Why Did Christ Suffer Crucifixion?

By His Eminence Metropolitan Panteleimon of Koroneia

Crucifixion, fresco from Church of the Holy Virgin, Monastery of Studenica, 1208
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our infirmities, but we have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are — yet He did not sin" (Heb. 4:15).

The High Priest of the Old Testament entered the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Jerusalem once a year to offer a sacrifice of atonement. Christ is the Great High Priest, who “entered without seed and exited without corruption” (Elias Meniatis) from the womb of the Panagia and offered the sacrifice of Himself on the Cross. Not to satisfy Divine Justice. God the Father is not a strict and uncompromising judge, Who seeks to punish sinful man and punishes him in the person of His incarnate Son, but He is an affectionate Father. And the God-man Lord, as man, hungered and thirsted and hurt and was crucified. Why? The Apostle Peter answers this for the faithful: “Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps” (1 Pet. 2:21). To “follow in His steps” means, among other things, to not be indignant against God in the difficulties of life and to not despair because Christ is by my side. “Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb. 2:18). He has guaranteed for this the eternal symbol of His love – the Cross – that unites us with God. Therefore, by experiencing and overcoming our personal Cross we walk through Christ towards the Father. “We hold to the Cross as our sail and so we can set upon the journey without fear” (St. Synklitiki).

Source: Excerpt from a sermon preached on March 23, 2014. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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