Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away. And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of the Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'He said, "I am the King of the Jews."'" Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written." John 19:16-22
Why did Jesus have to die? He died so our sins could be forgiven, and so we could live forever with God. In Romans 3:23 the Bible says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." From the beginning, since the fall of man in the garden of Eden, everyone is born sinful and separated from God.
God is perfect and holy and in Him there is no sin. Our sin keeps us separated from God. It's as if there is a big canyon or gulf (of sin) between us and God that we can never cross on our own. There are many ways in which we try to get across that gulf...being good, going to church, tithing, obeying those in authority over us. But no matter how hard we try, we always fall short...no one is good all the time, or obeys all the time, or is perfect. Since God is holy, he must punish all sin with death. In Romans 6:23, the Bible says, "For the wages of sin is death..."
There you have it, a bleak outlook indeed. Death. Sin = Death.
Now for the good news! God the Father provided a way for us to escape the punishment of our sin. Only one way. Many falsely believe that there are many ways to heaven, but God clearly states there is only one way. He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die in our place. Jesus received the death sinners like us deserve. Because Jesus is the perfect Son of God, only He could be punished in the place of sinners like us! By His death on the cross, Jesus built a bridge for believers across the canyon of sin and separation.
When we as Christians think of the nails that were pounded through Jesus' body into the cross, of course we should be heartbroken about our sins that put Him there. But shouldn't we also be filled with wild abandon and joy because He died for us, to free us? And because we know that we have been given eternal life through Christ's suffering and death? He was pierced through for our transgressions! Can you say Hallelujah?