Monday, 18 July 2011

Why the way it happened?

There a niggling question that has been in the back of my mind for a few weeks.

Not a big one, at least not to start with, but one that highlights another situation where what I've always been taught (and - I'll admit - accepted,without even a murmur of questioning) and what the bible seems to be teaching in a more complete sense glide past each other like Hogwarts staircases, reaching different landings and taking you off in different directions.

My question is this:

If, as I was always told, Jesus' primary reason for living was to die, and then be raised from the dead, why did he have to die the way he did? On a cross, violently, in his prime, at 33 years of age?

Could he not have simply lived until he was old, and then died, and then been raised?

If the aim of his life was simply to overturn the sin that Adam and Eve brought into the world, wouldn't that have done the job? Wouldn't that have demonstrated the final victory of God?

Obviously not... because when Jesus asked God if there was another way, the answer was pretty conclusively 'no'. 

So Jesus did have to die the way that he did. Why?

I think there's a clue in the question of obedience... Philippians tells us, for example, that "He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross"

NT Wright even goes as far as to suggest that it was Christ's obedience, not just his death, that was crucial - his actually doing what Israel was supposed to have done - obeying God.

I've not finished unpacking this by any means, but if that's true - there's quite a difference between the Jesus I was taught about, for whom life was basically just a precursor to death, and a Jesus for whom life was also a key part of his mission.

... and what that means for me in how I live before I die.


  1. "If, as I was always told, Jesus' primary reason for living was to die, and then be raised from the dead, why did he have to die the way he did? On a cross, violently, in his prime, at 33 years of age?"

    An interesting topic. I do endorse your point on obedience, a key concept throughout the bible. My musings are as follows:

    I suppose a naive answer would be that Jesus died this way because that is how it was prophecied in the OT. But then, you could just ask, well why was it prophecied that way?!

    I've heard it suggested that Jesus couldn't die of old age because he died to get rid of old age too. However this doesn't stack up because presumably he died to get rid of murder as well...

    My true musing would be around the concept of universal legality.

    Satan incited Jesus' murder. In Jesus being murdered, rather than just dying of old age, Satan sealed his own fate. Satan broke universal law by murdering an innocent man, and thus Hell could not hold Jesus because it was holding him under illegal process.

    And so not only did Jesus dying in this way atone for the world and everyone in it, past, present and future, it also passed sentence on Satan. Two or more birds, it would seem, with one very heavy, tomb stone.

  2. wow! good question Mike... I am going to chew on that one for a while....

  3. A postscript kind of thought that I had was this:

    Was this really the only way? I would have thought the omnipotent, almighty Yahweh would have some more game plans.

    But then He didn't need them.

    And He knew He wouldn't need them.

    Because there never was a plan A and a plan B.

    There was only ever a plan A, split into a game of two halves.

    With the first superhuman taking centrestage.

    As a prototype for those that would follow.


    Er... I think my mind's just been blownnnnnnnnnnnn

  4. Liking your more recent blogs a lot. Not that I didn't like the others of course.

    Also liking Pop's thinking poured out on the screen.

  5. Thanks all... I have some more immediate thoughts on this that I'm going to post in a bit... don't go anywhere :)

  6. still chewing..... its been coming in and out of my present thinking since I read it.... thanks Mike...