Why did He Die?
Various theories were afloat as to how Yardmaster T. J. Wood came to lose his life. He was found on the railroad at Clopton Junction, Va., in a terribly mangled condition.
Was it a case of suicide? Or was it an accident caused by his own carelessness? Or was it murder? People had their own opinions on the subject. Some thought one thing and some another.
In due time, however, the true facts of the case were brought to light. The Yardmaster had deliberately sacrificed his life in order to save the lives of others and had died the death of a hero.
It happened like this. The “Cannon Ball Express,” the limited passenger train of the Norfolk & Western R.R. was approaching the junction, when Wood discovered that a switch leading to a string of empty cars was open. Unless something was done, in a few seconds the train would be a wreck, and the ground would be strewn with dead and dying men. So he jumped from his caboose and threw himself upon the switch. The train was saved, but the brave, self-sacrificing hero was struck by the locomotive and killed.
Various theories are also afloat as to the manner and cause of the death of One infinitely greater than the bravest of earth’s heroes. How and for what reason did Jesus die?
Unholy speculations have not been wanting as to how He died. Some have attributed His death to mere physical causes. Others more caring have asked: Did He really die upon the Cross after all, or was it only a pretended death, followed by a reviving which His followers palmed off upon the world as a genuine resurrection?
Others again, agreeing that He really died, nevertheless argue that His death was merely that of a martyr, and that He was but one among many who have sealed their testimony to the truth with their life’s blood.
From all such unholy theories and speculations we turn away. The Scriptures of truth shed a full and sufficient light upon the subject. They assure us that Christ died, and that His death was infinitely more than the death of a martyr. He died as a Substitute. His sufferings were those of a Sin-bearer. His blood has an atoning value that no other possesses. In a word, He died for us, for the ungodly, for sinners. “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree” I Peter 2:24. Surely this verse, if there were no other, is enough to show that in dying upon the Cross the Lord Jesus Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin. Those who believe in Him can say, “He died for me; He bore my sins; His Blood has cleansed me, making me whiter than snow.”
Can you say this? If not, why not?
What is the death of Christ to you? Have you staked your Soul’s eternal welfare on the merits of His Book? What other foundation can you find to rest upon? How else can sins be atoned for? But when we announce the fact of Christ having died for the ungodly we have not told the whole story. For He who died at Calvary is alive again. He has ascended to Heaven, and sits upon the throne as Lord of all. He is there to administer all the wonderful results of His death. All that Christ secured for guilty sinners by His work upon the Cross is now to be obtained in Him forgiveness, righteousness, everlasting life, peace with God. All these would have been impossible for us if Jesus had not died. But they are now all to be found in the risen Christ.
Everything for the future depends on our attitude to Him. How do you stand as to this? What is Christ to you?