Since today is Easter, the big question that came to my mind was why it was so necessary that Jesus die and be resurrected? Why couldn't God just forgo all the turmoil of the passion and just save us without all the heartache? Why was it necessary that Jesus suffer first, then be resurrected?
God could have taken a different path. He could have, for example had Jesus simply die in his sleep. At that point Jesus could have been discovered dead and then be put in a tomb and then resurrect. But that seems to diminish the real purpose for Jesus being sent to us. To have Jesus resurrect from death without all the drama and heartache of crucifixion would be to diminish what it is we as a human race endure and thereby cheapen the gloriousness of the resurrection.
I tell my boys all the time, nothing good in life comes easy. The passion and resurrection of Jesus exemplifies this notion. God knows that if this tragedy had not happened (and I use the word tragedy in the sense of a really dramatic movie or play) we as a human race would not take notice. Like any sacrament, ("an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.") Jesus' death and resurrection is that outward sign that gave us salvation; that gave us that ultimate sanctifying grace.
Isn't it interesting that in order for any life to come about, something has to die? Plants and animals have to die for us to live. In order for a child to have life, parents must kill off their independence. An athlete vying for a gold medal has to kill off all that would hinder them from wining that gold, such as desirable food, time with friends and family, entertainment replaced by hours of physical and repetitive work outs, etc. Nothing good in life comes easy and God is helping us to see that. Furthermore, love cannot be expressed by anyone without first killing off something in their lives in order to attend to the person they love. Two people who marry cannot come together as one unless they kill off their independence and selfishness. Our society cannot flourish without each of us killing off the desire to be self-satisfied and totally independent so that we can raise up a prosperous community. God could not save us from the despair of sin and evil without first allowing his only begotten son to die a most humiliating death and then rise up on the third day in glory.
I am not entirely sure why this has to happen in this way, but even scripturally this message is loud and clear. "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit." (Jn 12:24) And ... this is great news! God really proved, I mean really and truly proved he made us for a purpose. He wants us to live forever with him! Christ is risen! Alleluia!