Jesus “Was crucified, dead, and buried..” - old words, long used. An even older statement is found in Paul’s writings:
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, NRSV).

The purpose of Jesus' coming was indicated from the outset. (See, for example, posts "Saviour"; "Lamb of God"). Jesus himself made it very plain well beforehand that his death was no tragic defeat or failure of strategy:
The reason my Father loves me is that I give up my life. But I will take it back again. No one takes it from me. I give it up myself. I have the authority to give it up. And I have the authority to take it back again. I received this command from my Father.”
The Jews who heard these words could not agree with one another. Many of them said, “He is controlled by a demon. He has gone crazy! Why should we listen to him?” (John 10: 17-20, NIRV) Too plain! What offended them so? Must have been that claim Jesus' made.
As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51, NLT). The last journey to Jerusalem was not taken lightly and easily. Jesus faced up squarely with determination to what lay ahead. He would naturally feel repelled by what he had to endure. He had also to overcome discouraging efforts by the disciples to dissuade him from the awful course which, though they did not recognise it, was necessary for our salvation. Their response to Jesus’ intention was understandable: “Teacher,” they said, “the people there want to stone you to death! Why do you want to go back?” (John 11:8, CEV). Why indeed would he do it? He was resolute.

So they went. Just prior to his arrest in the garden Jesus had a personal crisis to face. This is surely because of the nature of the death he was to die. (Not the form of execution, ugly and hateful though it was.)
And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.”[a] And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:32-36, ESV) The salvation of we humans was the decider. Repugnant though the "hour" was, Jesus did not "bail out".

Even if it was a hopeless cause, at the crunch, perhaps in the heat of the moment, Peter still thought physical resistance was possible. Neither he nor the others could grasp what their Christ was doing, or how come God would let such a thing stand. Peter was armed - did he (they) think maybe just a little resistance was needed...? Weapon drawn - and used!
Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shouldn’t I drink the cup of suffering the Father has given me?”
Then the group of soldiers, their commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They tied him up (
John 18:11-12, NIRV)  (The four Gospels mention the slave's ear and use the most frequent NT word for the "sword"- a word which would suit a smaller blade, more capable of being concealed.)

Peter's action was rash and hopeless. Surely wielding the sword or even carrying it, connects to what the eleven did next - they all fled - and to Jesus being tied up as though dangerous. (If the officers were Romans, it is a wonder Peter, at least, was not rapidly dispatched. I wonder, did Judas know of the weapons?) Events took their course and Jesus' execution on the cross was implemented in a travesty of Roman justice. Just one more little barbarian disturbance "resolved" with military efficiency.

All of the Gospels, each in their own way, report the moment of Jesus’ expiry. In those final moments Jesus uttered a desolate cry in the words of Psalm 22. The cry is recorded in Aramaic with translation added. (I think that is an indication that Aramaic had been the birth language in the Nazareth home.) Matthew and Mark have closely similar versions; here is Matthew's:
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46, ESV)
In the context of the moment Mark has the simple conclusion:
Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last (Mark 15:37, NRSV).
John adds a poignant utterance to his record - which provokes thought - what had just happened?
When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:37, NRSV). Abandoned? (The words come from Psalm 22.)  How could God abandon him? What was finished or completed? Read on, please.

Did Jesus really die? The governor received a prompt request for Jesus’ dead body. We read his surprised response in Mark:
Pilate couldn’t believe that Jesus was already dead, so he called for the Roman officer and asked if he had died yet. The officer confirmed that Jesus was dead, so Pilate told Joseph he could have the body. (Mark 15:44-45, NLT)
By allowing the bodies to be removed immediately Pilate was respecting Jewish desires. From John we learn that there were other factors at work and there was further evidence of Jesus being declared dead (and thus incidentally preserving his leg bones):
The next day would be both a Sabbath and the Passover. It was a special day for the Jewish people,[a] and they did not want the bodies to stay on the crosses during that day. So they asked Pilate to break the men’s legs[b] and take their bodies down. The soldiers first broke the legs of the other two men who were nailed there. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, and they did not break his legs.
One of the soldiers stuck his spear into Jesus' side, and blood and water came out. We know this is true, because it was told by someone who saw it happen. Now you can have faith too. All this happened so that the Scriptures would come true, which say, “No bone of his body will be broken” and, “They will see the one in whose side they stuck a spear.”(John 19:31-37, CEV)
Thus, the experienced executioners of the Roman army of occupation were clearly convinced, at the level of legionary, and of centurion, that Jesus was dead.

But what if Jesus was dead and his followers stole his body to fake a resurrection? This was a fear of the Jewish authorities behind the execution. (The intervention of Joseph may have been to their advantage, for a rock-cut tomb offered more security than a trench or shaft burial.) The Jewish authorities anticipated a trick and had a tomb guard posted. Matthew records this, and then the aftermath:
While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city. They reported to the chief priests all that had happened. When the chief priests met with the elders, they came up with a plan. They gave the soldiers a large amount of money. They told the soldiers, “We want you to say, ‘His disciples came during the night. They stole his body while we were sleeping.’ If the governor hears this report, we will pay him off. That will keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were told. This story has spread all around among the Jews to this day. (Matthew 28: 11-15, NIRV)
They certainly must have had to pay off the governor if the guards were spared even though there was a report of a body lost from Roman control. Some cover up! Just the same, no suggestion made but that Jesus had died.

One prominent contemporary Jerusalem figure who must have been completely convinced Jesus had died on that cross was a man from Tarsus, named Saul. He had to be shocked to the core of his zealous being when the risen Jesus intervened in Saul's murderous plan to deal with the followers. In his writings subsequently, Saul, now known as Paul, said over and over that Jesus had indeed died but this was no ordinary political execution. Rather, Paul said things like this:
The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. (Romans 6:10, NRSV). Yes, indeed, it was finished on that cross. "The death" was truly a death as any other death. But, - a death to sin - that is unique.

Why did Jesus die "once for all"? I wrote a post “Lamb of God” which alludes to that topic. For now, look again at what happened in the last pre-execution gathering of the followers and Jesus:
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:26-28, ESV)
Body and blood. There is no question that the alive Jesus was standing in front of them saying these words, so a simple literal understanding of them is impossible. (At an earlier moment recorded by John the hearers were agitated to hear comparable ideas - see John 6:50-58.)
Tremendous benefits flow to the “many” by virtue of Jesus’ death "for our sins", in fact for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus is very clear on that. There is far, far more to Jesus dying than a miscarriage of justice arising from the jealous exercise of oppressive power. In a process that is beyond expectation, forgiveness can flow to rebels such as us. God makes a (new) covenant (agreement) with all who will enter it.

Paul put it this way: But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”[a] Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised[b] Holy Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:13-14, NLT) Jesus had taken the curse which is our due; he had drunk the cup given him by the Father. What is the significance of that?

The same Paul wrote another time with a focus on the marvellous revelation of God’s righteousness in the significance of what Jesus did:
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:22-26, ESV)
So - the call was to trust Jesus and embrace and take up the endless benefits of his real death. That is still the opportunity today. The possibility is there for all, with no distinction - no matter who we are or what we have been like. You and I can trust him on that. There is redemption in Christ. Wrath is met. The "slate" is "blank".

Here is a succinct statement on the benefits of Jesus death to "us":
He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God. (Romans 4:25, NLT) This must throw daylight on Jesus' cry from the cross about being abandoned by God. (See also Galatians 3, above, and 2 Corinthians 5:21)

Is there a better way to round off thinking about the real reason for Jesus' death than the familiar truth: “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[a] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17, NLT). In the light of God not sparing his own son, that very Christ who loves his own, John's assurance is backed up by Paul:
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.[w] Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (Romans 8:31-35, NRSV)

But, really - why all the big deal? God is God, so why didn’t God just cancel out the whole thing, wipe the slate clean and let peace reign? Sounds reasonable? Jesus did not see it that way. The information above is not the imposition of human agents seeking to oppress and manipulate people. Not at all. How did Jesus see it?
God gave the Son (for the "world")
the Father gave the cup to the Son
Jesus gave his life a ransom for "many"
Jesus gave his life - it was not taken from him
Jesus took the cup

Jesus taught a choice between two alternatives; the requirement of a right choice; a choice for people like myself and yourself (ie, people who have heard), a choice with consequences unending. For example, please consider these less-well-known parts from Jesus' otherwise famous "Sermon on the Mount". Note that the option for life is there and the choice is critical.
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy[d] that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13-14, NRSV)
Wide and easy vs narrow and hard. Jesus said those who seek find.

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27, NLT)
Following and standing vs disobeying and collapsing. God's Spirit gives power and needed capacity.

Many songs, old and new, relate and refer to Jesus' death; below are YouTube references to a few telling examples (in one some folk find difficulty in the use of a word/concept scarce in Gospels; in another some note the lack of inclusive language):
And can it be 
Amazing love
How deep
In Christ alone

Non-Biblical re Jesus' Death
Various hostile references apparently support the New Testament insistence on Jesus’ "judicial" early death. A Jewish writer, Flavius Josephus, (37/38 AD-100 AD) in Rome some time after the fall (70 AD) of Jerusalem  wrote of Pilate having condemned Jesus to a cross (Antiquities, XVIII, 63-64.
A Roman author, Cornelius Tacitus (56 AD-c.120 AD), wrote about a fire in Rome which took place in 64 AD during the reign of Nero. In Annals 15.44 he tells that Nero wanted to place blame on the disparaged Christians and refers their name to a man, “Christus”, who had been executed by the sentence of Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius.
Pliny the Younger (Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, c61-c.113) sought advice from his Emperor on dealing with accusations of Christianity. Clearly, as indicated in Acts (26:28) term “Christian” was known in official circles that early. These records from antiquity may be researched on the internet - there are modern commentators who reject them, or their relevance.

Scripture quotations marked (CEV) are from the Contemporary English Version Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society, Used by Permission.
Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked (NIRV) are taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL READER'S VERSION®.Copyright © 1996, 1998 Biblica. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of Biblica.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked (NRSV) are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Note: Bible text sourced through I retain in the publishers' text the references to footnotes where they occur. You can check them out by viewing the text on-line. Often they are replicated in different translations.

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