Why Did Jesus Die?


If people were presented with the question “why did Jesus die?”, a lot of them would answer “so that we can go to heaven”. While this is true, it fails to cover the entirety of the purpose of Christ’s death on the cross. 

The details surrounding His execution, death, and resurrection all point towards a much bigger picture than making heaven available to us. In this article, we’ll explore why Jesus died, as well as help you understand the role His death plays in our lives today.

Why Did Jesus Come to Earth?

At the time of Jesus’ coming, Israel was under Roman domination which came with oppressive taxes, tight restrictions, and hardship.

To the average Jew then, the Messiah was someone to look forward to because He was supposed to ‘deliver Israel from all oppressors and lead them into a new golden age’. 

They longed for the Messiah the prophets spoke of, but He was very different from who they expected Him to be. 

Unlike their expectations, Jesus didn’t come to lead them to conquer Rome and establish Israel as the world’s ruling power, but to free them from the bondage of sin and point them to His Father’s Kingdom of Heaven.

He came to do His Father’s will of showing people the way to eternal life.

Who Killed Jesus?

To the natural eye, it would look like Jesus was simply betrayed by Judas Iscariot who he loved, and was crucified. But Acts 2:23 tells us that though He was crucified by wicked men, He was actually handed over by God’s permission. His death was all part of God’s grand plan for our redemption.

You would ask, why did God hand over His son to endure such hardships and eventually be killed and why did Jesus Himself agree to die for us? The Bible tells us that Jesus wept before going on to sacrifice Himself. He still did it regardless. Why?

What Was The Purpose Of Jesus’ Death?

  • Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins and freedom from slavery to sin. (Colossians 1:​14)

The work of Jesus on the cross was substitutionary. This means that He took our sins upon Himself and gave us His holiness. He died to take away our sins; past, present, and future. 

When He rose from the grave, it sealed off some amazing benefits for all who believe in Him. That is why we can ask for forgiveness when we sin and be confident that we will receive it. Like an innocent person doing jail term for a criminal, our Messiah paid the cost of our sins and set us free from its bondage.

  • Jesus died to bring us near to God and give us a chance at intimacy with Him.

Once we were far from God because of our sin, now we have been adopted into His family. Now we can call Him “Abba Father” (Romans 8:15) and come boldly before His throne. The veil that separated the Holy of Holies in the Jewish Temple was torn from top to bottom when Jesus died (Matthew 27:51). This was to symbolize the direct access and New covenant we now have with God because of our Savior’s sacrifice.

  • Jesus died to give us the inheritance of eternal life. (John 3:16)

God didn’t want heaven without us, so He brought heaven down in the form of His Son. At His death, we were also given access to God’s Kingdom. Jesus went into hell and took the keys of death and Hades, thereby stripping it of power over us. (Revelation 1:18). And when we believe in Him, we will no longer perish for our sins and offenses, but live forever with God in His Kingdom.

  • Jesus died to help us understand God’s character.

Before Jesus, the Jews knew God as their Lord, Maker, and even Protector but not as their Father. But when Jesus died on the cross, He revealed God to the world as a loving Father who loved His creation so much, that He sent His only Son (and in a sense, Himself) to become a man and go through horrendous death, just so that they may live. 

Even when we didn’t deserve it, and didn’t do anything to earn it, God’s nature of love and mercy was displayed at its climax in the death of Jesus. 

  • Jesus died to show that total obedience and faithfulness to God is possible for us, even unto death.

The Bible in Hebrews 4:15 says,

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

Jesus Christ lived through the betrayal, hurt, grief, and sorrow that we experience today, but He submitted and obeyed God in all things regardless. He set a model for us to follow and His death lets us know that though it may be hard to take up our cross, deny ourselves and die to the world, He did it. And we can too. 

  • Jesus died to give us ‘every spiritual blessing’ (Ephesians 1:3).

Apart from eternal life, Jesus’ journey to the cross also paid for our sicknesses (Isaiah 53:5), our lack, and our shame. We are blessed because of His sacrifice and we freely receive these spiritual blessings when we believe.

How Did Jesus Die?

At that time of the Roman rule over Israel, death by crucifixion was given to the worst of criminals, and this was the death that Jesus endured. Though the general assumption is that Jesus was hung on a cross with one beam of wood put across another, the Greek words ‘stau·rosʹ and ‘xyʹlon’ were used to refer to the cross He was nailed on. These words are more often used to describe a singular stake of wood placed in an upright position.

Medical experts say that after three hours of hanging on the cross, Jesus would have died from a severe form of blood loss-induced shock (hypovolemic shock) and a kind of suffocation associated with crucifixion. 

Jesus died at the age of 33 years.

Where Did Jesus Die?

From Biblical records, we know that Jesus was crucified at a place called Golgotha (John 19:17). In Aramaic, it means the place of the skull. Scripture also records that this location was outside the city gates of Jerusalem. It is also believed that it was a hill because Mark 15:40 mentions that many people observed His crucifixion ‘from a distance.

The place Jesus died is also referred to as Calvary by many Christians. Though this is not the original name for where Jesus was crucified, the word gets its origin from the Latin word ‘calvaria’ which means ‘skull’.

Final Thoughts

To sum it all up, why did Jesus die for us? It was because He loved us and wanted to give the world to us. Like a lamb to the slaughter, our Savior willingly went to the cross so that we could possess so much. What then should be our reaction to this exhibition of love?

2 Corinthians 5:18 tells us that we also have been given a ministry of reconciliation. As our savior reconciled us to God by his death, we too must reconcile others to God by our lives.