What Jesus’ Death Was Designed to Do

What Jesus' Death Was Designed to DoText: John 12:32-34

In our text, Jesus explained that He was going to die, but the crowds did not understand why. They misunderstood the Old Testament prophecies and believed the Christ would not die. Many today do not understand why Jesus died. What was the purpose of His death? We are going to notice eight things that Jesus’ death was designed to do.

Take the Old Law Out of the Way

  • He took away the old law and nailed it to the cross (Colossians 2:14) – therefore, the Jews were no longer bound to the old law (Romans 7:1-6)
  • There was previously a separation between Jews and Gentiles – He removed it (Ephesians 2:13, 15); through His death, the “blessings of Abraham might come to the Gentiles” (Galatians 3:13-14)
  • Taking the old law out of the way would allow Jesus to serve as high priest (Hebrews 7:12)

Bring in the New Covenant

  • He did not just take the old law out of the way, He established the new law (Hebrews 10:9)
  • A covenant is only in force after the death of the one who made it (Hebrews 9:15-17) – this is a better covenant (Hebrews 8:6) and will not be replaced by another (1 Peter 1:25; Jude 3)

To Bring About the Resurrection

  • Jesus needed to die so He could be raised from the dead (John 10:17)
  • He was the first fruits (1 Corinthians 15:20) – He was raised so we can be raised (1 Thessalonians 4:14; Romans 6:3-4)
  • This was to render the devil powerless (Hebrews 2:14-15) – man would not need to fear death (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)

To Display the Love of God to the World

  • Jesus died for us while we were sinners (Romans 5:8) – the love of the Father was shown by sending Jesus to die on the cross (John 3:16); the love of Jesus was shown by willingly going to the cross (1 John 3:16; John 15:13)
  • He came in order to taste death for everyone (Hebrews 2:9) – His sacrifice was for all

To Fulfill the Scriptures

  • Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17) – the law was designed to lead people to Christ (Galatians 3:24)
  • After His resurrection, He explained that this was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (Luke 24:26-27, 44-46)

To Leave an Example for Us

  • He set an example of sinless perfection, even when facing an unjust death (1 Peter 2:21-24) – we are to look to Him and His example (Hebrews 12:2-3)
  • We are to take up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23)

To Condemn Sin

  • By serving as a sin offering, Jesus “condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3-4) – God hates sin (Proverbs 6:16-19); we are to have the same attitude (Psalm 119:104)
  • Jesus came to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8) – we are not to continue in sin (Romans 6:1-2, 6-7); we are to keep from sin (1 John 2:1-2)

To Put Away Sin

  • Through His sacrifice, Jesus put away sin (Hebrews 9:26) – the word “put away” means to cancel; this is the idea of forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7); without this, none of the other points would matter
  • Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2) – through His death, we can be at peace with God (Ephesians 2:13-17)


  • It is an amazing gift for God to offer us the new covenant, the resurrection, forgiveness, etc.
  • It is even more remarkable that He was willing to send His Son to die on the cross to do it
  • Let us not disregard the sacrifice of Christ on the cross – instead, let us take advantage of the salvation that is available through Him

(Adapted from a portion on an exchange on atonement between Barton W. Stone and Alexander Campbell which was published in the Millennial Harbinger (1840-1841).)

When you subscribe, you’ll also receive 3 free PDF’s: Plain Bible Teaching on Hope, the latest issue of Plain Bible Teaching Quarterly Review, and Road Trip.