As we follow the events that led to Jesus’ death, we have to be dismayed by the dramatic change in circumstances from Sunday to Friday. Sunday Jesus was hailed as Savior and heir apparent to the throne of David. Overnight Thursday into Friday he has been betrayed, arrested, abandoned, lied about, beaten, whipped, and mocked. Friday he was nailed to a cross for public humiliation and execution.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6–8)
Why did Jesus allow all this to happen to him? These events came as no surprise. He foresaw them, and warned his disciples four times that these things would happen to him when they went up to Jerusalem.
Cyril of Alexandria, a theologian and bishop who died in 444 AD, give us some insight.
Christ’s Human Nature Had to Feel What We Feel
Only the death of the Savior could bring an end to death, and it is the same for each of the other sufferings of the flesh too. Unless he had felt dread, human nature could not have become free from dread. Unless he had experienced grief, there could have never been any deliverance from grief. Unless he had been troubled and alarmed, there would have been no escape from these feelings.
Every one of the emotions to which human nature is liable can be found in Christ. The emotions of his flesh were aroused, not that they might gain the upper hand, as indeed they do in us, but in order that when aroused they might be thoroughly subdued by the power of the Word dwelling in the flesh, human nature as a whole thus undergoing a change for the better. Commentary on the Gospel of John 8.
These things happened because of God’s love and plan to deal not just with our sin, but with every aspect of what it means to be human.
Thank you, Jesus, for your courage and love. Change us from the inside out by the power of your love for us. Amen.
Pastor Mark loves his wife and grown children, the Word of God, and words. And coffee, chocolate chip cookies, Apple products, small video projects, and the New England Patriots.