Recently I was searching for something online and a link to a YouTube video came up as one of the search results. I watched just a few seconds of the video, only to see a so-called comedian ridiculing the cross and Salvation in general. As I was moving to click the stop button, he made a comment that stuck with me. “Why did He die on a cross? I didn’t need Him to die on a cross.”
As we drew nearer to the Easter season, that question floated around in my mind for several days. Why did Jesus die on the cross? There were certainly a lot of other options for His death. Or did He even have to die? Jesus, Himself stated that He had the authority to forgive sins while He walked on the earth as a human being. So, why the cross? Why was there a cross for Jesus to die on?
After much prayer and meditation on His Word, I believe God has shown me five reasons for the cross. These five are certainly not the only five reasons, but I do believe they are significant in understanding the reason for the cross.
Reason #1: Proof
Old Testament scriptures begin to describe the death that the Messiah must suffer years before He ever walked the face of the earth. Psalm 22 describes the death on the cross in such detail, and yet it was written 1,000 years before Christ was born.
Isaiah 50 and 53 describe the death of the Messiah and the suffering that He must endure. Even Exodus gives us a picture of the death of the Messiah through the Passover Lamb. John the Baptist tells us that Jesus was the Lamb who would take away the sins of the world. That Passover Lamb was slaughtered and the blood spattered on the wooden doorposts, much like Jesus’ blood was spattered on the wooden cross.
The greatest explanation was in Numbers 21. The Israelite people once again angered God with their sins. In God’s judgment, poisonous snakes, or serpents, came into the camp and began biting the people. Through this many died. Moses called out to God and was directed to make a brass serpent, place it upon a pole and raise it up in the camp. Anyone who would look upon the serpent on the pole would be made well.
In John 3:14, Jesus explained that He would be like that serpent on a pole. Jesus, like the brass serpent, would be raised up on a pole, or a cross, for all to see. Anyone who would look upon Him, believe in Him, and put their trust in Him would be saved.
Thousands of years before crucifixion became known to the Jews, God predicted that the Messiah would suffer and die in that manner. Before anyone would ever have any thoughts of this horrible death, God had already selected this as the method by which His Son would pay for the penalty of sin.
Much of Bible prophecy is only fully understood after it comes to pass, however, after the prophetic word comes to pass, you have a full understanding.
One of the reasons God chose a cross was as proof that this was His doing. When this event comes to pass, you will be able to look back and see that it was God’s plan. It didn’t just happen by chance, but it is prophecy fulfilled–proof that God is able to do what He says, even when it is stated thousands of years in advance.
Stay tuned for the second reason for the Cross.