Retired Pastor Pat Duffin,
High Prairie Christian Centre
“Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.” [Matthew 27:40]
There is a very moving hymn entitled Ten Thousand Angels which recounts the events of Christ’s humiliation and tortuous death but in a stirring refrain reminds us:
He could have called ten thousand angels
To destroy the world and set Him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
But He died alone, for you and me.
The operative words are “could have”.
Yes, He “could have”. He was God in the flesh. He was Creator of the universe, King of Kings and Lord of all.
He could have, but He did not. It was His choice, and He chose not to destroy. He chose not to punish nor retaliate so as to give His tormentors a taste of their own medicine.
Instead, He demonstrated incredible grace and restraint. He never even threatened them with just rewards for their abuse.
So, what kept Jesus on that cross? As Commander-in-Chief and Captain of the Heavenly Host, Jesus had the right to order the angels to rescue, to terrify, to punish, to destroy, to demonstrate the truth of who He was, to silence and humiliate His enemies!
No one could blame Him. No one could criticize or withstand Him. One simple whisper. One fleeting, silent thought would have been enough.
Certainly, the shocked and horrified host of heaven would have been only too ready to intervene and reverse the tables on these wicked perpetrators.
But no command was given. Jesus did not call the heavenly army.
He “could have” transfigured Himself and revealed His glory as He did on the mountain top. He “could have” manifested His full splendour and destroyed them with the brightness.
Remember, during His arrest in the garden, when He identified Himself as “I Am”. The mob was knocked to the ground by the power released when He simply spoke that name that He first revealed to Moses from the burning brush?
Or He could have dramatically pulled the nails out before the bulging eye of the crowd and walked in the air just as easily as He walked on the water.
That would have impressed the mocking mob for sure!
Beaten to a pulp, naked and impaled to the tree, He was as weak and as helpless as any man could be yet still retain the breath of life. He was, and is forever, the Son of God with power to calm the stormy sea, heal the sick, make the blind to see and the deaf to hear, who set the demonized free and even raised the dead to life, including His own return from the dead.
Absolutely, He had the power to step down from that cross. He “could have” but He did not.
What was so powerful that it kept Him on that old, rugged cross?
The power that kept Him on the cross was love, pure, unadulterated, unrestrained, selfless love for you and for me.
And a loving devotion and submission to the Father’s will that salvation should be available to all who will receive.
Someone once wrote, “I asked Him how much He loved me. ‘This much!’ He said. And He stretched out His arms and died for me.”
He also died for you, and even those who mocked and abused Him.
Jesus said, “Whoever comes to me will not be cast out.” [John 6:37]
If you are a “whoever” then you qualify!
Will you receive that incredible love right now?