Who Said Messiah Would Go to the Cross?
We can take a cue from the name which had been chosen for Him hundreds of years before He came down to earth: Yeshua, which means "Yahweh is Salvation."
But at the time that He came in the 1st century, Israel had been conquered by the Roman Empire and the Jews were being cruelly oppressed by their Occupiers. They longed to be set free and were looking for a mighty king like David who would form an Israelite army to defeat the Roman Goliath.
But was that Yahweh's Plan?
Or did He have a better solution in mind, one that would restore mankind to Him for eternity?
Two years into His ministry, Jesus explains to His followers exactly what was going to happen to Him:
21 From then on Jesus began to point out to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day.
22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, “Oh no, Lord! This will never happen to You!”
23 But He turned and told Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns, but man’s.” Matthew 16
What had Peter said that he should receive such a stinging rebuke from His Master?
Just as He said, Jesus was scolding Peter for having a mindset that was aligned with man's thinking rather than God's. Where men are set on the easiest and most comfortable way out, God is not.
The cross had always been God's Plan.
Where Peter may have thought that Jesus had come to be the next King David who would oust the Romans and establish a new Kingdom of Israel, God had much bigger things in mind.
The salvation of men's souls was Jesus' goal, and Peter's attempt to pander to Him was not welcome.
As early as the dedication of Jesus at the Temple, the Lord had already sent a prophecy to His parents to forewarn them about the pain that lay ahead (italics mine):
34 Then Simeon blessed them and told His mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed—
35 and a sword will pierce your own soul—that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2
But as far back as the Garden of Eden, Yahweh had already spoken about the day the Messiah would do final battle against God's enemy, Satan:
Millennia later, and about a thousand years before Jesus' crucifixion, King David the psalmist prophesied about it...
5 But He was pierced because of our transgressions,
crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on Him,
and we are healed by His wounds.
6 We all went astray like sheep;
we all have turned to our own way;
and the Lord has punished Him
for the iniquity of us all.
10 Yet the Lord was pleased to crush Him severely.
When You make Him a restitution offering,
He will see His seed, He will prolong His days,
and by His hand, the Lord’s pleasure will be accomplished.
11 He will see it out of His anguish,
and He will be satisfied with His knowledge.
My righteous Servant will justify many,
and He will carry their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give Him the many as a portion,
and He will receive the mighty as spoil,
because He submitted Himself to death,
and was counted among the rebels;
yet He bore the sin of many
and interceded for the rebels. Isaiah 53
Isaiah also told us why all that pain was necessary.
It was He who bore the punishment for our sins upon Himself in complete fulfillment of the Torah, the Law YHWH had given to Moses.
Two hundred years after Isaiah, and about 500 years before Jesus went to the cross, Yahweh spoke through Zechariah about Messiah's Second Coming. And YHWH made this astounding declaration (italics mine):
10 “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the house of David and the residents of Jerusalem, and they will look at Me whom they pierced. They will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child and weep bitterly for Him as one weeps for a firstborn." Zechariah 12
This is astounding because the Yahweh Who is speaking is not only promising to open the eyes of His people, the Jews, and reveal Who He is before He comes again, but YHWH is saying that He is the very same One Whom they pierced.
The Yahweh Who is speaking in Zechariah 12 is the very same Messiah Yeshua Whose people had rejected Him when He first came. The very same Yeshua Who...
6 ... existing in the form of God,
did not consider equality with God
as something to be used for His own advantage.
7 Instead He emptied Himself
by assuming the form of a slave,
taking on the likeness of men.
And when He had come as a man
in His external form,
8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient
to the point of death—
even to death on a cross. Philippians 2
Most, if not all, of the crucifixion pictures are stills from the Mel Gibson movie, "The Passion of the Christ."
Why Did Jesus Shout, "My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?" at the Cross?
Jesus Teaches About His Coming Death and Resurrection
Two Old Testament Prophets Who Witnessed to the Coming Crucifixion and Death of Jesus?