Devotion for the Week...
Last week I looked at how it wasn't fair. Jesus had done nothing wrong, but He paid the price for every wrong done by anyone in the world, ever. There are so many elements of that price that must have been awful. There was the emotional pain of being betrayed by a friend, of being abandoned by His other friends, of having one of them deny even knowing Him. There was the spiritual pain of feeling separated from the Father because of the sin He bore. There was the immense physical pain of the whips, of the thorns, of the cross. I can't even begin to imagine the smallest part of any of that pain, let alone all of it bursting upon one person all at once.
Even though it wasn't fair, and even though He didn't deserve it, He did it all for joy, and He did it willingly.
Before Judas came and identified Him to the soldiers, Jesus spent time praying in the garden. He knew what was coming. He knew the pain He would face and He didn't turn away from it. Yes, He prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me." (Matthew 26:39) because He, as a man, didn't want to face that pain if there was any other way. But there wasn't another way, and He offered Himself with the rest of the prayer, "Yet not as I will, but as you will" (Matthew 26:39). Could I have said those words, knowing what was about to come? Could you?
The Bible tells us that Jesus was able to say "not as I will, but as you will" because He had the right motivation. "For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2). Joy? What joy was set before Him? What joy could be so important to Him that He willingly endured the pain of the cross?
Us. Our salvation, our redemption, our eternity safe and secure with Him.
Jesus knew that His death was the only way to pay the price for our sins. He knew that He would rise again and that His resurrection would be only the first, that after Him all who believe would also be given eternal life. He knew that "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
He knew that the pain He suffered would be for our salvation, and so He chose it willingly - for the joy of being our Savior.