The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ died as He hung on a cross in Calvary. His death and resurrection forever changed the world, and because of what He has done all men on earth have the opportunity to be saved and have a relationship with the loving God and Father who reigns above all in heaven.
We all know that Christ died, but why did He have to die that way? I mean, He could have died a simple death, like old age or something like that. But He did not die that way: He died on a cross in Calvary, after being sentenced for a crime He did not commit.
Why did He have to die that way? What did He do that meant He was sentenced to die that way?
The cross as a means to die
History tells us that the cross, the same means of punishment meted out to the Lord Jesus, is the worst kind of punishment that could ever be given to the lowest kind of criminals at the time.
In an article, Don Stewart said that crucifixion is the method by which Romans put the lowest criminals, such as slaves, political rebels, and the two thieves who were beside Christ, to death. It's the worst kind -- in fact, most shameful -- kind of punishment for Romans at the time.
The cross is actually a fulfillment of Isaiah 53:9, which says "and they made His grave with the wicked..." Christ was given the punishment reserved only for criminals.
Also, we have to take note of Deuteronomy 21:21-23, which ends with the words, "for he who is hanged is accursed of God."
The chief priests and the Pharisees incited the people to demand that Christ be crucified. They believe that if anyone is hanged on a tree they have been cursed by God. What they didn't know is that they actually fulfilled Isaiah 53:4, which says:
"Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted."
Now what did He do that would get Him nailed to the cross?
Perhaps by now you'd be asking, "what crime did Jesus commit that He would deserve such a death penalty?" That's a good question.
The Bible tells us that Christ lived a sinless life on earth. Because He was sinless and spotless, He was the only one who could meet all of God's righteous requirements, and satisfy Him.
All of mankind is filthy and unclean before God (see Romans 3:23), and thus none is able to meet God's requirements. All of us are under the curse of the law by whom no man could be saved.
God, however, wanted all men to be saved.
He made His perfect, spotless and sinless Son to be the sacrifice that would take our place on that cross of Calvary.
While the chief priests thought they'd finally be able to do away with Christ; while the Roman governor Pilate thought he'd merely follow the whims of man; while the devil thought he'd finally put Christ out of commission, what they didn't know is that this is exactly what He came to do:
"[God] made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (see 2 Corinthians 5:21)
How did He do it?
"Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted." (Isaiah 53:4)
He carried our sins upon Himself, and had to die to receive the just punishment for all our sins:
"For the wages of sin is death..." (see Romans 6:23)
And what did He accomplish by doing that?
Christ accomplished what only His life, death, and resurrection could do:
Give us life - Romans 6:23
"...but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Redeemed us from the curse of the law - Galatians 3:13
"Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us"
Destroy the works of the devil - 1 John 3:8
"He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil."