10 Biblical Reasons why Jesus Died on the Cross (A Good Friday Devotion)

Martin Luther once referred to the Gospel as a treasure chest. I love that metaphor and I want to use the same illustration for today’s devotional. Like opening a treasure chest and admiring its rubies, pearls and sapphires, I want us to handle carefully these Scriptures of great value. I want us to feel the worth of Christ's sacrifice today that will cause us to worship deeply.

See, in our self-centered culture, we have made the Gospel self-centered. Somehow we believe that the reason God loves us is because we are lovable. When people think this way, even subconsciously, we are disregarding the valuable jewels of Scripture.

God is not glorified when I think He loves me because I’m lovable. Rather, what makes the gospel beautiful is that because I am so unlovable, God still chooses to love me. In that God is glorified! “But God shows his love for us in that while were still sinners, Christ dies for us” Romans 5:8. My aim in sharing this devotional is for you to ponder and reflect why Biblical reasons why Jesus came to die on the cross.

#1. He came to seek and to save sinners
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 

I’m so glad God did not come for the elite or the popular or the wealthy. Christ made it very clear who the gospel is intended for, “those who are lost.”

Several years ago, I was preaching in Cairo, Egypt at the Harvest Conference. I spoke from Luke 15:1-7 where Christ seeks out the one lost sheep. My opening statement in that Muslim dominated land was, “The greatest distinction with Christianity is that in all other religions of the world, man is seeking God. In Christianity, we see God seeking man.”

How beautiful is it that Christ came to seek and save those of us who were lost! I’ll never forget an older man, probably in his early 70’s coming up to me after the service with tears in his eyes. In broken English he said, “All my life I have searched for Christ. Tonight, Christ found me!” Why did Jesus come to die on the cross? So He could seek and save those who are lost. What a Savior!

#2. He came to glorify His father
“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.’”
John 17:1-5 

There is enormous truth packed into this short prayer that Christ prayed before facing the cross. Jesus models to us how we should glorify God in our lives.

First, He teaches us to glorify God before we face difficulties. Notice as Christ prays, He says, “Father, the hour has come.” He knew His work on the earth was finishing and it was now time to face the cross. He looked to glorify God through the darkest hour of His life. Are you and I looking to glorify God, even while going through hard and difficult seasons?

Second, He glorified the Father with the time He had on the earth.
Notice what He says in this prayer, “…having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” Can we say this about our lives? Are we focused on accomplishing what God has put us on the earth for or are so busy, so distracted and so overwhelmed that we are missing what we are really put here to do? Lastly, Christ tells how to obtain eternal life. “That they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” I love that phrase. Why did Jesus have to die? So that you and I could have eternal life through knowing God the Father through His death!

#3. He came to cancel our record of debt
“By canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” Colossians 2:14

Do you realize there is a “record of debt” that “stands against” you? When I ponder the record of debt I have, I think of Romans 5:20, “Now the law came in to increase the trespass…” Remember when Jesus taught that if you look at a woman with lust then it as if you committed adultery in your heart? Christ says that if you hate someone it’s the same as committing murder in your heart? The law adds to our list of sins.

So you may think you’re a good person because you’ve never done anything real bad. But if Christ showed you the sin that is in your heart and the sin you are capable of, you would see just how big your “record of debt” really can be.

But here is the good news, Christ took that record of debt, (which in the Greek refers to a handwritten document like a promissory note. It’s an admission of guilt saying that we are responsible for our sins). Christ took that record of debt and nailed it to the cross! He canceled our debt of sin! Why did Jesus come to die? To not only forgive our sins, but to completely take them away (John 1:29).

#4. He came to give power to the Gospel
“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18

I love the contrast Paul makes. He draws the line in the sand and boldly says the message of the cross is foolishness to those who perishing. However, for those of us who love the cross, we love the sacrifice Christ made, to those of us who are being saved, it is the power of God.

Why did Paul say, “to those who are perishing”? I always find it interesting when I’m watching tv and Hollywood makes fun of “Born Again Christians.” It happens a lot. The phrase born again gets thrown around and stomped in the mud often. But you know those are precious words. Why? Because the Bible teaches in Ephesians 2:1, that we are “dead in the trespasses of sin.” Until we become born again, we don’t have the life of God or eternal life within us.

In the next phrase, Paul says, “…but to those of us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” What does he mean by those of us who are being saved? 1 Peter 1:23 says, Since you have been born again” and 1 Peter 1:3, saying that God has “caused us to be born again to a living hope” we are now a “new creation in Christ” 2 Corinthians 5:17. Jesus said, “Unless a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” John 3:3. The next time you hear a tv show mocking being “born again” you should pause and thank God for allowing you to be born again!

Is it not interesting that God would take the lowliest death of that day to display His power? Does it not echo Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord”? Knowing that God chose the cross, for it was never Plan B…it was plan A from the before the world was created. Read Revelation 13:8, “…Belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” No wonderful Paul was able to exclaim “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” Romans 1:16. Why did Jesus die? Because His death, burial and resurrection is the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:4) and it is the power of the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:18 and Romans 1:16).

#5. He came to heal us from disease and sicknesses
“That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” Matthew 8:16-17

Do you know why sickness is in our world? It came through sin. The calamity of sin was so great, that it brought sickness and death upon mankind. They are that closely related. So when Jesus came to die on the cross, He came not only to conquer sin…He came to conquer sickness. That’s why, as Christians, we can pray and stand against sickness. Just as God can save from sin, He can save from sickness!

Now does that mean Christians won’t struggle against sickness? No! Even Christians have to fight against sickness. Why? Because we still live in a fallen world, we feel the effects of sin and sickness both. But what it does mean is that because Christ not only died for our sins, but for our sickness, we can pray for one another the Bible says that the prayer of faith can heal the sick (James 5:15). If you are suffering in your body some type of illness, ponder deeply Isaiah 53:4, Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”

#6. He came to destroy the works of the devil and the power of death
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” Hebrews 2:14

The author of Hebrews confirms why Jesus came to die on the cross. Listen to his godly logic…since humanity is flesh and blood, Jesus “likewise partook of the same things.” Meaning, He became flesh and blood through the Virgin Birth. Remember John 1:14, And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The result of Christ being willing to be made flesh is that now He could die a death that had the power to destroy Satan, the one who had the power of death, and as a result, freeing us who were in slavery to Satan and had a fear of death.
Now there is no need for me and you to fear death. Isn’t that an audacious statement? In my flesh, I fear death. But in my spirit and through faith, there is no need to fear. Why? Because Satan no longer has the “power of death.” Christ stripped him and robbed him of that power (Colossians 2:15).
Now what happens to a Christian once he dies? We belong to the Lord! Romans 14:8, “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” That means whether we are on this side of eternity or on the other side of eternity, we are the Lord’s!

#7. He came to take on our sin and to make us righteous
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Just ponder the first phrase of this verse, “For our sake.” Isn’t that beautiful? It’s beautiful because it is personal. I’m so glad God isn’t distant. He is a personal Savior. For our sake, Christ allowed Himself to become sin. For what purpose? So that through Christ, you and I might become the righteousness of God.

Remember the worst sins of your life? You know those things that no one else knows except you and God? Yet God still chose to make you righteous! See why these Scriptures are as treasure?

What does it mean to be righteous? It means to be a “right standing” before God. Remember when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden and what they did? They hid from God. Sin causes us to hide. Righteousness means we can stand upright before a just and holy God. You and I could have never accomplished this on our own. It is only through the work of Christ on the cross. So why did Jesus come to die? To make us the righteousness of God!

#8. He came to bring us peace
“But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

So many are not at peace with God, as a result they are not at peace with themselves and for many, they are not at peace with others in their lives. One of the wonderful results of Christ’s death is that it brought us peace with God.

#9. He came to reconcile us to God – Ephesians 2:16
“And might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” Ephesians 2:16 

Christ came to die on the cross because of the hostility between humanity and God. When Adam ate the fruit in the garden that God forbade, mankind rebelled against God in a way that affected all of mankind. Romans 5:12 explains it, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” Sin has always brought death and always will. This is the great calamity of sin. But God had a plan!

Christ came to reconcile man to God through the cross. Man still rebels against God. Man still refuses the terms of grace and the mercy God offers. It’s the same pride, same rebellion, same sin that has plagued man for all of our history. Yet Christ came to kill the hostility between God and man and to reconcile us to God.

#10. He came to absorb the wrath of God
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

The Bible tell us how God has demonstrated His love toward us. Again confirming His fierce love in 1 John 4:10 He says, “In this is love.” In what? Not that we would choose to love God. We don’t have the ability. Sin ruined that in us. We are fallen. We are broken. We are unable. We who do love God, only love Him because He first loved us. Do you see how God is glorified in this? I couldn’t choose to love God. He had to love me first and how did He show His love? He sent His Son! No wonder Paul says, “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift” 2 Corinthians 9:15.

Then the Bible gives us a remarkable word…Propitiation. This word has an incredible meaning. It means that Christ became our substitute to absorb the wrath of God. See God is angry with sin. It’s against His very nature. One commentator reminds us that if God kicked out 1/3 of the Heavenly angels for sinning, what makes us think He will look over our sin?

Sin is a serious offense to God. John Piper has wonderfully said, “Sin is not small because it is not against a small Sovereign.” If God is just, then He must punish sin. Now here is the beauty of why Christ came to die on the cross…

Christ became the substitute for God’s wrath. God did not waive His wrath…He did not ignore it or pass over it. Christ took the very wrath of God on the cross and like a sponge, absorbed the wrath meant for me and you. Let that thought that Christ took the anger of God over sin on our behalf wash over your heart.

So for those of you who fear that God is angry with you…He isn’t! For those who can’t past your past and you dread the day you will stand before God and you worry that one day your past sins will catch up to you…remember, Christ absorbed the wrath of God for you! He became your propitiation…your substitute!