Why Christ Died
TEXT: Mark 15:22-39
TOPIC: Why Christ Died
Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point, Alabama
April 1, 2007
(Read Mark 15:22-39)
Today’s message asks the why question. Why did Christ die?
Why did they kill the one man who has ever lived that did not deserve to die? Why?
Why is the question a child asks in innocent simplicity. A three-year-old looks at a picture of the crucifixion and worries about why anyone would want to put Jesus on a cross.
Why is the question the disciples asked in frustration and despair. “We’ve been with him. He did no wrong. Why crucify Him?
Why is the question Pilate asked out of genuine perplexity. “I have interrogated him and I find no fault in him. Why do you want me to crucify Him—what evil has He done?
Why is the question many bystanders asked that day. Their lives had been touched by his healing ministry. They had watched the triumphal entry and heard the shouts of “Hosanna!” Why now these turn of events? He, who had preached peace, healed the hurting and served the suffering—why crucify Him?
Those of you who know your Bible should have an answer for the innocent three-year-old, for the frustrated disciples, for perplexed Pilate, and for the bewildered bystanders who stood by the roadside that fateful day.
Jesus Christ died according to the Scriptures because of our sins, for our sins, in order to secure for us eternal salvation.
I. CHRIST DIED IN FULFILLMENT OF THE SCRIPTURES, Mark 15:28
So the Scripture was fulfilled
EXP. In the Gospel accounts alone which speak directly of the crucifixion of Christ, there are no less than 22 references to the words of the prophets and inspired writers of the O.T.
When Jesus was nailed to the cross in the midst of two murderous thieves, it was in accordance Isaiah 53:9, 12.
At the foot of the cross, the Roman soldiers gambled for the ragged clothing which was Jesus’ sole possession. All of this in fulfillment of David’s wonderful Psalm 22.
When Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He did so to fulfill this very same Psalm.
Having heard this cry, one ran and filled a sponge of vinegar and gave it to our Lord to drink, unaware that he was consummating the word of God written a thousand years before this dark day.
It is certainly true then that in the mind and heart of God, Christ died before the foundation of the world.
APP. God’s word is true. In Mark 5:18, the Lord Jesus declared the indestructibility of the word of God when He said not one jot or one tittle will pass from the law.
One of the most beloved of all Bible verses speaks of the trustworthiness of the Scriptures when it says: The grass withers, and the flower fades, but the word of our God shall stand forever,” (Isaiah 40:8).
It was planned. It was pre-determined. It was imperative that Jesus go to Calvary.
ILL. But why? Why did Christ die?
Why was it that before there was a world there was a way?
Why was it that before there was a man there was a plan?
Why was it that before there was a sinner there was a Savior?
II. CHRIST DIED FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF OUR SINS, Mark 15:28
“And He was numbered with the transgressors.”
EXP. Jesus died for the sins of the world. Sin is that mysterious agent that separates Holy God from sinful man. Therefore it was necessary that a bridge be built to ford this gap. That bridge was the cross of Christ.
The Bible says all have sinned and in another place it says, there is none righteous no not one. And in Isaiah it says, all we like sheep have went astray; we have turned everyone to his own way. The rest of that verse says and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. And the previous verse says, He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.
1 John 2:2, He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world.
Jesus had to die on the cross and shed His blood for the atonement of our sins. Hebrews 9:22 teaches us that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. Again in Hebrews 2:9, He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
1 Peter 2:24, who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree,
John 1:29, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
2 Corinthians 5:21, For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
ILL. I shall not soon forget the words that fell from the pen of W.A. Criswell as he spoke of the death of Christ. He wrote, “What is the death of Christ? Is it a historical tragedy like that of Socrates who drank the deadly hemlock or Julius Caesar who was murdered at the feet of the statue of Pompey, or Abraham Lincoln who was assassinated in Ford’s Theater? What is the death of Christ?
Is it a defeat and failure? So wrote Albert Schweitzer in his far-famed theological book entitled, The Quest for the Historical Jesus. The thesis of that book is that Jesus expected the kingdom of heaven to descend apocalyptically from God. When it did not come down, Jesus died, according to Schweitzer, in frustration, in disillusionment, in defeat and in despair. Is this correct?
No! The death of Christ is the atonement for our sins, an atonement toward which all time and eternity have moved. It is the redemption wrought out of the hand of God through the ages. Here is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. This is the blood of the New Covenant shed for the remission of sin. This is the answer to Job’s agonizing cry, I have sinned, what shall I do?
APP. What shall you do? Christ has died for you, for the forgiveness of your sins. What shall you do? Will you accept his gracious gift as did the repentant thief on the cross, or will you reject his loving offer as the other thief apparently did. Will you open your heart to Him today and receive Him as your Lord and Savior? Or will you turn away again today and pretend you never heard this urgent appeal?
T/S – There is yet one final reason why Christ died.
III. CHRIST DIED FOR OUR FULL SALVATION,
And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
EXP. The tearing of the veil of the Temple had a highly symbolic meaning. The veil of the Temple was beautiful linen cloth of blue, purple, and scarlet. Its purpose was to serve as a partition between the Temple Court, where men dwelt, and the Holy of Holies, where God dwelt. No man was allowed to enter beyond the veil of the Temple except for the High Priest who once a year went into the presence of God to offer sacrifice for the sins of the people.
When at the death of Christ, the veil of the Temple was torn by an unseen hand; it signified instant access to God to all who come to Him by faith.
The writer of Hebrews explains it best, 19Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, Hebrews 10:19-22a.
APP. Thus, in a very real sense, Jesus had to be on the cross. He could have come down and pleased men but he had to stay there in order to please God. He could have come down and saved Himself, but He chose to stay in order to save others. He could have come down and become a national hero, but He stayed there and became our Savior.
Jesus used the cross to bear for us that which we should have borne for ourselves and to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. He opened the Holy of Holies and then offered to take us there. If sins like ours put Him there, concern for our salvation kept him there!
ILL. Why then did Jesus die? He died for our full salvation. If there had been any other way by which we could obtain full salvation then Jesus would not have had to die. But He did die. Our sins had condemned us to a penalty of death. There is no way out. We are about to be placed in the electric chair when Jesus steps up and says, “Loose him and set him free.”
It was John Calvin, that great emancipator of faith, who in the mid-sixteenth Century developed the judicial metaphor of atonement. We as the condemned stand before the judge who has the power to sentence us to death or to set us free. We have been found guilty and the law says we must die. Yet, when the judge speaks, he speaks of not of justice, but of grace. He says, “You’re guilty, but I rule that you are to be set free.” “Yet someone must pay for the crime you have committed. Someone must be punished. Someone must die.” Then the judge shocks the court when he says, “I choose to pay that price for you.”
That’s exactly what Jesus did for us. He died according to the Scriptures, for the forgiveness of our sins and for our full salvation.