Monday, March 26, 2012

Jesus Decided to Die For You (Revisited)


Today I am going to revisit Friday's post.  I think it is too important of a post to not develop just a little bit more.  The idea is that Jesus decided to die for our sins.  I will begin where I left off. 
And He said, "Abba, Father, all things [are] possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You [will]."  Mark 14:36 NKJV
It is at this glorious moment where Jesus submits to the Father in the trial that was to come.  Jesus could have said many things at this point. He could have refused.  He could have decided to just hit the "Reset" button and create earth all over again.  He could have just returned to Heaven and said "never mind."  As God, there was an infinite selection of things He could have done differently.  The difference is that of all those infinite choices, only one would result in our redemption.  In that, and out of His love for us as unworthy and sinful as we are, He chose the way of Cross and the salvation of all of us who called upon Him as Lord. 

Just in case you are of the mind to disagree, let me show you how gloriously true this is.  Let us look at a few arguments people can make.  The first argument would be that it was not the will of Jesus to go to the Cross, but the Father's and that Jesus was only acquiescing to the will of the Father.  In fact, they may even use Mark 14 as their proof.   The Bible, however, teaches differently. 
But Jesus said to him, "Friend, why have you come?" Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. And suddenly, one of those [who were] with Jesus stretched out [his] hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. But Jesus said to him, "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. "Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?"   Matthew 26:50-54 NKJV
This is the moment Jesus was arrested.  Judas betrayed Jesus and the men grab hold of Jesus to arrest Him.  Peter, in impulse more than forethought, takes out his sword and strikes the ear of one of the men arresting Jesus.  What Jesus says next shows that Jesus chose to go to the Cross.  He told Peter that if He desires, God would send an army of angels to rescue him from these few men.  Considering it was only one angel who wiped out the entire Assyrian army, more than twelve legions of angels would have been more than enough to take care of a few servants.   That many angels would have been a force capable of subduing and occupying the entire world.  Instead, Jesus heals the servant and chooses to allow those men to arrest Him. 

The next argument might be that Jesus did not choose to die, but was put to death and that death was counted for our sins.  Again, Scripture tells a different story.
Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.  John 10:17-18 NKJV
If Jesus did not choose to die, no one would have been able to take His life.  No man has the power to kill Jesus, only Jesus could lay down His own life.  That is important to understand.  Jesus did not die because the high priest wrongly convicted Him at an illegal trial.  Jesus did not die because Pilate condemned Him to die.  Jesus did not die because the Roman guards nailed Him to the cross.  Jesus did not die because the Jews shouted to crucify Him.  Jesus died because He laid down His life for our sakes.  Jesus died because He decided to lay down His life as punishment for our sins.  Jesus died by His own will.  He may not have convicted Himself, scourged Himself, or nailed Himself to the Cross, but He allowed it, and He allowed it for our sakes. 

Finally, one other argument that may be brought up by the verses I cited.  That argument is that Jesus was a victim of prophesy.  He was prophesied to die and so He never really had a choice.  The Bible, once again, sheds light on this argument.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14 NKJV
Was Jesus a victim of prophesy in that He was prophesied to die and therefor had to die?  Yes, He was.  But, Jesus is the Word made flesh.  In other Words, Jesus, as God, wrote the Word that prophesied His death.  Do not miss how amazing that is.  Jesus wrote His own death.  Jesus set His own fate in order before the foundations of the earth.  Jesus, knowing He was going to die for us, created us.  Jesus knowing how His life on earth would end, decided to be born into this world.  Jesus did not come to earth and grow attached to us then decide to die for us, Jesus decided to die for us before He was born.  In fact, He decided to die for us before Adam was created.  In fact, Jesus decided to die for us before Creation even began.  Before we even existed, He knew what would have to be done for our redemption.  Before He created us, He knew we would fail Him,  If you ever had any doubt as to how much Jesus loves you, just remember that fact.  Before earth was even formed, Jesus decided to create you and die to redeem you.  Before you committed your first sin, Jesus suffered and died for all your sins.  That is the measure of His love.  Despite your failures, despite your blasphemy, despite the fact that you would spend a good part of your life caring absolutely nothing about Jesus, He loved you enough to create you and then to suffer and die to redeem you.  That is love and a kind of love far above and beyond what our mortal minds can comprehend.  No matter how far you fall or how much you fail God, never forget that His love is always greater than your failure. 
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8 NKJV

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