God first announced His plan for sending a savior in the garden of Eden. When Adam sinned, God promised to send someone to “crush” the wily serpent and to provide a final remedy for sin. Again and again the prophets repeated this promise. But the savior would not come as a conquering hero. No, the prophets said he would come as a suffering sin-bearer who would willingly lay down his life. When Jesus arrived on the scene, the crowds saw a teacher, a healer, and a miracle worker. But Jesus fully understood His mission. He knew that His life was on a divine trajectory that would lead Him to the cross. “I lay down my life,” He said, “so that I may take it up again.” To make the point perfectly clear, He added: “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.”
The old hymn reminds us that as He hung on the cross “He could have called ten thousand angels.” Jesus, the Son of God, had every heavenly resource at His command. But He was determined to fulfill His life’s purpose. So He endured the scourging, the beatings, the humiliation and, yes, even the cross. He did it all willingly. He did it with a faithful and obedient heart. He did it with you and me in mind. It wasn’t nails that held Jesus to the cross. It was love!