Reflecting on this day, I had some thoughts that perhaps we all could consider, as we contemplate the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. Let's contemplate the question: Who did Jesus die for?
1.) Jesus died for the Father
Isaiah 53:10 - "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." (ESV)
It was the will of the Father to crush the Son. God's ultimately holiness requires a payment for sin, no matter how small the sin is. But the sheer fact of the matter is that the sin of the world would require a perfect sacrifice. The world needed a sacrifice that was pure and blameless. And in obedience, the Son went to the Cross. Jesus died in obedience to the Father.
2.) Jesus died for the World
1 John 2:2 - "He (Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (ESV)
Jesus, on the Cross, died for the world. Through Jesus' death on the Cross, the gift of salvation became open to the world. Just as God had once related to/with Israel, the Cross would mean that God relates to/with the world. It is also no mystery that Christianity, brought forth by Jesus on the Cross, has led to a torrent of grace, also to the nonbelievers. One could argue that Western literacy has increased to what it is now due to the spread of Christianity, as more commoners yearned to read the Bible.
3.) Jesus died for the Church
2 Corinthians 5:21 - "For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him, we might become the righteousness of God." (ESV)
Jesus on the Cross signified a new identity for the believers of God. Replacing Israel came the Church of Jesus Christ. Jesus' death signified a new collective of believers, not marked by culture or nationality, but a collective of believers marked by one thing. Jesus' death brought forth a peoples marked by faith in the work and person of Jesus Christ known as the Church.
4.) Jesus died for you
Isaiah 53:6 - "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (ESV)
Jesus died specifically for us, in the sense that He died for OUR sins. Jesus didn't simply die for the collective sin. He also died for each and single one of our sins. When Jesus Christ went to the Cross, how many of our sins were future sins? Jesus died for the sins we committed yesterday, today, and will commit tomorrow. In dying for our sins personally, He died to pay the debt for our sins.
Jesus' death has many different implications. In dying, He was supremely obedient to the Father. In dying, He showed how deep and wide His love is.
But if Jesus simply died and was buried, all we can do is count Him as a religious, moral teacher among the likes of Confucius, Gandhi, and the Buddha.
However, the only thing that truly "vindicates" Jesus as the Lord of all things is His resurrection.