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    “See to it no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

    « Tell Me What I Want to Hear | Oblivious to the Dying: A Dream from 3/25/10 »
    Friday
    Aug062010

    Jesus had a Choice in His Death

    I was reading a few story books to my children about the real meaning of Easter when it struck me how these books made it seem as if Jesus had no choice in the matter. I began to think of how popular culture portrays Jesus’ death.

     

    Even if they respected Him for His martyrdom, they seemed to perceive that again, Jesus had no choice. He was a good man, innocently slaughtered like a lamb, and like a lamb, never saw it coming.

     

    Or if He did see it, He knew it was pointless to fight, or that He had to die for His cause to make a point. But Jesus did not have to die. In fact he had many opportunities to escape.

     

    For argument’s sake, let’s pretend Jesus was just a man and did not have the ability to call down legions of angels (Matthew 26:53), or hop off of the cross, supernaturally unharmed at any point during His crucifixion.

     

    Beginning with the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, every person knew that Jesus and others called Himself “the King” (Matthew 27:11 & 37; Mark 15:2; Luke 23:3; John 18:33, 36-37; John 19:19; Acts 17:7), and they also knew Jesus was not the first "Elvis impersonator".

     

    The people literally expected Jesus to become their next, physical King of the Israelites. Now any person would have also expected that those currently in power would be opposed to this idea. People in power rarely give their positions up voluntarily.

     

    So why would Jesus, if He planned to be the literal king, ride flagrantly into town, knowing He would rile His enemies and draw attention to Himself, rather than plan His takeover from afar?

     

    At The Last Supper, Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him, yet He not only let Judas live, but sent him on his way! Later, at the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus told His disciples that He would be arrested before the night was over.

     

    He chose to pray rather than run. When Judas betrayed Jesus with his kiss, Jesus might have denied His name, or run then. Seconds later, the loyal disciples are ready to fight to the death so Jesus can make a run for it.

     

    Instead of fleeing, Jesus tells Peter to put his sword away (John 18:11) and heals the ear of one of the Roman soldiers, who has just come fully armed to arrest and escort Jesus to His death.

     

    After His arrest, it seems Jesus pretty much sealed His fate. Even then, however He might have received absolution for recanting. The point here is that Jesus did have a choice in whether He went to torment and death by asphyxiation on the cross. He chose the way of the cross; He chose the way of love.

     

    John 15:12-13 –“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

     

    1 John 3:16 – “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.”

     

    John 3:16 -- "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

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