,
Anguish, and affliction,
Bonds and stripes and wretchedness
And Your crucifixion;
Make me see how scourge and rod,
Spear and nails did wound You,
How for them You died, O God,
Who with thorns had crowned You.

3 Yet, O Lord, not thus alone
Make me see Your passion,
But its cause to me make known
And its termination.
Ah! I also and my sin
Wrought Your deep affliction;
This indeed the cause has been
Of Your crucifixion.

4 Grant that I Your passion view
With repentant grieving.
Let me not bring shame to You
By unholy living.
How could I refuse to shun
Ev’ry sinful pleasure
Since for me God’s only Son
Suffered without measure?

5 If my sins give me alarm
And my conscience grieve me,
Let Your cross my fear disarm;
Peace of conscience give me.
Help me see forgiveness won
By Your holy passion.
If for me He slays His Son,
God must have compassion!

6 Graciously my faith renew;
Help me bear my crosses,
Learning humbleness from You,
Peace mid pain and losses.
May I give You love for love!
Hear me, O my Savior,
That I may in heav’n above
Sing Your praise forever.

Sigismund von Birken, 1626–81; tr. August Crull, 1845–1923, alt. Public domain
JESU KREUZ, LEIDEN UND PEIN 76 76 D Is. 53:3–6 ; John 3:16 ; Rom. 12:1–2 ; 1 John 4:19
Concordia Publishing House. Lutheran Service Book: Text Edition (Kindle Locations 17203-17212). Kindle Edition.

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