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Chapter 15: Crucifixion and Resurrection
      595. Did Jesus Come to Die?

{595.1} Q. A priest instructing the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) group said that Jesus did not come to die. He said, "God wouldn't be that mean." He added, "Don't anyone ever tell you that he came to die." This doesn't make sense to me. Can you clear this up for me?

{595.2} A. Jesus repeatedly declared that he had come not to do his own will, but the will of his Father (see Jn 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; 8:28). Four different times he told his disciples that he would be put to death (see Mt 17:22-23 and parallels in Mk 9:30-32 and Lk 9:43-45; Mt 16:21; 20:17-19; 26:2). Once Jesus referred to his approaching death as his "baptism" (Mk 10:38).

{595.3} In Luke 12:50 we have these words of Jesus: "There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!"

{595.4} On four occasions Jesus spoke of his imminent passion and death as a "cup" that his Father had given him to drink. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed three times, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as You will" (Mt 26:39; also Mt 26:42,44). When the crowd came to arrest Jesus, Peter started to resist with his sword. Jesus stopped him, asking rhetorically, "Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?'" (Jn 18:11).

{595.5} Jesus came to do the will of the Father. He was always perfectly obedient. He spoke of his approaching death as his "baptism," as his "cup" from the Father.

{595.6} He accepted that death as the will of his Father, as God's means of redeeming a fallen, sinful world. Jesus came to redeem. To accomplish his mission, he had to die. Not because of God's "meanness," but because of the meanness of sinful men.

{595.7} Actually, to respond to the claim that Jesus didn't come to die, you need quote only one brief Gospel text. Speaking of his mission, Jesus said, "The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mt 20:28, emphasis added). He came to die.

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