This book by John Piper was written in 2004 and is subtitled Fifty Reasons Why He Came to Die. It is broken into 50 short chapters and can easily be used as a devotional or apologetic resource. Each chapter poses a question about God’s purpose in Jesus’ death. The objective of this book is to respond to questions people may have concerning the reason for the suffering and death of Jesus. Why did Jesus come to die? Not, how He died.
The book is somewhat of a response to Mel Gibson’s movie, Passion of the Christ, which shows the suffering of Christ, but, does not address why He suffered. The bodily suffering of Christ was not exclusive. Many people through history have died equally agonizing physical deaths. While Jesus’ physical pain should never be forgotten, it is His separation from God, His endurance for others, His ultimate sacrifice and His substitutionary punishment that Piper tries to communicate. God’s design is the primary issue.
On the cross Jesus completed the work God sent Him to accomplish. His resurrection was confirmation that God was pleased with what had been achieved. This book is about the passion of Jesus and what it accomplished for humankind. Piper’s book is a good resource for nonbelievers, skeptics, new believers and seasoned Christians.
Markedly more significant than who killed Jesus or the details of His death is what God accomplished for sinners like us in sending His Son to suffer and die. Piper does a fine job of conveying that message.