In the Bible (and in the biblical era), the concept of “sonship” is an important one. A son is more than an heir to the possessions of his father – there are titles, rights, and responsibilities that come particularly to a firstborn (or only) son. The understanding or claim that Jesus was (is) the only begotten Son of God puts Jesus on equal footing with God – and to many of his first century audience, this was a scandalous claim. Judaism has an understanding of the sacred that may seem foreign to many Christians – they treat even God’s name with the utmost care and respect. For a living, breathing human being to claim to be God’s Son was blasphemy, and those who called for Jesus’ execution did so with the intention of safeguarding that which is sacred:
“We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God.” -John 19:7
While on the one hand, Jesus’ death came about for these very real reasons, the fact is that those who made up the mob crying out crucify him! couldn’t possibly have understood what was happening. Certainly, Jesus was sentenced to death on a cross for claiming to be God’s son – but He died for a much bigger reason – one which dramatically impacts our claim to live as God’s children. [Read more…] about Why did Jesus have to die?