Why did Jesus have to die?

Atonement, Incarnation

Why did Jesus have to die?

I think this question has become a monumental question in our time because we assume it didn’t have to happen.

I think we ask “why” for the same reason we are still shocked by the reality of death.

We live in denial of our finitude. We live as if we are not beings moving toward death. We accept Jesus’ death only because we can assign it a reason, and we struggle to accept death when we cannot explain why. Yet, if Jesus wasn’t crucified he would have still died, and I don’t think we can handle that. I know this thought has messed up my world the past few days.

Our inability to contemplate death and ‘dying well’ causes great difficulty to the task of living well.

Why did Jesus have to die?

He was born. All created living things are beings moving toward death. No matter the ‘how’ of his eventual death, the fact that he became human means he would die. Thus, the incarnation is the unavoidable answer to the question of his death.

The unavoidable reality of death means the greater question is not “why did he die?” but “how did he live?”

…not “why will we die?”
but “how will we live?”

If we are still curious as to “why he died?” it seems like the more precise question is, “why was he crucified?”

He may have given (or laid down) his life, but this does not mean he committed suicide. He was killed, and the way he lived his life has everything to do with why.