Vol. 7, No. 1
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He who knows "the end from the beginning" (Isaiah 46:10) knew that man, created as free to make his own choices, would sin. "God is love" (1 John 4:8), but love could not ignore that which is the opposite of the One who is "righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works" (Psalm 145:17). Sin-offerings of animals, even burnt sacrifices, would not remove man's guilt. What could be done?
One envisions a heavenly conference back in eternity producing the "plan of the ages" (prothesin ton aionon, Ephesians 3:11) in which not an animal but a human sacrifice was suggested, and God asked: "Whom shall I send, and who shall go for us?" (cf. Isaiah 6:8). The One afterward called "Jesus" volunteered, saying, "Look! I come" (cf. Psalm 40:7).
God made it clear that Jesus did not have to go to the earth and become a human sacrifice, and Jesus responded, "I delight to do your will, O my God, and your law is within my heart" (cf. Psalm 40:8). That statement pleased the Father, and, down on the earth, Jesus said,
The Father loves me, because I lay down my life to take it again. No one takes it from me. I myself lay it down. I have authority both to lay it down and to take it again. This commandment I received from my Father (John 10:17-18).
As the time drew near for Jesus to lay down his life, he underwent a mental struggle! Was there any other way to save sinners than by suffering, than by being nailed to a cross? Long before day, during the night of Thursday, April 6. A.D. 30, Jesus in Gethsemane was in mental agony! He "fell on his face" (Matthew 26:39) and was praying. The night was cool (cf. John 18:18), yet Jesus' sweat was like "great drops of blood falling down on the ground" (Luke 22:44). He prayed, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup [of suffering in death] pass away from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will" (Matthew 26:39).
Thus the greatest Preacher who ever lived solved every problem by being determined to do God's will. So, I can do no less and be comfortable. David prayed, "Teach me to do your will, for you are my God" (Psalm 143:10). Jesus affirmed, "I have not come down from heaven to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me" (John 6:38).