“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)
Jesus went to the cross “of his own accord.” Voluntarily. Were he not willfully laying down his life, there is absolutely nothing the Jewish authorities or all the might of Rome put together could do to take it from him. “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt 26:53). The legions of Rome wouldn’t have stood a chance.
Understand, Jesus didn’t have a “death wish.” Three times he prayed with his face to the ground, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matt 26:39). In a very real sense, Jesus did not want to die.
“Nevertheless,” he prayed, “not as I will, but as you will” (Matt 26:39). Jesus willingly laid down his life in order to fulfill “the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23). “Before the foundation of the world” the Father had designed a means of redeeming the ungodly through the shedding of blood–the blood of his own Son (Eph 1:3-10). Jesus endured the cross voluntarily. Of his own accord Jesus subjected himself to shame. Why? Because he had received this charge from his Father.
By the grace of the Father and the intervention of his Son, we also are recipients of a charge. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matt 6:33). In the name of our risen Savior, let us faithfully answer that charge this week.
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