Jesus repeatedly told his disciples that he would die and then rise again. We could quote a number of passages, but we will limit ourselves to the following quotes from the Gospels (Injil).
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven… From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.
(The Injil, Matthew 16:13-17, and Matthew 16:21)
Later, going to Jerusalem, he took his disciples apart, and said to them on the way:
“See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”
(The Injil, Matthew 20:18-19)
In the same chapter, Jesus reveals the ultimate reason for his coming to earth. He came “not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (The Injil, Matthew 20:28).
Later on we will expand on the reason why Jesus died, but for now it is clear that his main mission was to die on the cross. At the approach of his crucifixion, he anticipated the agony He must endure, and said:
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.“
(The Injil, John 12:27)
It is evident that the disciples did not invent the story of his death. In fact, they were sad and dejected until they saw him again after his resurrection. He appeared to them several times during a period of 40 days, giving them proofs of his resurrection. He prepared them by explaining to them that his death and resurrection were the fulfillment of what had been predicted about him by all the prophets of God:
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
(The Injil, Luke 24: 44-47)
What then becomes of the argument that God could not let his prophet die at the hand of wicked people? It needs to be revised, rejected and discarded! The New Testament (Injil) explains that it was not through weakness that God permitted Christ to be crucified, but out of love. No one ‘took’ the life of Jesus, not even the Jews and Romans who committed themselves to kill Him.
We cannot possibly agree with the saying that they did not kill him, but that it only appeared to happen. Yet we do agree that Jesus freely gave His life. He could have avoided death. He knew that Judas was betraying Him. He knew they would come to the Garden of Gethsemane and arrest Him. Jesus said:
For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again
(The Injil, John 10: 17-18)
Yes, Jesus could have saved himself if He had wanted to. He had accomplished many extraordinary miracles on earth, but we have seen that he gave his life as the ransom of many. In other words, he came to die on behalf of those who will believe in him.
When Judas came with the soldiers to arrest him, He told His disciples who wished to defend Him with swords, that He could have appealed to twelve legions of angels to help Him and destroy all these wicked God-hating people. He said:
Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled. Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered.
(The Injil, Matthew 26: 53-57)
Jesus chose to die because he knew that it was only through his death that God’s plan to save His people from their sin could be successful. Either they must pay for their sin, or He must give His sinless life in exchange for their sinful lives. He knew that the moment had come, and despite the shame and the pain, He gave His life because of love.
It is astonishing that some people weep with sorrow and admiration if someone, by an act of incredible bravery, gives their life to save a child, or some other victim. And yet, they think that God would never have a plan of such magnificent love for us that He would come into the world and lay down His life as Man!
Yet, we remember that Jesus never said He would escape death. He not only prophesied or predicted His death, but that through death He would conquer death. Later, from the heavens, the victorious Christ declared:
“Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
(The Injil, Revelation 1:17-18)
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