Jesus’ death did not take him by surprise. There is something that gets my heart beating about the statement, “His face was set toward Jerusalem” (Luke 9:53). Jesus was determined to die for his people. In his ministry the Jewish longing of the exodus was becoming a reality; he was gathering a renewed people around himself. And the Messiah would die for the sins of his people, for his sheep. Jesus warned that if people didn’t repent, especially Israel, they would face imminent judgment and would perish. But Jesus would bear the judgment of his followers on himself. He would become to true sacrifice bearing the wrath of his Father. N.T. Wright says:
"Jesus, then, went to Jerusalem not just to preach, but to die…Jesus believed that the messianic woes were about to burst upon Israel, and that he had to take them upon himself, solo. In the Temple and the upper room, Jesus deliberately enacted two symbols, which encapsulated his whole work and agenda. The first symbol said: The present system is corrupt and recalcitrant. It is ripe for judgment. But Jesus is the Messiah, the one through whom YHWH, the God of all the world, will save Israel and thereby the world. And the second symbol said: this is how the true exodus will come about. This is how evil will be defeated. This is how sins will be forgiven." (Wright, The Challenge of Jesus, 91).
I love Christianity. Through Christ I can be apart of God’s renewed people, the returned-from-exile ones, and have my sins forgiven by the penal substitutionary death of Christ. Christ is the new temple where humanity can meet with God.