Purpose in Death


But you, O Lord, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog!
Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!

I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him. Psalm 22:19-24 ESV

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:10-12 ESV


Gus Grissom was an American astronaut who worked for NASA. In 1965 he orbited the earth on the spacecraft Gemini III and did some experiments while he was in orbit. Grissom believed in the American space program and thought that it was very important work. He also knew that it was risky, and that he could die. He once said, “If we die, we want people to accept it. We’re in a risky business, and we hope that if anything happens to us it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life.” Sadly, he did die on another mission. He and two other men went into the spacecraft Apollo I in 1967, but during the pre-flight test the Apollo I burst into flames and all three of them died. Gus Grissom died for something he believed in and something he felt was worth dying for. He knew that his death was for the cause of conquering space.

Psalm 22 talks about the horrible death the promised Savior would suffer, but near the end of the psalm the mood changes. It says that God didn’t despise the suffering of the promised Savior, and that God didn’t hide his face from him forever. There is reason to be glad and praise God, because the suffering he went through was to accomplish a purpose. That purpose was to carry the sins of all people so that they could be forgiven. Because of what the promised Savior did, he will live and see many people come to God and become part of his family.

We know that Jesus is the promised Savior, and that his purpose in dying was to forgive our sins and bring us back to God. Jesus’ death on the cross speaks to God for our forgiveness, and it makes us God’s children. Jesus didn’t stay dead, but instead he rose again on the first Easter, and now he is alive forever. Jesus has the joy of seeing many people come to him to be part of his family. His death on the cross was the beginning of a triumph that will last for all time.


Dear Jesus, thank you for your victory for us on the cross and for the forgiveness and life you won for us. Amen.