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“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
It appeared that the Lord was a helpless Victim in the next stages of the narrative. The soldiers of the High Priest knew their target in the Garden of Gethsemane from the kiss Judas gave Him. They bound His hands, (hands that flung stars into space!), and led Him away for the first trial before the Sanhedrin. Standing before this august Jewish body, the Saviour seemed powerless, but, of course, He wasn’t.
The same applies through His subsequent transfer to Pilate, then to Herod, then back to Pilate. It seemed His enemies had got the better of Him. He appeared so weak and ineffective. Scourged on the orders of Pilate, mocked by the Roman soldiers, wearing a crown of thorns, fainting under the weight of the cross, and nailed on that tree until His life drained out of Him, is a picture of a Person most pitiable, derided, mocked, vulnerable, feeble and defenceless.
But actually this was IMMANUEL – GOD WITH US! There are a couple of points that remind us of this. When Peter drew his sword in the Garden of Gethsemane and flashed it wildly, damaging the ear of Malchus, the Lord told him to put his sword away. In Matthew 26:53 the Lord continued, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” Heavenly hosts were poised ready for the summons from the Saviour but it didn’t come.
The second is during the time the Lord spent in the presence of the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate who, because of his rank, expected to be treated with deference and respect. The Lord was totally silent during Pilate’s interrogation. In John 19:10-11 we have the story, “Then Pilate said to Him, ‘Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?’ Jesus answered, ‘You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.’”
The lesson here, of course, is that the Lord’s death was a VOLUNTARY ACT. He CHOSE to give His life, as we see in the verses in the box above. The High Priest and Pilate might have thought of themselves as the judges of the Prisoner standing before them, but neither had any possible inkling that one day they would stand before Him to be judged. Things were not as they seemed. The Lord was in control of the whole situation despite appearances. It was all being worked out according to an eternal plan.