I read an excellent book last year. It was one of those books that gets you thinking in lots of ways, and I'm the sort of person who ends up reading a bit then has to put the book down because my mind goes in overdrive thinking and pondering about it all. It can take me ages sometimes to finish the thing!
At one point the question 'Why did Jesus die?' was raised. The writer started by simply stating that Jesus died because the Romans executed him. I guess that is the really obvious answer and one that still needs to be made clear. It underlined the reality and historical fact of the situation. Now, I've heard lots of great sermons over many years, but I've never heard anyone say it that obviously. That certainly got me thinking at first. It was put that simply to get over any question that we should hold it against the Jews. This has given many people over the centuries an excuse for anti Semitic attitudes. The writer then went into greater depth about why Jesus died to forgive our sins.
There are lots of good things to read and listen to concerning the death and physical resurrection of Jesus. We like to use big words as well to describe it all, like atonement and reconciliation. I happen to like big words as it helps me ponder and reflect on it all, although I do it with a dictionary close to hand! I also use the words of hymns to help my mind wander on the wonder of it all, like "No condemnation now I dread, Jesus and all in him is mine..." or "forbid it, Lord, that I should boast save in the death of Christ my God" .
In my reading this year over the Easter period, another thought came to mind. I have had recent deaths in my family, and although each person has had a Christian faith it has still been a difficult time for us all. So this thought came to mind. Perhaps another reason why Jesus died was to show that human beings do die. God made flesh died. It's ok to die. Other stories in the Bible show its ok to doubt, or question, or get angry. Jesus died and was resurrected to show that a resurrection body is what it's all about. With faith in him, we can also be granted that body and spend eternity with him in glory.
Where that is and how that happens is something else I love to ponder and think about...