An illuminating post by Brian Zahnd:

How did Jesus understand his own death?
What meaning did Jesus give to his crucifixion?
Did Jesus have a “theology of the cross”?

Jesus repeatedly predicted his own death by crucifixion to his inner-circle of disciples, but did Jesus ever speak about what it meant?

Yes. In Jerusalem a few days before Good Friday Jesus said this in reference to his impending crucifixion:

Now is the judgment of the world.
Now will the ruler of the world be cast out.
And when I am lifted up from the earth—
I will draw all people to myself.

–John 12:31, 32

Jesus says his crucifixion (seen in the light of resurrection) does three things…

1. Judges the world.
2. Reorganizes humanity.
3. Drives out the satan.

More…. HT to Scot McKnight.