Christ on the Cross – Why did He have to die?
Psalm 22 is a jewel among the Psalms and is particularly exceptional and extraordinary. It contains the profound, awe-inspiring, and weighty sufferings of our Saviour.
In 1701 Alexander Wedderburn said this about Psalm 22: “It takes in more than all the philosophers in the world could draw out of it.”
Psalm 22:1 (KJB) “To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?”
The title in the 22nd Psalm Aijeleth Shar means the morning hart. The entire Psalm refers to Jesus Christ, and it contains much which cannot be applied to any other such as the parting of His garments, and the casting of lots for His clothing.
In this Psalm, Jesus Christ is described as the meek and beautiful hart. A hind was a deer and deer are often seen early in the morning. The thought likely is of the graceful beauty of our Lord, especially as He suffered for us. Herod began hunting Jesus as soon as he appeared. Everyone eventually joined Herod in the pursuit including His people the Jews. After Jesus gave His first sermon, the hunters tried to take Him, but as the hart, He was too quick for them.
Luke 4:28-31 (KJB) “And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. 30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way, 31 And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.”
Charles Spurgeon said this, “The church had long seen the Messiah – Song of Solomon 2:8-9 (KJB) The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. 9 My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice.”
Psalm 22:1 (KJB) To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
Matthew 27:46 (KJB) “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
Here we see the great distress of the Saviour who was following the plan that His father had asked Him to complete. I don’t believe Jesus cried out with the idea that God had forsaken Him. We must always remember that His suffering and death on the cross was for us. Contrast this statement with the following verse in John.
John 16:32 (KJB) “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.”
Jesus knew that even though His sacrifice was going to be excruciating and horrible, that His Father would be there with Him. The death of Jesus Christ was necessary so that our sins could be forgiven. Jesus died as the sacrificial Lamb.
Genesis 22:8 (KJB) “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.”
Our Lord hung on the cross between heaven and earth; He was distressed. Men had rejected him.
John 1:11 (KJB) “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”
And, as the Lord had laid upon Him the iniquity of us all, He became sin for us who knew no sin.
Isaiah 53:6 (KJB) “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
God the Father, hence, could no longer bear to look upon His holy Son. It likely was at noon of that fateful day on Calvary that God the Father imputed the sin of the ages to His Son and as He became sin for us.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (KJB) “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Even the sun in the heavens refused to shine from the sixth hour to the ninth that day.
Matthew 27:45 (KJB) “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.”
Jesus was alone in the universe. Though he suffered the pains of the cross physically, the real suffering was spiritual. He had become sin who knew no sin. His holy heavenly Father had turned from Him. He hung there alone, rejected of men and forsaken by God.
Psalm 22:2 (KJB) “O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.”
As Jesus hung upon the cross that momentous day, He cried out to God in heaven, but God did not answer Him. The night prior, He had poured out His holy heart in the Garden of Gethsemane. In that hour of His great crisis, our Lord could only look to heaven. In those dark hours that ominous afternoon, God would not hear or answer. Jesus had become sin for us, and God will have no fellowship with sin. Jesus Christ for this brief time was for the first time not in the presence of His Father. Jesus, the beloved Son, was longing for the love of His Father.
But we should see such hope in these words, My God, My God. When in te most profound despair and longing for the love of the Father Jesus says, My God. Doesn’t God promise to always be with us?
Isaiah 41:10 (KJB) “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
We also need to place into this context above all the purpose behind the suffering of the Saviour. Let’s see what God’s word has to say about the plight of Jesus Christ.
The principal of the innocent dying for the guilty was established in the garden of Eden when God gave them animal skins to cover them.
Genesis 3:21 (KJB) “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”
Blood had to be shed for the forgiveness of sins. Hebrews 9:22 (KJB) “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
Jesus Christ had to suffer because He was the Lamb of God and the plan of God was for His sacrificial death to take away the sins of men. John 1:29 (KJB) “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
Jesus had to suffer because of us. 1 Peter 1:19-21 (KJB) “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”
Jesus died because of His great love for us. John 3:16-17 (KJB) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
Jesus said, “My God, My God….. Why! He died because He loved us so much that He was willing to beat, spit upon, whipped, and hung on that awful cross. Would you be willing to suffer as Jesus did for your faith? Would you be willing to die for others? Few would but because of His great love for us Jesus did.
What have we done for Jesus? Are you saved? Have you accepted the gift of salvation? Why not? What is stopping you? Jesus, in His great distress, gave His life for us….Back to the Top
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. — 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 KJV