“Save yourself, come down from the cross,” some shouted in derision. “He saved others; he cannot save himself,” the priests mocked.
He could have saved himself, but not if he wanted to save others. He could save others, but not it he chose to save himself. Therein lies the choice of the cross. He had to die so we could live. The blood of God for the salvation of people. The death of the Holy One for the cleansing of unholy souls. The horrible necessity of the cross.
Sin. Sin necessitates the cross. God created us in his image. God is sovereign so part of being created in the image of God is the right to choose. And God gave us choice – we could choose to trust Him, choose to follow Him, choose to live for Him or we could choose to go our own way, rebel against Him and live for self. We chose. The world, the way God knew it at the beginning, broke.
Sin began its devastating reign. Like a torrential downpour over a vast land where the water permeates every surface, so sin covered the whole. Hiding. Lying. Murder. Sexual immorality. Infidelity. Hatred. Bitterness. Greed. Selfishness. Abuse. Racism. Poverty. Oppression. Injustice. War. Violence. The choice was made. The mess was inevitable. Sin had its way. In the world. In me. In you. The choice. We chose sin. So He chose the cross.
He could have saved Himself. But only if he was willing to leave us hopelessly bound in our sins. Lost without hope of overcoming the penalty of sin. Irrevocably enslaved to the power of sin. Inevitably left with the consequence of sin: death. Self rules. Humanity loses. Sin reigns.
But He chose the cross. Rather than save Himself and only Himself, He chose to save you and me. He chose the cross. And He chose us. He chose to die for us and purge our impurities by his blood. Paul said if there were any other way for us to be made pure than Christ died for nothing. But there was no way. You cannot undo what you have done. You cannot purge what is impure within your soul. But Jesus chose the cross. And He chose you. He chose to die and break the shackles of sin on our souls. There is a new path. A path of hope. A path of freedom. A path of life because He chose the cross and chose you. He chose death to defeat death for us. In his death there is life, our life – life of victory, eternal life, abundant life. The innocent for the guilty. The intimate exchange of love; the ultimate exchange of death for life. The day we chose sin was the day He chose the cross, because He had chosen you from the beginning and would go any lengths to stay his choice.
He could have chosen life. He could have chosen to save himself. But only if he was unwilling to choose you. So He chose the cross.
That’s why we call it Good Friday.