Why Did Jesus Die On the Cross?


To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

I Peter 2:21-25

Why did Jesus die on the cross?

At first, perhaps, the answer is simple: Jesus died on the cross so that we could be forgiven and spend eternity in heaven.

And that answer would be, of course, correct.

Peter wrote is this way, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.

But as you read the New Testament, you start to realize there were other reasons that Jesus died on the cross—it wasn’t solely for the purpose of getting us into heaven.

For example:

— In Romans 5, Paul writes that Jesus’s death was designed to demonstrate God’s love for us: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

— In John 17, just before being arrested, Jesus reveals that he is motivated to the cross by his desire to see God the Father glorified in Him: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.

— In the book of Ephesians, Paul tells us the Christ’s death on the cross was designed to bring together those of different races, ethnicities, and cultures: “His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

One death, many purposes.

There is also a reason listed in I Peter, Chapter 2 that we are too quick to overlook in my opinion.

Peter says it this way, as straightforward as one could write the words, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

Did you catch that?

In Peter’s opinion, why did Jesus die on the cross?

So that we might die to sin and live for righteousness!

Not only does Jesus’s death free us from the penalty of sin, it was so that we would put it to death in our lives, and live for righteousness.

How often do we speak of Christ’s sacrifice in those terms?

We are quick to think of the cross and the opportunity it provides for us to spend eternity in heaven through faith in Christ.

But the purpose of the cross was more than that: It also exists so that we might die to sin entirely and live holy lives.

And I think it would benefit all of us to think about that a little more often.


Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your Son. Jesus, thank you for your obedience and sacrifice—even to the point of death on a cross. I am eternally grateful that your death and resurrection conquered sin and provided the pathway to receive grace through faith. May I accomplish all that your death means for me—specifically, help me die to sin and live for righteousness today and each day going forward. Amen.