The Necessity of Christ’s Death

As His sweat became like great drops of blood, Jesus prayed earnestly, “Father, if it is your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42-44). Unexplained in the gospel accounts, Hebrews 9:16-28 provides four reasons why Jesus’ request of His father was denied.

Jesus’ death was necessary for the new testament to go into effect.For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives” (vv. 16-17). A person’s will does not go into effect until the testator dies.

Jesus’ sacrificial death was necessary for God’s new covenant to be inaugurated. “Therefore, not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.’” (vv. 18-20). Just as the Law of Moses required sacrificial blood to inaugurate it, the new covenant had the same requirement.

Jesus’ atoning death was essential to procuring the remission of sins. “Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission” (vv.21-22). The only righteous way for the capital crime called “sin” to be addressed justly is through death.

Jesus’ innocent blood was necessary to allow fallen humanity with access to God. “Therefore, it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another—He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (vv. 23-26).

What a grievous sin is committed when someone tramples the Son of God underfoot and counts the blood of the new covenant a common thing. His punishment cannot be too severe.

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Author: jchowning

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