He willingly chose death over life
Jesus died on the cross not because he was somehow unable to deliver himself, but because he willingly submitted himself to death. He knew He was born to die.
We can only imagine how great the temptation to come down from that cross must have been for Jesus. He didn’t have to die for us. Like the second criminal said in verse 41, Jesus “had done nothing wrong”.
He could have refused to die and gone back to heaven without any condemnation from us because he did not have to die for us. The very sinners he had come to save had rejected Him and treated Him, the precious Son of God, like a worthless man.
But, if Jesus had given in to the taunts of his persecutors, and not died on the cross, Good Friday would truly have been a day of terrible mourning for you.
- The debt of your sins would never have been repaid, because Jesus is the only acceptable payment for the sins of the whole world.
- You would have had no one to offer Himself in your place. Each one of us would have had to hang on that cross and die, but all your blood and your screams and your pain would have counted for nothing.
- The wrath and justice of God against your sin would never have been satisfied, because God demands a perfect sacrifice, of which Christ is the only such sacrifice.
- Satan, that terrible enemy, would never have been overthrown and defeated, and you would still be the grasp of his evil hand.
- The great divide between you and God, which existed since the Garden of Eden, would never have been bridged across.
- Your relationship with God would have remained broken for forever, and you would have had no access whatsoever to His throne.
- You would still be in your sins, unable to save yourself, unwilling and unable to call on the name of Lord for help
- The Holy Spirit would never have come to dwell in your heart, and you would be alone, without God and without hope in this world.
- This life would have been all there is. All life would have ever been for you would have been endless, meaningless suffering and toil and pain. And after this life, all you would have had to look forward to would have been eternity in hell, with no chance of relief.
If Jesus had not died on the cross, you could never have been saved.
But thank You Lord that, despite your unbearable pain, despite the horrible taunts that we hurled at you as you hung there on the cross, you chose not to save yourself. Because if you had, we would not have been saved.
Instead of giving in to what must have been unbearable temptation, Jesus chose to stick it out and die on the cross. And by doing that, he turned what seemed like clear defeat into the greatest victory the world has ever known.
Because Jesus chose to die
- Satan, sin and death no longer have power you, if you have believed in Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:54-55)
- You no longer have to live in fear of judgment because Christ there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1)
- You are no longer a stranger and enemy to God because Jesus stands before the Father, and calls you His own (Romans 5:10)
- You have the guarantee that the full presence of God lives in you by means of the precious Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:5)
- You can now endure whatever suffering may come your way, knowing that the One who endured the cross for your sake, will also give you power to endure every trial that you will encounter here on earth (1 Peter 5:10).
- You have a river of blood in which you can wash yourself daily. It flows with endless forgiveness and mercy and grace. (Hebrews 9:11-14).
- You can now stand before God and men and declare that no one can condemn you for sin any longer, because you are in Christ (Romans 1:5).
For your sake, Jesus chose humiliation over glory. He chose death over life. And his question to you this morning on Good Friday is, will you willingly choose Him above all?