… how that Christ died… 1Corinthians 15:3 KJV
…that Christ died … 1Corinthians 15:3 NASB
Notice the little word “how.” The purists and Greek scholars among us will say that the actual meaning of the word is not as I am going to employ it here; but allow license for the sake of meditation. It is not just that Christ died, but “how He died” that is so precious and so worthy of worship.
He Died Violently
Crucifixion was such a painful and violent death that it has been labeled as the most barbarous of ways to execute a criminal. Add to that the beatings, scourgings, and buffetings; and, His death was as violent as the combined malevolence of Satan and evil in the heart of men could inflict upon Him. While the sufferings at the hands of men were not propitiatory, we still worship the One Who displayed such majesty and meekness amidst such malice.
He Died Voluntarily
Six times over in the New Testament we are told that “He gave Himself.” He was seized by men, bound, and delivered to Roman authorities; He was led away bearing His cross to Golgotha; He was impaled upon a tree by cruel and merciless men. But in the end, He gave Himself. All that was inflicted upon Him could never have been done had He not yielded to His captors.
He was fulfilling the will of His Father; He was bound by devotion and love to Him and was not captive to the binding by men.
He Died Vicariously
The canvas of human history is dotted here and there with heroes and heroines who have given their lives to save others. To die for another is a mark of highest honor. Yet, without demeaning the deeds of valor of this list of heroes, death was still their ultimate destiny. And at best, the number for which they gave their lives was finite and small.
He gave Himself a ransom of a substitutionary nature on behalf of all (1 Tim 2:6). A new heavens and new earth will teem with the billions He has rescued from the grip of sin, hostages redeemed at an incalculable cost.
He Died Victoriously
For humanity, death is the end of our accomplishments. But His death was something He “accomplished” in Jerusalem (Luke 9:31). His life, while fragrant and glorifying to God did not accomplish our redemption. Men looked at Calvary and deemed Him a “loser.” Yet never was there, nor ever shall there be, a victory that will eclipse the work of Calvary.
Notice that after the mention of His death and after the mention of His resurrection, that it is added “according to the Scriptures.” But this is not added after the mentions of His burial and His appearings. Can you suggest some reasons why this may be so?