Listen to Nancy’s answer recorded live on Moody radio, here:
The death and resurrection of Jesus was not the idea of the Pharisees or the Romans. God had orchestrated the death of His Son Jesus before the beginning of time. He announced His plan of a Redeemer after Adam and Eve sinned against Him. Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” The ultimate seed of the woman would be Jesus. The Messiah, The Promised One would be from the woman’s seed, which indicates the eventual virgin birth of Christ.
God is faithful and held to His word. Jesus showed His true heart of love, grace, and humility, by willingly coming to earth as a man, knowing that He would suffer, die a horrific death and live again as the Savior of the world.
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in Heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5-10).
The idea of a man dying for those who hate Him is a love that none of us can understand. There is nothing in our human ability to love that approaches God’s love for us. Who of us would die for the ungodly, for the worse of sinners, or our enemies? Only Jesus. Not only was He willing, but He did just that.
“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person, though perhaps for a good person one would dare to die, but God shows his love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7–8).
Jesus was always focused on loving and saving humankind from the penalty of eternal death for their sins. We see this recorded in the scriptures as He lived, taught, and performed many miracles during His time on planet earth. He wanted people to know that He is God and that He cares deeply for them, even for those who tried to kill Him. When the time came for Jesus to fulfill the prophesies of his death and resurrection, Jesus arranged to have His last supper with them. Jesus told them it was time for the Father and for Him to be glorified, meaning that it was time for God’s greatness, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love to be made clear not only to his followers, but to the world.
After supper, they went to the Garden of Gethsemane so Jesus could pray to His Father. His heart was heavy but full of love for those who believed in Him. He yearned to be in intimate holy fellowship with His disciples and those who will love and follow Him in the future.
“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.(John 17:16-21).
Soon after Jesus prayed, the guard and soldiers came to arrest Jesus. Peter came to Jesus’ defense, took his sword, and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. From a human perspective, it was a noble act on Peter’s part to attack anyone who would harm his Lord. Instead of thanking Peter, Jesus rebuked Him. In the act of love, Jesus showed first hand that He is God when He “touched the man’s ear and healed him” (Luke 22:51).
Jesus endured the pain because He knew that His death was the price required for making those who believe, righteous. He was showing them that He was obedient to His Father in heaven even to death. He showed no favorites because He came to save sinners whom He loved. In the end, He gave all who believed, His peace and hope by promising that He will never leave us and that when we die, we will go to Heaven where there is no more sickness, pain, or death.
Max Lucado sums up what the death on the cross and resurrection of Christ means to all who believe. In his book, Six Hours One Friday, he writes, “Those were no normal six hours. They were the most critical hours in history. For during those six hours on that Friday, God embedded in the earth three anchor points sturdy enough to withstand any hurricane.
Anchor point 1. My life is not futile. There is truth. Someone is in control, and I have a purpose.
Anchor point 2. My failures are not fatal. The one who has the right to condemn you provided the way to acquit you. You make mistakes. God doesn’t. And he made you.
Anchor point 3. My death is not final. He only went into the tomb to prove he could come out. And on the way out, he took the stone with him and turned it into an anchor point. He dropped it deep into the uncharted waters of death.