Book review: Why did Jesus have to die?

Helen Thorne | August 4th 2014

Over the 25 years since I've become a Christian I've heard quite a few talks on the cross. I've read a few books too. And, as I've worked my way through the pages of Scripture, I've noticed it's a subject that pops up time and time again! In broad brush-strokes, at least, I get what Jesus has done for me. So why, oh why, would I spend 2 hours of my holiday reading a book about the cross from the publishing company that employs me?

The answer is simple. Our Lord's work on the cross isn't something to understand and then move on from - it's the core of our salvation, the foundation of our daily living and our hope for the future. It never gets old, it never gets dull. And that's something, Marcus Nodder author of Why did Jesus have to die? knows very well.

In his eminently readable book - part of the Questions Christians Ask series - Marcus dispels some of the myths around the cross. It's not just a logo or a great sacrifice that inspires us to try harder to live a loving and sacrificial life. Nor is it yet another dying and rising myth circulating in the ancient world. It's the best news imaginable for a lost and hurting world.

Using carefully-chosen passages from the Gospels and Isaiah, Marcus unpacks the awesomeness of God's character, the wonder of grace and the great purpose the cross brings to the life of a Christian. He looks at the physical, social and spiritual suffering of Jesus in turn and teases out just what good news it is that Jesus was willing to be our substitute. He explores questions of justice and looks at the massive benefits that justification brings. And he teases out how best to respond to the cross every day of every month of every year. Not bad for a book that fits into a pocket and can easily be read in one sitting!

If you're a new Christian (or if you're not sure if you're a Christian or not) this is a great book to get you grounded in the cross. It doesn't explain everything there is to know about the cross (that's just not possible in 92 pages) but it does touch on everything we all need to know so it would be a great way to make sure you explore the Christian faith and start your Christian life on a firm, biblical, cross-shaped footing.

But if you've been a Christian for a while, it's just as good a read. It'll remind you of great gospel-truths that never fade. And it'll challenge you to look at your heart and see if you're still trusting in the cross, wondering in the cross, picking up your cross, living out the cross and looking to the cross in ways that cause your life to overflow with humility and love. If not ... it's without doubt time to run back to the cross!

Why did Jesus have to die? Questions don't get much more important than that! So why not treat yourself to the answer this summer. To order, click HERE.

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Helen Thorne

Helen Thorne is Director of Training and Resources at Biblical Counselling UK and an experienced counsellor. She formerly worked with London City Mission and has written Purity is Possible, Walking with Domestic Abuse Suffers and 5 Things to Pray for Your City. She attends Dundonald Church in Raynes Park, London.