The death of Jesus, the Christ, on the cross was deliberate, planned, and executed by the Son of God Himself.
I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father (John 10:14-18).
The Son of God is in total command at his arrest. The witness in the Gospel of John did not remember about Jesus having second thoughts or about having been asleep when Jesus wrestled with himself (Matthew 26:36-56; Mark 14:32-49; Luke 22:39-54). It was Jesus who intimidated his captives and he had to come forward and offer himself to be apprehended. Then they were all arrested but Jesus demanded that he alone be taken, and his disciples were released.
Now Judas who betrayed Jesus, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, procuring a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to befall him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When he said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he; so, if you seek me, let thes men go.” This was to fulfil the word which he had spoken, “Of those whom thou gavest me I lost not one.” Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, “Put your word into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?” (John 18:2-11).
Jesus was taken to Annas, head of Sadducees and father-in-law to Caiaphas, the high priest, who predicted that one man had to die for the people. Jesus did not crumble, but He spoke openly. Now, in the Synoptic Gospels Jesus was silent most of the time. He let them decide who they thought who He was (Matthew 26:63-65) and so did Luke (Luke 22:70). In Mark 14:61-62, Jesus admitted to be the Son of man only. In John, Jesus is presented to Pilate as the Son of God, and that drove fear into the heart of Pilate. Jesus, in the public eye, was a high profile godly man. To execute such a person was even against the Roman law. To ease Pilate’s conscience, the Jewish leaders turned Jesus into a rival of Caesar. During all this time of haggling, Jesus was in charge of orders from His Father. Everything was done according to the Scripture of God’s intended Words given to Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms. In other words, the Holy Spirit supervised the arrest, the trial, and the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.
The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered him,”I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together; I have said nothing secretly. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me, what I said to them; they know what I said.” When he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying,”Is that how you answer the hight priest?” Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest (John 18:19-24).
Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.” Pilate said to him, “So you’re a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” (John 18:33-38).
The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God.” But Jesus gave no answer. Pilate therefore said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have the power to release you, and power to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin” (John 19:7-11).
Why Did Christ Have To Die And Leave?
There was a long standing belief that Christ would come and stay with Israel forever. Christ would be similar to Moses and David. Israel would regain the glory in the world. When Jesus talked about leaving, the Jews asked that question (John 12:16-36) and so did the disciples to their Risen Lord (Acts 1:6). Jesus gave a partial answer in a public prayer that would take years to understand. The human mind is slow to perceive and to recall words spoken in the past, and Jesus’s disciples were very slow (Luke 24:25). It would take years for Jesus’ words to appear in writing and a man like Paul to explain the meaning of the death of Christ.
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify thy name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “Im have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing by heard it and said that it thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him (Jesus).” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler (Satan) of this world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” Jesus said this to show by what death he was to die. The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?” Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, lest the darkness overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light” (John 12:27-36).
Jesus’s language and words puzzled and stunned the crowd and the disciple. Yet, this short verbal encounter with the crowd caused Jesus to lay bare the reason for His death. The first and most important thing death does is free the spirit from a body that cannot return to God. Christ’s Spirit could not return to His Father until men set Him free from His earthly housing. But being the Son of man and the Son of God, His death became an atonement sacrifice for mankind. That became the way Paul perceived the death of Jesus the Christ.”For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (I Corinthians 15:22).
While we were yet helpless, at the right time Christn died for the ungodly. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man—though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus CHrist, through whom we have now received our reconciliation (Romans 5:6-11).
The second thing death did and does is cut the power and dominion of Satan in the world. The same Satan who offered all the kingdoms and riches of the world to Jesus (Matthew 4:8-9; Luke 4:5-6), can no longer hold a single soul that accepts Christ as Lord and Savior. Satan is an evil spirit and only man can close the door and tell him to leave (James 4:7). Down the lane of time, the disciple John remembered.
So the Jews gathered around Jesus and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The work that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John 10:24-30).
A third important thing death did was remove barriers, obstacles, walls, and all things that cultures, customs, creeds, traditions, racism, nationalism, and anything that hinders access to God. Jesus will draw all men when He is raised up and not just Jews, even Christians, and Muslims, but everyone and anyone who calls on the name of Jesus shall be and will be saved. Jesus gave His personal opinion that He was the “DOOR” we must pass. He is our “Access” code and the “Way” to our permanent place in heaven.
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers;but the sheep did not heed them. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep” (John 10:7-11).
“Through Him (Jesus) we have obtained access to his grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint must, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).
“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; ifg it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where you are going;how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know Him and have seen Him” (John 14:1-7).
Jesus mentioned a fourth thing that is fundamentally necessary to face death, judgment and the hereafter. Jesus had come into the world for the very purpose to be a light that prepared man to face the other side. It was at the end of his earthly life that he said, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light.” Jesus was the light that God sent into the world to show man what he must believe and do to qualify for re-entrance into God’s realm, that man has abandoned by his fall (John 1:9-13). It was not just Adam who made a bad choice; for so did Cain and everyone since, including us, sin and fall (Romans 5:12). God’s Son chose to live as a human being to introduce the grace of God that became the entrance into eternal life. Jesus in person, incorporated grace so He could earn forgiveness for man. His sacrifice atoned for acknowledged sins (John 9:5; I Peter 3:18). John the Baptist, the messenger or angel God sent to introduce His Son, spoke these words while being promoted by the Holy Spirit.
And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. (John bore witness to him, and cried, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, for he was before me.’”) And from his fulness have we all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known (John 1:14-18).
And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in me, believes not in me but in Him who sent me. And he who sees me sees Him who sent me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak. And I know that His commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has bidden me” (John 12:44-50).