Catechism Question 17February 9, 2015 at 4:28 pm | Posted in Children's Bible Catechism | 4 Comments
Tags: 1 Peter 2, Bible catechism, children's catechism, crucifixion, Jesus Christ, John 19, John 3, the atonement, The Cross, wrath of God
Question 17: How did Jesus die?
Answer: He was crucified.
Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.
Despite the horror, humiliation, and hurtfulness of death on a cross, there can be no denying that it was precisely the type of death ordained by God the Father to be experienced by God the Son. Why did He choose this type of death?
I do not know if we can answer that question with 100% certainty. Traditionally, I have heard it explained that this was the cruelest, most painful death possible, and that the physical suffering of Christ had to be immense beyond measure in order to pay the outrageous sin debt that was owed by His people. I do not want to minimize or denigrate the physical suffering of Christ on the Cross. There can be no doubt it was horrific. However, I have read of the deaths of many of the martyrs, and – physically speaking – there may be more torturous, drawn-out, and even intensely painful ways to die.
I think, first of all, as we explain the suffering of Christ to our children, we would do better to explain it in terms of the transaction of bearing the weight of sin and its guilt by the perfect sinless Savior, and experiencing the indescribable wrath of God poured out against sin. There is a sense in which this transaction took place in the eternal realm between God the Father and Christ the Son, and was a unique type of painfully propitiatory sacrifice which our finite brains can not come close to fathoming.
Second, I also think we need to teach our kids the significance of death by hanging on a tree-like Cross as a picture of the curse of sin being dealt with, and as a fulfillment of prophecy by which God made known the commingling of His forgiveness and His justice. The Cross of Christ had been illustrated in the Old Testament, and was now being orchestrated to prove God’s love and truth.
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
I Peter 2:24
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: