Get Started

Sign Up

Sign Up Today! Become a member and gain access to our resource

Login

Already a Member? Login to access your account

Questions about the death of Jesus

QUESTION:
I read a study about the Lord’s death by a conservative Christian apologist. It said something that I had never before thought of and wanted to know your opinion. It says that the Lord Jesus in his human nature represented man before the fall because he was sinless and, therefore, understanding that before the fall there was no death (since death entered the world through sin) Jesus was immortal. He should have never died. It’s not that had he not died on the cross he would have passed at 90 years of age or so of natural causes, but rather that he simply could not die. Further, He could have remained alive indefinitely on the Cross. But according to this apologist’s explanation, this is Jesus’ vicarious sacrifice, that he “gave his life” and no one killed him (John 10:17-18). Rather, he voluntarily gave up his spirit. These ideas seem logical to me, as well as biblically supported; but they collide with other teachings I’ve heard about the “medical” causes of Jesus’ death. What do you think?

ANSWER:

  1. First, there is a big difference between Jesus and Adam. The Son of God was the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, God eternal, almighty, infinite, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. Adam was a mere creature. Although Adam was perfectly created—a creature without sin and, as the first man, was perfect in every sense of what a human being is—he WAS NOT GOD. In other words, besides the fact that Adam had not sinned, and the truth that God does not sin, there is no comparison between the two. God in Christ became human, and was 100% percent man; but also was 100% God. Because humanity assumed he could die. In other words, in his humanity Jesus had a kinship with the first man, Adam. However, as the GOD-MAN there was no similarity between them.
  2. Second, as the Gospel says: The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost (sinners). To perform this mission he had to die (as the substitute for all sinners to receive God’s judgment on the cross. “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?”(He cried as a result – Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46). A book written by a friend of mine is entitled Born Crucified. Jesus came to die, so it is mere speculation that he could have sustained his life indefinitely on the cross. Perhaps for some this idea gives them some comfort, but when one realizes how frightening and horrific it is to die on a cross, such an idea in relation to Jesus Christ is unimaginable. That is why He rose again on the third day; death could not contain him.
  3. It is true that Christ gave His life and willingly went to the cross—for you and for me—but it is equally true that He was killed by humans, as Peter declared in his sermon on Pentecost: But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him.(Acts 2:23). Those who killed an innocent man were guilty, and all those who have not responded to the gift of forgiveness that is in Jesus Christ will one day yield fearful account.
  4. Finally, the fact that Jesus would have died as a result of his crucifixion does not require medical proof. Anyone who has been nailed to a cross on his hands and feet will gradually bleed to death. I’ve also read medical articles on His death. They are interesting, but largely speculative. True, it is interesting how soon He died, in contrast to the two who were crucified with him. The difference is, I think, that the two criminals died normally, but Christ died broken by the pain and grief of bearing our sins. That is a unique type of death that no one, not even medical science, can explain.

I hope these explanations will help you reflect on the death of Jesus Christ. I also hope they fill your heart with gratitude remembering that He went to the cross because you and I needed a Savior. That’s the truth we must remember when we analyze everything that happened that terrible, yet glorious day.

Les Thompson