On this Good Friday, when Christians all over the world pause to reflect on the greatest, most gruesome yet wonderful sacrifice in history, the crucifixion of Jesus, I’ve been pondering his statement in the gospel of John chapter 10:18 where he insists, “18 No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” (John 10:18, ESV, italics added). With images of beatings, whippings, mocking, a thorny crown and nails driven into his hands and feet, it’s easy to think of Jesus as a powerless victim—like a mouse caught helpless in a trap. Nothing could be further from the truth. There aren’t enough soldiers, swords or satanic devils in any realm capable of taking Jesus’ life from him. “NO ONE,” he says, “takes my life from me.” Rather, Jesus willingly, confidently and sovereignly lays it down of his OWN accord out of love. This is not a picture of a mouse but a Lion, who boldly submits to suffering by his own authority. Even at his arrest, when Jesus identifies himself as “I am he,” the soldiers fall to the ground by divine force (John 19:6). And in this final moments on the cross, the text is careful to record, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46). “I commit,” he says. This is not weakness but strength. This is not victimization but victory. With such an understanding of what my King did willingly, boldly and valiantly, my heart is moved to worship my Champion and my Savior. To him be the glory forever and ever! Amen.

(Originally published March 30, 2018)

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