Why did Jesus die? That is a question many ask. The answer is that it was pain with a purpose. What do I mean? I wrote a Good Friday poem for Passion Week to illustrate it.
Pain with a Purpose
Our world is a mess. It was in Jesus’ day, too.
Tired of corruption, perversion, and violence,
Israel wanted a savior to make things new.
There was also hypocrisy in religion, a double standard for them and you,
until a wise man named Jesus revealed their motives through and through.
He was not proud, but strong.
He refuted their arguments when they were wrong.
The religious leaders plotted to get him to stumble, to slip, to fall,
to show that this miracle-working man wasn’t the Son of God
— he was a fraud!
But he was popular with the people,
he was compassionate and healed the blind, lame, and sick.
If you followed him long, you knew this was no trick!
Could this be the Messiah, the king that Israel had long sought,
to deliver them from Roman rule and the brutality they brought?
One day, this wonderful man, Jesus, rode into Jerusalem on the back of a colt.
The people shouted, Hosanna so loud that the earth seemed to tremble with a jolt!
Their praise shocked the religious leaders!
“Do you hear what they’re saying?
“Too loud, too bold!”
“Make them stop!”
“The Roman government will punish us,
our positions will be lost,
if we can’t control Jesus — no, that’s too high of a cost.”
A Purpose for Suffering
Jesus entered Jerusalem
but nothing happened—no battle, no war.
He simply looked around.
Jesus created no trouble, not even a disruptive sound.
This wasn’t his time, his throne to claim, his crown to wear.
He had something to do first, much suffering to bear.
His purpose set from heaven, his life he must give,
a ransom for sin’s slavery in which all people live.
Jesus tried to explain to his disciples God’s perfect plan of redemption,
but they didn’t understand; it was beyond their comprehension.
“You die? This’ll never happen!” they insisted.
Then the Lord rebuked them for the way they resisted.
“It’s God’s purpose for me; it’s His will,” Jesus said. “So, trust in the Lord and be still!”
A Crisis In the Garden
Jesus’ disciples sleep, but there’s none for the Lord.
Loneliness and strong tears; he must fight alone
Separated from God and his throne
A Kiss from a Betrayer
Jesus stands alone
All night long they dragged him before mock trials, trying to find a criminal conviction before dawn, when he would face Pilate with the wrongs he had done.
Jesus knew before he came
that he’d be subject to beating, humility, and shame.
Why Jesus died, the Crucifixion
For six excruciating hours
Jesus bore our sins on the cross.
Blood dripped from his thorn-crowned head, his hands, and his feet, much loss.
Each thrust upwards for another breath caused extreme pain to his hands and feet
and also to his thrashed backside, now like raw meat.
Again and again, this horrible scene played out
until finally, exhausted, Jesus finished it with a shout.
Yet it was God’s purpose to bruise him, to allow his Son to die.
To give many the hope of heaven where there’ll be no more tears to cry.
God’s Purpose for our Pain
The Lord’s purposes for us aren’t always easy,
We desire green grass and castles,
But sometimes there’re thorns and shackles,
or significant pain and hassles.
If we knew the path our Lord would have us take,
if it were difficult, would we stay or seek to escape?
But God’s Spirit will strengthen us if we trust him and persevere,
To live for God’s glory, and the gospel to share.
When we know God’s purpose for us, a mission he gives,
We can rejoice in the life he wants us to live.
So let’s be faithful and not seek a life of ease.
With God, we can accomplish much and have spiritual peace.
A Prayer of Thanks
Dear Father in heaven, we praise you for your Son who endured the cross and despised the shame for us, and now sits on the right hand of your throne in heaven.
Please help us keep our eyes on you and your kingdom, and meet our needs so we can courageously proclaim your message to a lost world, for this is your will.
Forgive our sin and selfishness, and help us forgive others so we can fulfill our purpose and give you glory and praise. Lead us away from the temptation to seek a life of ease and pleasure. May we forever glorify you. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
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Used with permission from Rodney Harrier.