Chapter 5 gives us an in-depth explanation of how and why Jesus’ death on the Cross is a triumph. There are a few important things to ‘take away’ from this chapter. First, we have Jesus as sacrifice. We understand Passover as a meal with historical significance for God’s people, who were spared tragedy by marking their doors with the blood of the sacrificial lamb. At the Last Supper, Jesus introduces what will be the New Covenant with God, where he will become the sacrificial lamb, and HIS blood will save those who believe and follow. Second, If we have difficulty understanding why Jesus had to die we must remember that it was his perfect divinity that enabled him to be the perfect sacrifice, perfectly atoning for man’s disobedience and perfectly redeeming mankind. There is no way around that. The crucifixion had to happen. And it had to happen to Jesus because only he was both divine and human and so could perfectly represent humanity making sacrifice in obedience to God.
Lastly, Christianity didn’t die out when Jesus was crucified, but rather flourished because something unique had happened. The resurrection of Christ, attested to by countless witnesses, inspired Christians both then and now. That’s what makes the Cross triumphant. Christ had to die and had to rise. Through his death and resurrection Jesus conquered both sin and death and opened for us the gates of heaven, granting to us all the opportunity to achieve eternal beatitude. The real challenge comes in remembering that it is an opportunity and not a ‘given’, and practicing our faith accordingly.
Why couldn’t God just forgive sinners? Why was Jesus’ death necessary?
Jesus tells us that we are to take up our cross and follow him. What does this mean for you? What is your “Way of the Cross”?
How do you unite challenges and hardships with the sufferings of Christ on the Cross?
Why did Jesus need to suffer and die for our salvation?
What are common obstacles to belief in Christ’s resurrection? How do I know that Jesus rose from the dead? Why do I accept that truth?