“The Father loves Me,” Jesus told his listeners,”because I sacrifice my life so I can take it again. No one can take My life from Me; I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to, and also to take it up again. For this is what My Father has commanded.” John 10:17,18 NLT
This passage highlights the wide disparity between the ways of God and the ways of man, and, indeed, the cardinal difference between Christianity and other religions. For man, by nature, seeks more power in order to benefit himself, often at the expense of others. But Jesus voluntarily forsook His glory in Heaven, laid down His life on earth, and made His soul an offering for the sin of the World. And, oh, how His Father loved Him for this!
In virtually all other religions, the gods demand sacrifice from their people. But our God, in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ, sacrificed Himself for His people.
In the marvelous wisdom of God, the voluntary sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross fulfilled the Will of God, making possible both the salvation of men’s souls and living relationships between mortal men and a Holy God. While God’s will was being accomplished, the religious rulers of the day thought that their will was being done; Pilate, reluctantly, had his way; and Satan thought He had gotten the victory over the Son of God.
But when the angel rolled away the stone on the third day, and Jesus arose in triumph, how clear it was that His sacrifice was completely voluntary. He had laid down His life, willingly, and He now has taken it up for evermore. God has had His way. And all those who had gotten their way against Jesus discovered in that their victory was , in fact, their total defeat. All power and authority belongs to God and to Jesus Christ!