When Jesus walked the Via Dolorosa to His execution, it was an intensely intentional act. There was no fear in being crucified. He carried His cross like a well earned trophy. Jesus understood perfectly what was going to happen. He was going to die for His friends.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.”
John 10:11, NLT
It was love, and not nails that held Him on that cruel cross. He didn’t need to be fastened on it, His love for you and I would have held Him there. But nailed and splayed up before all, naked and alone, Jesus would “endure the shame.” And He would do this because we are His sheep. We belong to Him.
There is an immense amount of theology in all of this:
- He was our substitution
- He was our atonement
- He was our redeemer.
I have hundreds of books full of information that tell me this. (They often just give me a headache.)
“And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”
John 12:32, NLT
The fear of death has nipped our heels. It is a formidable and persistent enemy. But as our Lord was dying Himself, He destroyed death, dismantling its entire apparatus. It has been said, “For the believing Christian, the grave is just a doorway into eternity.”
The deep confidence of Jesus, approaching a hideous death, can now be ours. In a sense we can “piggyback” our faith on His. We can die with an assurance that our life is now eternal. In a sense, it’s like getting on an elevator, the doors close and we move up (or down). The doors open and we’re in an entirely different place. The elevator has only done what it is supposed to do, nothing more.
Dear one, I implore you to understand what has been done for you. It is a mighty act of God to assemble all of this for us. “Be glad” (Ps. 32.)