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?
- My first seminary class at Dallas...
My first seminary class at Dallas Theological Seminary was Hermeneutics with Dr. Howard Hendricks. My first homework assignment in this class was to make 100 observations on Matthew 28:18-20, the Great Commission. I jumped into this new world with both feet and cranked out 101 -- I was quite proud. Imagine my astonishment with our second assignment was to do make another 100 observations on the same passage. By the time that was done I was a changed man. I never even looked at a leaf the same way again.
John Piper does this on the topic of Jesus' death in Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die. I chose the audio book narrated by Robertson Dean. Dean is a major improvement over Grover Gardner, the pompous narrator I suffered through while listening to Desiring God by Piper. His steady rendition makes for easy listening.
I treated this book as devotional and it works as that, each of the 50 reasons stands on its own. I would listen to 3-4 in a sitting. It doesn't entirely work for this because a good bit of the reasons are quite technical and have only shades of meaning that are different than the others. It's better taken en toto as a lung-expanding deep sea dive to rekindle appreciation of why Jesus did what He did.
These were my favorites, I'm still trying to get my arms around them:
24 To Give Us Confident Access to the Holiest Place
25 To Become for Us the Place Where We Meet God
26 To Bring the Old Testament Priesthood to an End and Become the Eternal High Priest
27 To Become a Sympathetic and Helpful Priest
I would give Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die four stars.