â€œThen [Jesus] said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?â€ (Luke 24:25-26)
The resurrected Christ explained to His two disciples on the Road to Emmaus that His being delivered over to condemnation and crucifixion by â€œthe chief priests and rulersâ€ was something that had to happen. Not only did it have to happen to fulfill â€œall that the prophets had spoken,â€ but also to fulfill Godâ€™s plan of salvation for lost humanity.
To effect the sinnerâ€™s salvation the sinless Savior had to: (1) stand in the sinnerâ€™s stead before the bar (2) be convicted with the sinnerâ€™s guilty verdict, and (3) be condemned to die in the sinnerâ€™s place.
Christ could not have fulfilled the plan of salvation if He had been assassinated as part of a priestly conspiracy. He could not have fulfilled the plan of salvation if he had been thrown off a cliff in Nazareth (Luke 4:29), stoned by the Jews in Judea (John 10:31) or slain in a seditious tumult in Jerusalem. According to John Calvin, â€œTo satisfy our ransom, it was necessary to select a mode of death in which he might deliver us, both by giving himself up to condemnations and undertaking our expiation.â€
â€œI was guilty with nothing to say
And they were coming to take me away
When a voice from Heaven was heard, that said,
â€˜Let him go! Take me instead!â€™
Oh I should have been crucified.
I should have suffered and died.
I should have hung on the cross in disgrace,
But Jesus, Godâ€™s Son, took my place.â€ (Gordon Jensen)