It sounds almost too obvious to say, but Jesus had to die for us. That is, whatever else Jesus came to do, his raison d’etre, his purpose ultimately was to willingly die for the sins of the world.

Now why do I make this point? If we take the narrative in John’s Gospel account we see that the high point of all his miracles was the raising up of Lazarus from the dead. Mention is made 3 times about Lazarus whom Jesus raised. The Jewish leaders even wanted to kill Lazarus because on his account many people were following Jesus.

Now Jesus began to speak of his own death. But on this account the people did not believe him. Even though they had seen so many miracles, they could not believe that Jesus would have to die. Even though Jesus had spoken to Lazarus in the grace to come out of it, and done other powerful signs, unless Jesus died for sins, there would be no forgiveness. It was not just the miracles and signs that proved Jesus was the Messiah and Savior. Jesus had to die. He had to submit to the same death that held Lazarus in order to destroy the power of death.

Couldn’t Jesus have simply commanded all to rise up from their tombs? Couldn’t Jesus simply have pronounced all sins forgiven by a spoken word? A work of power?

No. Not merely. It is on the Cross that the forgiveness of sins was accomplished. It is there that the blood of Jesus cleansed sinners from all unrighteousness. It is at the Cross where Word, power and blood shed came together and where God joined us to Christ.