I woke up this morning and tears of gratitude filled my eyes as I thought about what Jesus went through for me – his death on the cross.
I thought about how, despite knowing why He had come as a man, He faced the impending suffering with dread and if it were possible, He would have chosen a different way to save us, but this was the only way and He submitted to the plan (Mark 14:32-36).
I think even now about all that He suffered –
• the physical and verbal abuse before the cross;
• the physical pain from the crucifixion as the huge nails were hammered into his hands and feet, and as he hung there on the cross;
• the internal pain of being separated from His Father.
In my opinion, the last suffering must have been the worst! This is a relationship that had been in eternity, outside of time, and continued into the framework of time when Jesus became a man. Yet because Jesus became sin for us, He became repugnant to God for those hours on that day – what we celebrate as Good Friday. If nothing else demonstrates to us God’s utter hatred of sin, this should. This should cause us who have been redeemed by Jesus’s precious blood to hate sin ourselves.
Like everyone else, today, I’m celebrating the amazing, unfailing love God has for me that made Him cause His Son to suffer in this way to pay the penalty for my sins and provide a bridge for access to Him – a relationship with Him through Jesus.
No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:39 NLT
I’m also celebrating the Son who loved me enough to go through all that He did. For those who think He did it only out of duty or obedience, here are some verses to show that He did it out of love, too.
and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world. All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us.Revelation 1:5 NLT
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.1 John 3:16 NIV
I’m so thankful for this love and the obedience Jesus demonstrated – the submission to the will of the Father even when His own will as a man, at that point, was different. His entire life on earth was one of submission to the Father –
So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. …. I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it.John 5:19; 12:49 NLT
So, it’s really no surprise that when push came to shove, He could put His own will (to not go through this suffering and pain) aside and accept the Father’s will.
In an era where suffering is avoided at all costs and the goal of life appears to be one’s own happiness, Jesus stands out as an example of the opposite. From Him, we learn that we don’t live for ourselves but for God and for others. Ironically, a life lived in this way is much happier and more fulfilled than one chasing personal happiness. Jesus suffered and it was through His suffering that we are able to receive salvation.
8 Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. 9 In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him.Hebrews 5:8-9 NLT
Jesus is our example of obedience to God and His salvation is for those who obey Him. It is not enough to say we believe what He did on the cross – that He is our Saviour, but we must obey Him as our Lord. Here is what He said we, too, must do:
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.Luke 9:23 NIV
Rather than trying to explain what my cross and yours are, I will share a couple of other translations of this verse which should help explain.
Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.Luke 9:23 NLT
And He said to all, If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [[disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, refuse and give up himself] and take up his cross daily and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also].Luke 9:23 AMPC
So as we celebrate Jesus’s death on the cross for us, let us recommit to dying daily for Him – to give up our own ways and desires for His. Let us also determine in our minds that if we need to die physically – be matryed – for Him, we will submit to His will as He submitted to the Father’s will.