“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.” – John 10:17-8 (NASB)
Sacrifices at the temple were bloody affairs. The priests would kill the animals and sprinkle blood on the temple furnishings that required it. Jesus’ death was equally bloody, if not more so—it was filled with cruelty, anger, and malice. The religious leaders wanted Jesus gone and moved players and events to accomplish their aim.
Jesus’ death was ugly and brutal. And yet, power and beauty pervade it. The cross wasn’t happenstance. Jesus knew the death he would face the moment he chose to take on human flesh. He understood the horrors that awaited him, not only the cross but also the moments leading to it. He would be beaten and mocked. Judas would sell him for 30 pieces of silver. His disciples would flee and deny him.
He knew all those things, yet he willingly surrendered his life. No one wrested it from him; even in death, he claimed the victory. He died for sinners, us, the enemies of God (Romans 5:6-11) because he knew his beautiful sacrifice would bring things aright. We would walk and talk with him again instead of hiding behind bushes in the garden. We would be his, and he would be ours, forever.