Why did Jesus do it?

The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,  took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ “The King of Israel!” (John 12:12-13 *) 

So, why did Jesus do it? Why would He go into Jerusalem knowing full well He would be betrayed by His own friends, falsely arrested, beaten mercilessly, unjustly tried, and then killed in the most excruciating and humiliating way possible? Why would anyone do this?

Of course, we know the answer from Scripture. He endured it all because of “the joy that was set before Him”: 

looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb.12:2 *)

But what was this joy set before Jesus? It could only be the j0y of seeing us in the Divine Dance. Why? Because He, the Eternal Son, already had infinite joy in intimate fellowship the Father before He took on human flesh. No, He didn’t come for Himself. Jesus willingly endured it all to fulfill God’s dream for you and me.

I would like to reprint an absolutely stunning description of this redemption story. Please read it, meditate on it, and let it resonate deeply (emphasis added):

The Trinitarian Vision
Summary
©C. Baxter Kruger, Ph.D. 2012

“From all eternity, God is not alone and solitary, but lives as Father, Son and Spirit in a rich and glorious and abounding fellowship of utter oneness. There is no emptiness in this circle, no depression or fear or insecurity. The Trinitarian life is a great dance of unchained communion and intimacy, fired by passionate, self-giving and other-centered love, and mutual delight. This life is good. It is right, unique, full of music and joy, blessedness and peace. Such love, giving rise to such togetherness and fellowship and oneness, is the womb of the universe and of humanity within it.

The stunning truth is that this Triune God, in amazing and lavish love, determined to open the circle and share the Trinitarian life with others. This is the one, eternal and abiding reason for the creation of the world and of human life. There is no other God, no other will of God, no second plan, no hidden agenda for human beings. Before the creation of the world, the Father, Son and Spirit set their love upon us and planned to bring us to share and know and experience the Trinitarian life itself. Unto this end the cosmos was called into being, and the human race was fashioned, and Adam and Eve were given a place in the coming of Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son himself, in and through whom the dream of our adoption would be accomplished.

Before creation, it was decided that the Son would cross every chasm between the Triune God and humanity and establish a real and abiding relationship with us—union. Jesus was predestined to be the mediator, the one in and through whom the very life of the Triune God would enter human existence, and human existence would be lifted up to share in the Trinitarian life.

When Adam and Eve rebelled, ushering in chaos and misery into God’s creation, the Father, Son and Spirit never abandoned their dream, but wonderfully incorporated darkness and sin into the tapestry of the coming incarnation. As the Father’s Son became human, and as he submitted himself to bear our anger, and bizarre blindness, and as he gave himself to suffer a murderous death at our hands, he established a real and abiding relationship with fallen humanity at our very worst—and he brought his Father and the Holy Spirit with him. It was in Jesus himself, and in his death at our bitter hands, that the Trinitarian life of God pitched its tent in our hell on earth, thereby uniting all that the Father, Son and Spirit share with all that we are in our brokenness, shame and sin—adoption.

In the life and death of Jesus the Holy Spirit made his way into human pain and blindness. Inside our broken inner worlds the Spirit works to reveal Jesus in us so that we can meet Jesus himself in our own sin and shame, and begin to see what Jesus sees, and know his Father with him. The Holy Spirit takes of Jesus and discloses it to us, so that we can know and experience Jesus’ own relationship with his Father, and we can be free to live in the Father’s embrace with Jesus. As the Spirit works we are summoned to take sides with Jesus against our own darkness and prejudice, and take simple steps of trust and change. As we do Jesus’ own anointing with the Spirit—his own fellowship with his Father, his own unearthly assurance, his own freedom and joy and power in the Spirit—begin to form in us, while not diminishing but augmenting and freeing our own uniqueness as persons. The Spirit’s passion is to bring his anointing of Jesus to full and personal and abiding expression in us as unique persons, and not only in us personally, but in our relationship with the Father in Jesus, and in our relationships with one another, and indeed with all creation, until the whole cosmos is a living sacrament of the great dance of the Triune God.”

An excerpt from The Shack Revisited, C. Baxter Kruger, 2012. “Summary of the Trinitarian Vision.”

23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. (John 17:23 *)

* New King James Bible translation.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 41 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
This entry was posted in Father Heart of God, Love and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Why did Jesus do it?

  1. Wonderful, Mel!

    “I in them, and You in Me…”

    There’s my favorite word again, “in.” It’s the most important word in the bible. He invites us in! Are you in, is He in you? So many of our worldly problems stem from separation, feeling cast out, needing to cast others out, just this never ending parade of relationship wounds. Jesus is the precise opposite, He came into our world and He invites us into His. Of course it’s all His anyway, but you know what I mean. 🙂

    • Mel Wild says:

      Exactly! This is why Jesus is the answer. When we see ourselves in this infinite Love Fest, full of joy, affirmation, and fullness, we will see each other there, too. And that union is what brings wholeness and healing. Our participating in the divine nature (2 Pet.1:4) this way makes us fully human. THAT’S the invitation. To experience the life of God, now and forever! And we never stay the same: we continue on this trajectory, from glory to every increasing glory.

      That’s good news that brings great joy! 🙂

  2. Cindy Powell says:

    Love this! Enjoy your celebration of the greatest day in history! Blessings ~

  3. Hi Mel,

    Respectfully, for those open-minded and with a fair open heart, here’s another valid lens on that historicity as to why Jesus went to Jerusalem. This is within a much bigger, multiple interdisciplinary context than just one (biased?) source: the 4th-century canonical gospels. Or much, much later commentaries by Christians such as Kruger.

    So, why did Jesus do it? Why would He go into Jerusalem… Why would anyone do this?

    These are actually pretty easy answers and not at all so melodramatic. Here’s why…

    Why did Jesus do it and go into Jerusalem? Because of very long standing traditions of Jewish Messianism. At the time Messianic expectations were fever-pitched in Galilee, Peraea, Idumea, and Judaea since AT LEAST 4 BCE when King Herod died and were high well after King Herod’s death. Roman records show this. Given that the long expected Messiah was going to return Jewish Independence from its occupiers/oppressors, you have to completely recapture and rule Jerusalem. But also being a Torah-abiding Jew you must make the pilgrimages there for Sukkot, Shavuot, and Pesah (Deut 16:16). Any 1st century BCE – 1st century CE Jew, Messiah or not, will be in Jerusalem for these festivals.

    Why would anyone do it? Because other Messiahs tried BEFORE Jesus and they too had failed, suffered humiliation, and suffered crucifixion.* In contrast to your post Mel, Jesus thought he MIGHT be the next successful(?) Messiah but he wasn’t sure as is shown in his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:42) long after entering Jerusalem. Nevertheless, Jesus and many after him failed, suffered humiliation and crucifixion. There had been a LOT of suffering for all failed Messiahs, prior and after Jesus.** According to Roman records — and they were OCD about recording everything — and Flavius Josephus, the prior known consequences of claiming the Jewish Messiahship was not anything extraordinary or mysterious.

    Jesus did it because he, like several before him and many after him,*** thought he might have a chance of providing Judaism its long, LONG awaited independence from Rome. Simple. All the theological, confusing, divisive, controversial fluff invented over the following 2-5 centuries was primarily distorting true Jewish Messianism in order to make Hellenistic Apotheosis — something much more familiar to Roman Gentiles in general — more appealing than many dead, failed Jewish kings like Jesus.

    Anyway, thanks Mel. Hope you are having a good weekend.

    ——————————–

    * — “Simon of Peraea,” Jewish War 2.57-59 and Jewish Antiquities 17.273-277 and also “Athronges,” Jewish Antiquities 17.278-284

    ** — “Judas the Galilean” (6 CE) Jewish War 2.433 and Jewish Antiquities 18.1-10 and 18.23; Acts of the apostles 5.37 and “Theudas” (c. 46 CE) Jewish Antiquities 20.97-98 and Acts of the apostles 5.36

    *** — “Vespasian” Josephus’ Jewish War 6.312-13 and the very well-known “Simon bar Kokhba” (c. 135 CE); many others to follow

    • jim- says:

      This reminds me of other times people have tried to force the hand of prophecy. The creation of modern Israel is one that comes to mind, and every Christian pulling for the fulfillment of prophecy, fails to comprehend that god didn’t gather Israel, we did. Abraham and Ishmael is another. “If” any of it were true, we’d still have a long wait ahead of us. I’m not holding my breath.

      • Mel Wild says:

        Jim, that’s not technically true. The New Testament writers intentionally reinterpreted the Old Testament prophecies in the light of Jesus Christ. Jesus changed our understanding of God’s eternal purposes and what even redemption means. As I told Professor Taboo, no Jew expected what Jesus did, even though we can find it hidden in the Old Testament. They expected Him to come and conquer the Roman Empire, He came to conquer our alienated hearts back to God. He didn’t just come to save Israel but the entire world. This is the clear message of the New Covenant.

        • “Intentionally reinterpreted.” Wow! Is that the understatement for 2,000 years! Thank you Mel for saying that because it is glaringly true when seen thru the template of greater historical context surrounding Second Temple Judaism and their TRUE Messianism. Furthermore, get out of orthodoxy and Christological traditions and bias and it’s even more clear. 😉

        • Mel Wild says:

          “Intentionally reinterpreted.” Wow! Is that the understatement for 2,000 years!

          And your point is? This is no startling revelation here. We are talking about interpretations, not the Scripture itself. The NT writers intentionally reinterpreted those passages because Jesus reinterpreted them. Jesus gave us the true interpretation of them. And a lot of the expectations of Second Temple Judaism were obviously proven wrong (not the Scriptures but their expectation). We know this because the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD and their view could not possibly be fulfilled in the way they understood them.

          Now, by the time of Jesus there was no clear consensus on Messianic expectations, etc. While there were a lot of things understood about their Messiah none of them expected Him to be crucified, even though this is hidden in the Old Testament. This was Paul’s point when he said the cross was an offense to them.

          I could go into a lot more detail here, but I don’t see the point. You will believe whatever you want.

        • My point was that you’ve mentioned most of what has been going on (subjectively) for 1,900+ years about Scriptures: retro-active exegesis/hermeneutics. I was simply pointing out that you used a CORRECT adverb “intentional” — i.e. using a specific viewpoint or bias to approach a topic/event. The Hellenistic Romans did this all the time.

          Jesus gave us the true interpretation of them. And a lot of the expectations of Second Temple Judaism were obviously proven wrong (not the Scriptures but their expectation).

          That is absolutely debateable Mel (if not highly contentious) for two primary reasons: 1) Exactly what Jesus spoke is no longer set in stone, much less reliable in the Synoptic Gospels; most of what is written in John is spiritual symbolism, not verbatim quotes of Jesus (Dr. L. Michael White). And 2) There are several other equally as valid estimations/interpretations of Jesus’ reformations when the Synoptic Gospels are compared and contrasted to other NON-canonical testaments, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Second Temple Judaism independent of Hellenistic Roman influences. Yes, the gospels were heavily and intentionally “reinterpreted,” but not from Jesus’ (Essene-Nasoraen) sect outside of the Temple. Just because the Hellenistic Roman Empire was victorious in wiping out the true original sectarian Messianic Judaism in the Jewish-Roman Wars doesn’t mean today one or the other was proven wrong or right — that sort of logic is quite Roman and called coerced orthodoxy until too many generations pass to know better.

          We know this because the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD and their view could not possibly be fulfilled in the way they understood them.

          Just stating a historical fact (Masada 70 CE) doesn’t mean what you state in the same sentence becomes true. What you are obscuring there Mel is that you and biased 3rd – 5th century Hellenistic Christological Apotheosis (HCA) says if the Jews “lost” then we Roman Christians are right and their Jewish Messianism is wrong. But objectively that isn’t true. Messianic rebellions continued after 33 CE and at least to 135 CE as well as PRIOR to Jesus.

          While there were a lot of things understood about their Messiah none of them expected Him to be crucified, even though this is hidden in the Old Testament. This was Paul’s point when he said the cross was an offense to them.

          Again, that is bad historical inference. It shows a lack of extensive knowledge about Roman laws and execution. Of course it was “an offense” to Jews, that’s why the Romans used crucifixion on rebel-inciting Jews, especially on dissident Kings. This punishment was already known PRIOR to Jesus. All Jewish Messiahs/Kings were executed and crucified. As I mentioned in my other below/above comment thread to you, at least TWO Messiahs/Kings PRIOR to Jesus were executed/crucified. It’s also worthy to note here that one of the reasons (with many others) HCA didn’t become widespread until the 3rd – 4th century CE is because from the time of Jesus’ death (c. 30 – 34 CE), he and all the other Messiahs/Kings before and after failed. In other words, it wasn’t headline news UNTIL Hellenistic Christological Apotheosis — more appealing to Roman Gentiles — took hold 200 to 400 years later. By that time TRUE Jewish Messianism, and Jesus’ reforms as well, were deeply buried and wiped out under Roman anti-Semitism. Modern Christianity/Christology was its Changeling.

          Again, if you will do an extensive study of Roman Antiquity during Second Temple Judaism and beyond until Theodosius I or Rome’s final collapse, you will see and understand how Hellenistic Christological Apotheosis became the Changeling of 1st century CE Judaism and sectarian (Jesus) reforms. Jesus never intended to start a new religion, only reform his own.

    • Mel Wild says:

      This is within a much bigger, multiple interdisciplinary context than just one (biased?) source: the 4th-century canonical gospels.

      You keep saying the gospels were “4th-century canonical” as if that’s when the church decided they were inspired. This is simply skeptic fiction. We know that the oral creeds and hymns predate the texts and are within a year of the event, the texts were written in the first century. The gospels were recited and well-known by church fathers in the second century. The 4th century Nicene Councils were mainly convened to deal with the Arian heresy, not to decide on what is biblical Canon.

      Why did Jesus do it and go into Jerusalem? Because of very long standing traditions of Jewish Messianism.

      Yes, it’s true that there were about 100 Messiah groups in the first century. But it’s important to point out here that what Jesus was doing by fulfilling Old Testament prophecy was NOT the same thing as what any of these people expected. They expected Him to ride into Jerusalem and turn over the Roman Garrisons (turning right at the Eastern Gate), but Jesus turned left (toward Temple) and turned over the money changer’s tables.

      What looked like victory to the people who put out the palm branches ended up in defeat in their minds because everyone was expecting a Messiah that would conquer the Roman Empire. Jesus came to put an end to our alienation with God. There was no other Messiah cult like this. Nobody expected what Jesus did, not even His disciples at the time. The Jews were offended because the idea of a crucified Messiah was repugnant to them. But, yet, this was God’s plan of redemption all along. It was the ultimate upset.

      Why would anyone do it? Because other Messiahs tried BEFORE Jesus and they too had failed, suffered humiliation, and suffered crucifixion.

      Yes, of course. All the other (99 or so) Messiah cults in the first century failed. They all died with the death of their leader. But that’s the point. Christianity is the only one that survived its leader’s death. And considering the result of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection and its impact on the world afterward, to say it failed is delusional nonsense.

      But you are free to believe whatever story you want. 🙂

      • And considering the result of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection and its impact on the world afterward, to say it failed is delusional nonsense.

        But you are free to believe whatever story you want.

        Hahahaha. Thank you for your(?) permission to believe what I want, however, saying all that doesn’t paint the full picture Mel. I do appreciate your candor and will be happy to return it here. Also, thank you for continuing to allow my comments to post (out of Moderation) and remain on some of your posts.

        I’m not the only one who also sees the hijacking of true Jewish Messianism by the Roman Empire and Hellenistic Pauline-Apotheosis and later Church Fathers. Many historical biblical scholars see it as well and offer their versions of the same theme, e.g. Robert Eisenman, David Graf, Jonathan Sarna, and Bart Ehrman to name just four. The other point that is being overlooked is that all of your “sources” are strictly dependent or biased to YOUR church history, i.e. Hellenistic Christians or Judeo-Christians, not from the wider lens of all 1st-century CE Jewish sects or Roman Gentile/pagan sources. Then later centuries biased “reinterpretations” thru a/your Hellenistic Christological lens.

        The “impact” of a resurrection is nowhere near a factual event either, but that’s not the point we’re covering here or its debate as true has never been decided… EXCEPT, as you’ve often stated, only thru “faith.” Then there’s debate even amongst all Christians as to what exactly “faith” consists of.

        You keep saying the gospels were “4th-century canonical” as if that’s when the church decided they were inspired.

        Yes, you have your common-place version of the canonical New Testament, but there’s more. You and I both know there’s a LOT MORE behind that than most average pew-sitters know. I am trying to encourage average robotic Christians to examine for themselves the FULL historical context of how their modern bibles came into existence. More importantly that many other testimonies about Jesus and surrounding characters were also in circulation before (Messianism), during (Dead Sea Scrolls, etc) and after Jesus’ life (e.g. Gnostic testimonies). Don’t let 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th-century MEN decide for you what was being orally taught or written down about all the Jewish teachers, prophets, rebels, Messiahs, throughout the relevant Mediterranean Synagogues. However, one can be lazy and follow the crowd, and as you aptly stated, “believe whatever story you want.

        But it’s important to point out here that what Jesus was doing by fulfilling Old Testament prophecy was NOT the same thing as what any of these people expected.

        No, that is not true or at best only minimally true. Most all of Jewish Rabbis and many other well-educated Hebrew basically knew what the Messiah was going to do. What you are not sharing Mel are all the variations of Messiah throughout Jewish Messianism. I think you’d understand much better if you did an extensive study (from a Jewish perspective) of Second Temple Judaism and its Messianic Era. Their expectation wasn’t a precise checklist. This is clearly evident even with Jesus’ disciples and Jesus himself, right up until the Garden of Gethsemane! Hence, why your personal portrayal of why Jesus did it… is not congruent with all historical texts, especially Jewish Messianism.

        What looked like victory to the people…

        This paragraph is again ONE/your version — the traditional Hellenistic version/reinterpretation, and not historically sound when compared and contrasted to 1st-century NON-canonical manuscripts or pagan/Gentile Roman records of the period which I provided some up above.

        But that’s the point. Christianity is the only one that survived its leader’s death.

        I think you are missing (intentionally avoiding?) my point. Jesus’ reform movement did NOT survive. It was all but eliminated during the Jewish-Roman Wars, then totally extinguished at Masada in 70 CE. What you are calling “survived” was actually the Greco-Roman or Hellenistic Apotheosis/Christology (with Paul’s help) inline with geopolitical traditions of mythological paranormal deifications. And over the following 2-5 centuries is brutally enforced by one of history’s most lethal, highly efficient war-machines… the Roman Legions and swift retribution tactics. What you and the vast majority of Christians don’t yet know is that you have a distorted convoluted Hellenistic version of a failed Jewish Messiah/Reformer. Modern scholarship and analysis from many interdisciplinary sciences are showing compelling context of Second Temple Judaim around Jerusalem (Jesus’ timeframe) that the gospels are at least quite amputated (biased, not including other Jewish testimonies) and at worse unreliable due to their composure being decades later; they cannot possibly be eyewitness accounts because of their many errors and contradictions. In other words Mel, it is wiser to look at and examine closely ALL EXTANT evidence/sources from the time-period.

        If true open-minded, open-hearted seekers do this (look outside of Christian sources), rather than being lazy robots, they WILL see the distortions or gross distortions by the Hellenistic Roman emperors and Church Fathers over 2-5 centuries after Jesus’ death.

        Anyway, I know you are going to argue and refute my reply here (LOL), and fortunately for you I have too little time to continue discussing/debating these topics with you. I am composing an April Fool’s post for publishing tomorrow, Easter(?) Sunday. Hahaha. My sincere hope is that others don’t take any of our words for this viable history, but go find it on their own… WITH the open, fair-minded hearts you speak about Mel.

        Thank you again and have a good weekend.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Anyway, I know you are going to argue and refute my reply here (LOL), and fortunately for you I have too little time to continue discussing/debating these topics with you.

          Of course I would. I would refute almost every point you made here if I wanted to take the time. But I find it interesting that you make very long (800+ word) comments then say you don’t have time to have them cross-examined. It doesn’t matter though. Probably a waste of time anyway.

          I am composing an April Fool’s post for publishing tomorrow, Easter(?) Sunday. Hahaha.

          Yup, Easter is a perfect April fools analogy. Everybody thought Jesus was dead. Oops! April fools! Sorry…He’s alive! 🙂

          I think the joke will be on you, ultimately, but we’ll have to wait and see. I’m fine with that. But I do hope you’ll reconsider your position before then. 🙂

        • Of course I would. I would refute almost every point you made here if I wanted to take the time. But I find it interesting that you make very long (800+ word) comments then say you don’t have time to have them cross-examined. It doesn’t matter though. Probably a waste of time anyway.

          Yes, I understand. Refuting every sentence of your posts and comments would take 8,000+ words. But you and I Mel, could never adequately cover in your comment-section:

          • Second Temple Judaism
          • The Roman Empire’s history, especially the Golden Ages and start of the decline
          • Roman anti-Semitism
          • The rise of Hellenistic Christological Apotheosis (HCA) up to Constantine and Theodosius I
          • Then over 2,000 years how horribly convoluted HCA made all that history and turned into distorted history

          All of these 5 factors converge to become Christianity’s catalyst. And 800+ words are a simple breeze when the entire 4th century CE canonical Bible consists of between 726,100+ to 807,000+ depending on which of the many “versions” you read. And I’d be more than happy for ANYONE to cross-examine what I’ve commented, but in order to do so they/you MUST go do the vast legwork/homework on the subjects and do it OUTSIDE of biased Christian sources. Also, it’s not a waste of time at all to better understand the full contextual history for the average pew-sitting Christian; they should know it! But yes… not possible for either of us here on your blog-comments. Wrong format.

          Sorry…He’s alive!

          Hmmmm, assuming you haven’t physically touched the “living Jesus(?)” recently or seen him with your eyes 😉 … what tells you today that he is “alive”? And remember, we’ve discussed before that orthodoxy doesn’t make something true, and also we’ve had brief truncated discussions about General Revelation and Special Revelation. But I’m interested in your answer here about how you know he is “alive” today 1,980+ years later.

          Thank you Mel.

      • Mel – I salute your patience and agree with you 100%, but sometimes when you spend so much time replying to atheists who will never be moved, no matter how much evidence is surrounding them… does if feel as though you are trying to grasp the wind? This is an area I struggle with, and I tell myself, they may never be moved, but another reader MIGHT.

        Therein lies the hope in my opinion. Keep up the good work, Stay Strong & Stand Tall.

  4. Author Richa says:

    Utterly beautiful, especially the “The Trinitarian Vision Summary”, thank you for quoting it.
    It’s amazing how the Holy Spirit brings forth the Truth in such a way that it completely refreshes the reader.

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