Christ's Death. - 1 Cor. 15:3-4.
October 9, 2023, 8:34 AM


The Unique Death of Christ

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,”

Just like the seed cannot produce fruit without first dying and being buried, so it is with you and me. That is the way that our Lord has chosen to illustrate the change from this earthly body into the heavenly one. That is the only way that we can be forever with the Lord.

Some have called this passage the gospel in a nutshell. It defines the work of Christ in His body while on earth. These four events are the foundation of our faith - He died, was buried, arose and appeared. Without those events Paul says our faith would be in vain.

The events of Jesus coming were all preplanned. He was not a victim of circumstances. It was planned before creation (1st Peter 1:19-20). Prophecies about the crucifixion of the Messiah were written hundreds of years before there was such the punishment of crucifixion. Psalm 22 is a prophetic Psalm pointing to the suffering of the Messiah 950 years before it occurred.

Yet Jesus was not forced by any man to die. It was voluntary. In spite of the cruelty of the cross, Jesus still chose to die. John 10:17-18 “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life - only to 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 authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

I sometimes ponder the circumstances, recorded both historically and Biblically, to remind myself how unique Jesus’ death was from any other. I am not just talking about the cross or the beatings because many had received that horrific punishment and suffering. Combined with these events we read about how the sky was darkened from the 6th to the 9th hour. In a book on the crucifixion of Jesus, I am reminded that it wasn’t an eclipse of the sun, for those events last only a few minutes, not for 3 hours.

This event is also recorded by non-biblical sources –Tertullian writes about it being recorded in the Roman records, and Dionysius of Alexandria, also recorded witnessing this phenomenon.

We also read, that at the moment of Christ’s death, the curtain in the Temple was torn in half. This was a heavy curtain that hung between the holy place and the Holy of Holies. According to rabbinical literature of the first century, the veil in Herod’s temple was four fingers thick. Men would have torn the veil from bottom to top. This was done from top to bottom, showing that it was God who had done it.

We also read that at the very moment that Jesus died, there was a great earthquake and the rocks split. This happened right at the time of His last breath.

A soldier put his spear into the side of Jesus to see that blood and water came out to prove His death. The centurion, trying to take in all of this, changed his whole outlook when he exclaimed, “Truly this was the Son of God.”

We will look more at the atonement of His unique death in the days ahead.