First, read thru the following post:
All done? If you followed my instructions, you’ll have just read about how Jesus suffered and was mocked while being crucified. And how He even intentionally increased the pain in order to fully take in the sorrow of sin.
This brings me to my point for this post: Do you realize how incredibly great Jesus’ self control, determination and discipline must have been as He allowed Himself to be arrested, tortured, mocked and murdered?
Yes, Jesus ALLOWED all this to be done to Him. Just read the following verses from the Matthew 26:47-54:
While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.”
Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.”
Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
As Jesus was chained and beaten, as He was spat at and jeered by the Sanhendrin court, as He was being viciously flogged and His flesh torn to shreds, as He dragged the cross beam to Golgotha, as He lay dying on the cross for hours…
Jesus was still God in human form.
With all the limitless power still at His disposal, the same power which long ago created the 3-followed-by-52-zeroes mass of the entire universe in a split second just by His speaking.
With an army of mighty angels awaiting His slightest gesture to smite the sinners who were despising the King of Heaven, the same angels who could kill every firstborn in Egypt, blind every man in Sodom, and confuse the pagan armies into killing themselves.
With every opportunity, up to the very last second before He died, to heal Himself of all His wounds, turn the Romans and Pharisees to ashes, and reign over Jerusalem, Israel and the world as a conquering Messiah… As Simon Zealotes is protrayed as asking Him to in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar:
There must be over fifty thousand
Screaming love and more for you
And everyone of fifty thousand
Would do whatever you asked them to
Keep them yelling their devotion
But add a touch of hate at Rome
You will rise to a greater power
We will win ourselves a home!
You’ll get the power and the glory
For ever and ever and ever!
It didn’t even have to be so dramatic and overawesome. Jesus could simply have refused to let them arrest and crucify Him in the first place, and settle down to a quiet life of marriage – as the plot of the film The Last Temptation of Christ goes.
But He didn’t. Instead, Jesus chose the most noble, unselfish path of all – to be humiliated, and to die for our sins.
The very first original temptation and sin mankind committed, to be like God (see bottom of of this post), is the very right that Jesus willingly surrendered, continuously and conciously kept on surrendering, in order to die for our sins.
In fact, we see a foreshadowing of this in Abraham’s test to sacrifice his son Isaac – Isaac would have been a young man by then, fully capable of resisting and overpowering a hundred-plus year old man. Yet Isaac ended up bound and tied – he must have knowingly let himself be prepared for death.
Like a rose, trampled on the ground… The very act of humility that some religious people think is too lowly for Almighty God to undergo is the very act of incredible honour and majesty that defines a truly Awesome God.
Mercy is not weakness. On the contrary, it takes true strength to show mercy.
A weak and unskilled gunslinger would not dare spare his enemy’s life, but the unbeatable cowboy in the white hat will always give his nemesis one last chance because he is confident he can draw and shoot fast enough o respond to any sudden aggression.
Jesus knew He could beat all the odds, and every temptation thrown at Him – including the very basic, very understandable urge to not let Himself, the ruler of all creation, be killed unjustly for the sake of evil, disgusting people like ourselves.
Thank Him today, that He never once gave in to the urge to do what was immediately just and right… At the cost of what would be eternally loving.
(Alternate snarky ending: Thank Him today, that He did not give in to the urge to cast Summon Angel Slaughterfest.)