“I lay down my life… No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.”
Jesus hung on the cross, but the people surrounding the cross didn’t get it. We hear their confusion in the mockery of the crowd passing by and in the scorn of the religious leaders standing there. “Save yourself!” they said, adding comments like “He can’t save himself! He made such big claims! Big man, big mouth, save yourself!” (See Matthew 27:39-44.)
Jesus did do big things. He healed people who were blind, people who had leprosy and other diseases, people who were disabled, and people who had demons. He even raised people from the dead.
“Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him,” said the religious leaders. “Let God rescue him now if he wants him” (27:42-43). Well, of course, God wanted him. Jesus had spoken the truth when he had said he was the Son of God. But God wanted him right there on the cross. And, of course, Jesus could have come down if he had wanted to.
He said, “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” Jesus didn’t want to come down, because he was laying down his life for his sheep, including some of the people who mocked and insulted him.
He was also laying down his life for you and me!
Lord Jesus, we thank you for staying where you were, up on that cross, for us, when you could have saved yourself. We love you for that. Amen.
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