As we move into our last few days together leading up to the climax of this Lent season, we cannot bypass this profound truth demonstrated in the garden. Here, Jesus faces the betrayal of His disciple and friend Judas, being handed over to endure unspeakable torture, and bearing the sins of the world while dying on a cross. His followers can’t understand it and don’t want to accept it. Yet, Jesus enters willingly into God’s plans and purposes.
For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father. John 10:17-18
The magnitude of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection cannot be measured. The Son left the glory of the heavens and the Father’s side on a rescue mission. He was chosen, commissioned, and empowered by His Father to bring back the children of the Kingdom of God! He gave Himself entirely to God’s sovereign plan, which was prophesied and recorded in the Scriptures thousands of years before His arrival. The earthly life of Jesus was one of willing submission to the will of the Father, which included unfathomable suffering and scorn. John Piper shares,
“I have to work hard in my imagination to keep before me what iron will this required. Humans recoil from suffering. We recoil a hundred times more from suffering that is caused by unjust, ugly, sniveling, low-down, arrogant people. At every moment of pain and indignity, Jesus chose not to do what would have been immediately just. He gave his back to the smiter. He gave his cheek to slapping. He gave his beard to plucking. He offered his face to spitting. And he was doing it for the very ones causing the pain.”
Jesus walked in full obedience to the Father because He had complete trust in the One who sent Him. Never once did He doubt that His Father was good, faithful and just. He knew that God was working out an eternal plan which was perfect in every way and that all would be made right in God’s timing.
When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 1 Peter 2:23
Finally, His motivation was love. First, His love for the Father, which demonstrated itself in complete obedience. Second, His love for His sheep. Radical, relentless, forever love. The love of Jesus for you and for me knew no bounds and knows no end. Whatever it takes.
When Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. John 13:1
What, then, is our response to this kind of sacrificial love? To Christ’s life of willing submission and obedience unto death on our behalf? How do we follow our Savior’s example in life and in death? Paul sums it up,
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that One has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15
Jesus, Son of God, Savior of the world,
Words cannot express our gratitude for the life You lived and the death You died.
How You came to rescue us when we could not rescue ourselves.
When we question Your plan, remind of us Your unwavering trust in the Father.
When we doubt Your love, remind us of Your suffering and death on the cross.
When we are tempted to give up, remind us that You loved us to the end.
May Your love control and compel us every day of our earthly lives.
Because You suffered to give us life eternal.
To You be the honor and the praise and the glory forever.
Held by Him,