Born to Die
It should be remembered that Jesus came to earth to die. He lived to die. Our sin had broken connection with God. The only way our relationship with God could be restored was through a perfect sacrifice. The only suitable sacrifice was God’s only son. So, from our perspective, Jesus had to die. Philippians 2:5-8 points out how Jesus died and yet did so much more:
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Jesus only needed to die. Yet, he chose to humble Himself. He died as a common criminal. He chose the cross. Jesus did more than expected. Romans 5:8 points out that Jesus died for us while we were sinners: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” It makes more sense to die for a family member or a dear friend than to die for those who are your enemies. Jesus truly died for His enemies. Jesus died for sinners. He didn’t have to, but He chose to. It wouldn’t surprise us to have a mother die for her child. Children even speak of being willing to die for the dear family pet. Men have always been known to fight for their families. But Jesus did more. Jesus died for us.
Not only did Jesus die for sinners, but He chose the humblest of means. He chose the cross. It should be noted that the cross was the fulfillment of prophecy. Psalm 22 describes Jesus’ death in graphic detail one thousand years before it was to take place. Amazingly, the Messiah’s crucifixion was described years before anyone experienced or even knew of this means of execution. Jesus could have written prophecy to have Himself die a heroic death. Yet, he chose the cross. Instead of people cheering, Jesus heard them mocking and felt their spit and fists. Men dream of dying the heroic death. In war films, the hero dives on the live grenade or jumps in front of a speeding bullet. Jesus chose the cross.
Movies often display examples of heroic sacrificial deaths:
In John Q, Denzel Washington plays the part of a father who is willing to lay down his life for his son.
In Armaggedon, Bruce Willis allows himself to get nuked to destroy the asteroid hurtling toward earth. All praise him as he goes back to “press the button.”
In The Bodyguard, Kevin Costner dives in front of Whitney Houston to take a bullet. He doesn’t die, but his sacrificial move is classified as purely heroic.
Jesus didn’t want the glory. Jesus chose the cross. Jesus chose an extraordinary humble death. Interestingly, the events of His life piece together an extraordinary humble life – Selfie(less).
He died for us. He didn’t ask us to die for Him. He asked us to live for Him.
Randy “Doc” Johnson