Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die
The most important questions anyone can ask are: Why was Jesus Christ crucified? Why did he suffer so much? What has this to do with me? Finally, who sent him to his death? The answer to the last question is that God did. Jesus was God’s Son. The suffering was unsurpassed, but the whole message of the Bible leads to this answer.
The central issue of Jesus’ death is not the cause, but the meaning—God’s meaning. That is what this book is about. John Piper has gathered from the New Testament fifty reasons. Not fifty causes, but fifty purposes—in answer to the most important question that each of us must face: What did God achieve for sinners like us in sending his Son to die?
Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came To Die has almost that many reasons why you should read it. This multi-purpose book grabs your attention from the moment you open it. Quoting from Isaiah 53, John Piper dedicates this book to Jesus Christ. Immediately demanding thought with an introduction that knocks you off your balance and sets you into God’s balances, Piper opens his subject by looking at Christ and at Christians’ sin, including an apology for the heinous way many Christians have acted through the centuries. His aim is to answer “the most crucial question…Why did Jesus come to die? Not why in the sense of cause, but why in the sense of purpose…What did God achieve for sinners like us in sending his Son to die?” (17)
Each of the fifty reasons covers only 2 or 3 pages. But each of those reasons and their Scripture proofs are guaranteed to make a Christian sweat, apologize, marvel, and pray. You will find familiar and not so familiar reasons herein. Just a few include: To Absorb the Wrath of God; For the Forgiveness of Our Sins; To Bring Us to Faith and Keep Us Faithful; To Heal Us from Moral and Physical Sickness; To Free Us from Slavery; To Give Marriage Its Deepest Meaning; To Free Us from the Fear of Death; To Disarm Rulers and Authorities; To Destroy the Hostility Between Races; and To Show That the Worst Evil Is Meant by God for Good.
Closing materials include a valuable bibliography of books about the historical reliability of the Bible. Prolific Christian author, Piper has poured his heart into this book, using his winsome, straightforward style to once again turn a spotlight on his Lord. Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die is a wonderful book for private devotions, but its uses don’t stop there. Among other things it is also a good reference for group study, homilies, and sermons; a fine source for family discussions; a wonderful gift; and a witnessing tool. This is a book I’ll keep on my reading stand, to go back to, argue with, and allow it lead me into worship and prayer.
This is a small book that is really a good “cliff notes” version of why Christ came to die. It is only 120 pages long and so the descriptions of each are no longer than a normal page each. Because of this, the material that Dr. Piper presents is not to get into a deep theological discussion on each topic, but merely to give a quick synopsis and then to move on. I think this would be a great small group study to have with people. It would give the basic understanding and then would lead to some discussion on each topic how this should impact our lives.
The way that this is set up is that Dr. Piper gives the verse and then shows quickly how that verse plays into more specifically of what Christ’s death accomplished through that verse.
So, for instance, number 6 is that Christ died “To Show His Own Love for Us.” Dr. Piper then gives three verses for reference (Eph 5:2,25; Galatians 2:20) and unpacks them using other verses for reference and with quick, but pointed, exegesis of each. The reason I like this little book is because it is able to give a lot of understanding of all that Christ accomplished through the cross without having to write a novel for each of the reasons. Although, novels could be written for each one, and either have been written or will be written about each reason, this is simply for a “fly by” so that those unacquainted the vastness of Christ’s death will get some fuller understanding of all that Christ accomplished on the cross. Also note though that Piper lets the reader know that even though these are fifty reasons, there are still more.
In the beginning of the book Dr. Piper gives this as what he hopes to accomplish with this small treatise: When all is said and done, the most crucial question is: Why? Why did Jesus come to die? Not why in the sense of cause, but why in the sense of purpose. What did Christ achieve by his death? Why did he have to suffer so much? What great thing was happening on Calvary for the world?
Good Bible Study Tool
I’m not real big on non-fiction, but this book is a lovely complication of verses answering the title question. It’s not radically mind-blowing stuff if you’ve grown up hearing it all your life, but it’s a great tool to have around. These are verses many have heard before, but now they’re in one place, neatly organized and accompanied by decent commentary.
Download this book