Today is the day we remember the willing sacrifice that Christ became for our salvation. He was crucified to death on a wooden cross and made a spectacle for the world to see – yet it was His choice to die. Oh the people of that day, the Romans and the Jewish leaders thought they were in control, that they were simply killing a man who claimed to be God, whom they mocked with a sign that said “King of the Jews”. But the ones that knew Him, while they didn’t completely understand what was going on at the time, the knew He could have saved Himself from this ‘punishment’. After all they had seen Him do miraculous things, even bringing Lazarus back from the dead.
So why did He choose to die if he could have saved himself?
Remember when Jesus was in the garden before His death and He pleaded for God to take this cup from Him?
Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” … Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Matthew 26: 38-39,42
I saw this amazing clip below from a sermon Paul Washer did some years back where he asks the question ‘what was in the cup that made Jesus tremble in the garden?’ The answer can’t be captured in some cheesy cliché that you’ve heard your whole life. It is far too profound.
Paul Washer explains below:
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If you have not asked Christ into your life, the essential gospel is that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and that He was raised on the third day (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Believing this is the only qualification for salvation. We are sinners in need of a savior. Jesus died for our sins, and to prove that His death was sufficient for us, God raised Him from the dead on the third day. Believing in our heart that God raised Him from the dead is our assurance that He will raise us, too.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, (1 Cor. 15:3-4).