Jesus Chose the Cross

I have been busy as of late and so have not written anything fresh (at least not for this blog though I seem to be writing for something or other every day now). But I have been reflecting on the supremacy of Christ in Colossians and though this post is unrelated to Colossians it is related to the topic of Christ. Specifically it looks at the death of Jesus from the perspective of his act of humbling himself by taking on humanity (called kenosis here from Phil. 2:7). The excerpt is from Donald MacLeod’s book on The Person of Christ (pg. 218-220). It is a good book though one that will take you down the road of having to think (which if you are against this sort of book then hopefully you are against this sort of blog).

 …Calvary, as we have seen, was not a point but a line. From the third to the sixth hour the agony was one of relative serenity, punctuated by the three-fold chorus of derision from the passers-by, the scribes and Pharisees and those crucified with him (Mk. 15:29ff). From the sixth to the ninth hour there was darkness: possibly symbolic of the darkness in the Saviour’s soul; or, alternatively, pointing to the fact that the Light was almost exhausted in its struggle with Darkness. At the ninth hour came the dereliction, when there was nothing but darkness and emptiness: no hearing, no loving, no ‘withness’. He was alone with the world’s sin and with God; experiencing the presence of the Holy as a dreadful forsakenness.

But at the ninth hour, the dereliction ceased. The curve moved no longer downwards, but upwards, the humiliation passing imperceptibly into exaltation. As he died, his dawn was already breaking: ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit’ (Lk. 23:46).

Every moment in that journey from Bethlehem to Calvary was chosen; and every moment on the cross, from the third to the ninth hour, was chosen. Every day of the Lord’s life he re-enacted the kenosis, renewing the decision which had made him nothing and choosing to move further and further into the shame and pain it involved. He loved his own, and when eventually it became clear what that love would cost he went forward, trembling, to be what his people’s sin deserved.

….He denied himself the exercise of his divine might and energies, but in other directions these energies were frequently put forth: for example,…in healing the sick and in destroying the works of the devil. But they were not put forth in his own interest. In particular, they were not put forth to protect him from the implications of his decision to become incarnate and bear the sin of the world. Never once does he in his own interest or in his own defence break beyond the parameters of humanity. He had no place to lay his head; but he never built himself a house. He was thirsty; but he provided for himself no drink. He was assaulted by all the powers of hell; but he did not call on his legions of angels. Even when he saw the full cost of kenosis, he asked for no rewriting of the script. He bore the sin in his human body, endured the sorrow in his human soul and redeemed the church with his human blood. The power which carried the world, stilled the tempest and raised the dead was never used to make his own conditions of service easier. Neither was the prestige he enjoyed in heaven exploited to relax the rules of engagement. Deploying no resources beyond those of his Spirit-filled humanness, he faced the foe as flesh and triumphed as man.

Jesus chose every step from heaven to humanity. He chose every step from boyhood, through puberty, and into manhood without sin. And when it came time, he chose every step to the cross to die in the place of his own.

Soli Deo Gloria


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