Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Why Christ Endured the Cross

Gordon Robertson - President and CEO, CBN

The week before He died, Jesus made His final trip to Jerusalem, following a plan that was prophesied centuries before His birth. He came to celebrate Passover, a holiday commemorating the Jews’ deliverance from slavery. 

Five days before the feast, lambs were brought to Jerusalem to be chosen for sacrifice. That same day, Jesus entered the city on a donkey.

The prophet Zechariah had announced his arrival 500 years earlier: 

“Behold, your King is coming to you; … lowly and riding on a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9)

People shouted Hosanna, quoting King David’s words in Psalm 118:25-26 (niv): 

Lord, save us! … Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 

They expected a coronation; instead, they would witness redemption.

As Jews went to worship in the Temple, they stopped to wash in the pool of Siloam. There they saw firsthand the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: 

"He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened” (Isaiah 35:4-5)

Jesus healed a blind man by putting mud on his eyes and then sending him to that pool to wash. 

When Jesus drove the moneychangers from the Temple, He quoted two prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah: 

“Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves’” (Mark 11:17)

Jesus Himself predicted the destruction of the Temple, declaring, 

“Not one stone shall be left upon another” (Mark 13:2)

The chief priests saw this as a threat. From then on they planned to kill Him—and got help from one of His disciples.

As the disciples gathered to celebrate the Seder, Jesus identified His betrayer by handing Judas a piece of bread. David prophesied this signal in Psalm 41:9: 

Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.

While Judas carried out his betrayal, the other disciples finished the Passover meal. They sang a hymn called “The Great Praise,” or Hallel in Hebrew. Written by David a thousand years earlier, the words took on new meaning as Jesus headed closer to the cross: 

Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar (Psalm 118:27)

This is the psalm Jesus sang after lifting up the cup of the new covenant in His blood: 

I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord (Psalm 116:13)

The Hallel continues: 

I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:17, 24)

Bible scholars have said that even if we didn’t have Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we would still have the gospel in Isaiah, written five centuries before Christ:

He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. … He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. … The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. … For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken (Isaiah 53:3-8)

Isaiah’s prophecy clearly reveals that Christ’s suffering was part of God’s great plan. And why was Jesus willing to endure all of this? Isaiah goes on to say in verses 10-11: 

When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see Hisseed. … He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied

When Jesus was on the cross making an offering for sin, He saw His seed—His descendants. That means He saw you. He saw all of us who believe in Him. 

Hebrews 12:2 says,

Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God

As Jesus went through His passion, He looked beyond it to see us with Him in heaven. God bless you.

© Copyright Gordon Robertson.

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