Question: Was it God’s plan from the beginning for Jesus to die on the cross for the sins of mankind?
Yes it was God’s plan from the beginning to send his Son to die on the cross for the sins of mankind. God is omniscient – He knows everything. Before He laid the foundations of the world, He already knew that man would sin and perish without His help. Therefore He already prepared a plan of salvation – a way for us to be reconciled with God through His son Jesus Christ our only Mediator and Intercessor.
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:1 Pet 1:19-21
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:Eph 3:9-11
10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
Progressive revelation of God’s plan in the Bible
God not only prepared this plan of salvation but made it known to man also. From the very beginning, God started revealing this great plan in His Word. The Bible is Christo-centric, that is, the main theme of the Bible is Jesus Christ. From the very beginning, we see the promise of a Saviour. When Adam the first man sinned, God told him that He would provide a Saviour who would crush the serpent’s head (destroy Satan’s power).
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed, it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heelGen 3:15
As we proceed through the books of the Bible, we see a progressive revelation of Jesus Christ throughout the Old Testament, that is, more details of the Saviour referred to in Genesis above are revealed. God makes a covenant with Abraham that the Messiah would come through their lineage – which extends to his son Isaac and later to Jacob and Judah. King David received a promise from God that there would be a King in his lineage who will sit on the throne forever. The Old Testament sacrifice system was a ‘type’ of the sacrifice that Jesus would one day make for the sins of mankind. The Law showed people that the punishment for sin is death and that they had to sacrifice an innocent lamb to pay for their own sin. This sacrificial system instituted by God for His people pointed to the coming Christ, the Lamb of God, who would one day die in our place to pay for the sins of all mankind.
Similarly, throughout the Old Testament there are over 300 prophecies regarding Christ, His coming as a Man, His death, burial and resurrection. Christ has fulfilled all of these prophecies regarding His first coming and He will fulfill the rest during His second coming in the end times and subsequent rule over the Earth.
Christ makes it known that His purpose is to die on the cross for the sins of the world.
Jesus Christ is God. He is the second person of the trinity. He is the Lord of Lords through whom the universe was created and yet He chose to leave His glory aside and come to Earth as a man in order to save us.
“5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Therefore, Christ knew very well why He had come to Earth. He told his disciples this more than once:
“Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”
“And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:
23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.”
Mat 20:17 “And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them,
18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,
19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.”
…and many other verses where Jesus openly said He would die: Mark 8:31-33; Mark 9:30-32; Mark 10:32-34; Luke 9:22; Luke 9:44-45; Luke 18:31-33.
Of course, his disciples did not understand this until after His death and resurrection. Just like the other Jews, they were hoping for a messiah who would deliver them from the oppression of their enemies and establish a new kingdom. After His death, His disciples were sad, saying:
“And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel:”
But Jesus’ plan on Earth was not to overthrow the prevailing Roman kingdom (in fact Jesus Himself commanded that we obey authorities and rulers). The main purpose of His earthly ministry was not to teach people God’s law, take care of the poor or even to heal them. Yes He did all that, but most of all He was concerned with our spiritual condition. Mankind is dead in their sins and separated from God. Yet His love for us is so great that He came to save us from our sins even though we do not deserve it. He came to pay the price for sin, so that everyone who believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Jesus again explained this plan to His disciples after His resurrection:
“Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
“And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
We hope this answer helps you understand that it was God’s plan from the beginning for Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. Read the whole of God’s plan of salvation for you personally here.