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Did Jesus Come to Earth to Die?

Q. Did Jesus come to earth to die?

A. Yes. Jesus repeatedly declared that He had come not to do His own will, but the will of His Father as God’s means of redeeming a fallen, sinful world. Four different times He told His disciples that He would be put to death (see Matthew 17:22–23; 16:21; 20:12–19; 26:2; Mark 9:30–32; Luke 9:43–45).

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” (Matthew 26:39, 42, 44). When the crowd came to arrest Jesus, Peter pulled out his sword. Jesus stopped him, asking rhetorically, “Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?’” (John 18:11).

To sum up, as 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” (Matthew 20:28, emphasis added).

A closely related question is often asked: Couldn’t Jesus have made our salvation possible by a different means? Did He have to die to save us?

St. Thomas Aquinas taught that God, for whom nothing is impossible, could have chosen a different way, but in His wisdom made this His plan. Once that plan was determined, it was necessary for Jesus to follow it. “The Son of Man must … be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Luke 9:22).

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