I have often wondered why Jesus had to die such a painful death. Why could he not have died peacefully surrounded by his family and disciples? I read several answers to this question and gained some understanding. As the Son of God, he could have died any way he chose. He chose that God’s will be done, the will of the Father. God’s ways are certainly not our ways but, if you look at the result, it may have been the only way. If he had died peacefully surrounded by his family and followers, it may have been the end of Christianity. It was precisely the horrific ending he consented to that made his resurrection so powerful. Even his statements made from the cross to those around him were remembered because of where they were uttered. From the cross he promises a thief he would be with him that very day. From the cross he tells his mother (who represents the church) to take care of John (who represents all of us) and tells John to care for his mother. This sacrifice is what wiped away all of our sins. This sacrifice was a precursor to all of those who would sacrifice their lives, many in horrible ways, rather than deny the very name of Jesus. Jesus is our example in all things. If we suffer, we can take solace in He who showed us that suffering can have a purpose and ends with a better beginning in a better eternal life.
Mike Noggle, The Magis Center