Matthew 20: 17-19 NLT
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”
Jesus came to die. He came to give His life. As He was born on this earth and fully became man, there came a point when He was aware of His mission and His identity. There are things about Jesus’ childhood that we are not told in scripture. But we do know that when He was twelve, He understood when He was in the temple speaking with the religious leaders about Torah and the word that He was in His Father’s house.
As He traveled with the disciples, He told them that they were going up to Jerusalem and that He would be betrayed into the hands of the religious leaders and teachers of the law. The disciples thought Jesus would begin His rule and reign now. That He would establish His kingdom. That they were preparing themselves to rule and reign with Jesus.
But the cross was the only way to glory. The cross was the only way to save humanity. Not only would the religious leaders charge Him with blasphemy, but He would be turned over to the Romans. The Romans would charge Him with claiming to be a king even though after examination Pilate found Him to be innocent. When Pilate brought Him out to the crowd next to Barabbas, the people cried for Jesus to be crucified. Barabbas was a notorious criminal and murderer. He had been involved in rebellion and by all account should have been the one placed on the cross.
But Jesus took His place. Jesus not only took His place, but He also took all of our place. All of us deserve death. All of us have sinned. All of us deserve the wrath of Almighty God. But in His grace, He chooses to forgive. He chooses to wash our sins away. He chooses to exchange His righteousness for ours. All because of His love for us. The next time you doubt how much God loves you, simply look to the cross. The next time the devil tells you God has abandoned you or given up on you, look to the cross. Jesus came to die. He came to suffer. He came to give His life, all because He loves us. Though we don’t deserve it, He choose to give His life.
Father help me to understand the depths of your love. Help me to build my life upon truth and your word. Help me to walk in the freedom and love found in Jesus. May your compassion and grace increase in my life. May I love others as you have loved me. Thank you for forgiving me and making me brand new. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen!