Was Jesus a martyr?
The definition of a martyr is one who is killed because of his religious beliefs. This definition cannot be used to describe Jesus’ death, because Jesus was not killed for His religious beliefs. The Bible testifies that Jesus died because the Father determined to put His Son to death to pay for the sins of the world, as Isaiah explains:
Scripture says plainly that the Lord (i.e., the Father) caused the iniquity of humanity to fall upon Jesus – which is a reference to Jesus taking the sins of the world on Himself as He died on a cross. A martyr dies for his own sake as a result of persecution. That was not the reason for Jesus’ death.
Furthermore, Jesus said plainly that He was voluntarily going to the cross in obedience to the Father, not because He was persecuted:
Jesus says no one has taken His life from Him, which is the definition of martyrdom. Rather, Jesus voluntarily gave up His life on the cross. Therefore, Jesus’ death does not fit the definition of the word. Just as Jesus Himself cannot be compared to any other person, since He is the only begotten Son of God, so was His death wholly unique and incomparable to any other death in human history.