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The wisdom of love
March 26, 2012
by Pastor Steven Olsen, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Dassel

It made no sense. Why should the Christ have to die? Could not the man who fed the multitudes, healed the sick and raised the dead, save himself? With questions like these, as Jesus hung dying on the cross, our Lord’s enemies taunted him. ““Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” (Mark 15:32)

Of course, those enemies knew it wouldn’t happen. Jesus would die, but not for the reasons they suspected. For Jesus could have come down from the cross. He could have summoned legions of angels to save him. Yet, as tempting as that might have been, our Lord remained obedient unto death, even death on the cross.

Even though, He had prayed to be spared this death, He chose to accept it. He chose to save us. And so it appeared that our Lord’s enemies had won.

In five short days, they had managed to transform the adoring crowd that welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem. In five short days, the very same people who welcomed Jesus as a conquering hero were transformed into a blood-thirsty mob, howling for his death.

Before a disbelieving Pilot, who would have spared our Lord, they howled “Let his blood be upon us and our children,” and those were the words that sealed our Lord’s death. He was not crucified as a criminal, but to satisfy the blood thirst of an angry mob.

At least that is what Pilot thought, as he washed his hands of the whole affair. Yet, he really didn’t have a clue of the greater drama being played out before him. In all of this, he was little more than a pawn, in a war between heaven and those who had fallen.

Pilot may have ordered Christ’s death, and Satan might have set the stage for it, but Jesus was the one who accepted it. He chose to die, that we might live. The blameless son of God took the blame of all and carried it to the cross. With his own blood and his own death, he paid the price for all our sins.

So it was that sin, death, and the power of the devil were defeated, not on a battlefield, but on a cross. The very tool Satan had used to kill the son of God was transformed into a symbol of His Victory.

Can you imagine what a bitter pill that must have been for Satan? If Satan had known what God in Christ was doing on the cross, he would have done everything possible to keep Jesus from dying. Yet, in his rage, he forgot a simple truth. “No greater love has a man than to lay down his life for his friends.”

It was by Christ’s loving self-sacrifice we were saved. Our debt was paid not with silver or gold, but with His own innocent suffering and death on the cross, and thus, that cross of death became our symbol of life.

Ironic, isn’t it? “For (even though) the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” I Corinthians 1:18

Praise the Lord!