“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” John 10:17-18
Here Jesus shares a heavenly secret. He speaks of the Father’s love for Him, but what is the secret that the Savior shares with us? Why does the heart of the Father rejoice in the Son? Was it because of the suffering of the Son? Was it because the Father saw Him as a helpless victim on death’s altar? Not at all. It is because when Jesus was being offered as the perfect sacrifice for all sin, for all people, for all time He was anything except a victim. The heart of the Father didn’t rejoice in the fact that the Son was forced to die, but rather because the Son was willing to die without being forced. In fact, Jesus states unequivocally that He has the unparallelled power to actually lay down His life.
You see, every other type of sacrifice has been a picture of weakness, but the death of Jesus was unique in that it is a picture of power. In fact, His death shows us a strength of will that has never been seen in such glory. Sure, there have been great warriors and mighty conquerors who have paved their own way through the hearts of others, but here was One who paved a path for others through His own heart.
Never has there been presented such a perfect and powerful presentation of love as that which Jesus demonstrated for us on the cross. If He had simply resigned Himself to death we could admire Him. If He had so despised life we could pity Him. However, since He willingly chose to die for us because of His great love we love Him. We magnify the strength that could surrender strength, the power that could abandon power, the might that could relinquish might, the will that could resign will. That’s why He is crowned for us in what was the valley of His humiliation. He is most glorious to us in the shadows of Gethsemane.
He was not a victim of Golgotha for nails could not have kept Him on the cross if love had not held Him there. He willingly chose the cross. That’s why twelve legions of angels could not have caused Him to climb down from Calvary’s height. That’s why His cross is not a picture of weakness but of power. We are not to be ashamed of it – we are to glory in it. We as Christ-followers are to long to be made conformable unto His death, to crucify our wills and dreams and desires. We are to look on Him until His death so imprints our lives and we are transformed from glory to glory. Then we will say, not with hesitant resignation, but with complete and confident assurance, “Your will be done.”