They come at Him with weapons. Did they think He would resist them? They don’t know Him at all. He first addresses them. He knows what’s ahead, and He’s unafraid. He identifies Himself as the one for whom they search, and they fall back in the presence of the God-Man. Do they know it? They fall anyway. He turns Himself over to them and scolds His disciples for coming to His defense. He is God. He needs no defense. He knows what’s coming. And He speaks: “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
The Father gives it to Him. He doesn’t merely allow it to happen, doesn’t sit back and watch helplessly. And Jesus doesn’t wrangle in the arms of His captors, try to break free helplessly. It isn’t powerlessness that binds Him. It is love that He binds Himself to. Power Himself laid down His power. Doesn’t flex His muscles and strike dead the debtors in front of Him to show them who’s boss. He walks instead, straight into wrath. Under the waterfall of all the weight of God’s wrath against all the sin in the world across space and time. Let it pour.
“Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people.” Caiaphas…. He doesn’t know the truth he speaks. It is good that One should die for the people. For all of the people. For all the people who cry out in the crowds, “Crucify Him!” For all the people who mock and cast lots for the King’s clothes. For all the people who drive the iron between the bones in His wrists, His ankles, laugh and spit and push down the caricature of a crown. For all the people who say there is no God, that say that there is a God, but Jesus isn’t it. For all the people who call Jesus God and yet, still, turn their backs on Him and choose to worship measly “me” instead of Mighty Creator. To give all us people the chance, the choice, to be set free—for eternity. It is good that One man died for the people. But you don’t make Him, Caiaphas. He chooses it. He chooses it even for you. He chose it even for me.
Even for the one who claimed he’d die for the God-Man, and denies Him hours later. For all the cowards, and liars, and best-intentioned friends and followers who failed Him still, whose hearts are wrenched with regret when the cock crows, and it’s too late to take it back.
Even for the righteous and religious who won’t dare break the Law in the midst of killing someone in order to cling to their traditions. Do they know that what would come to pass would be the reality of what their precious Passover meal really represented? The First-Born, blood-smeared and not spared, so that they could be passed over, spared the wrath. Receive the gift of true life. But they pass on that. Cling to tradition instead of their King. Reject the One who rescues. Call Him a criminal and pass Him off to Pilate for a cruel crucifixion. The Governor finds no basis for execution, suggests the Innocent be released. The “righteous” roar, “No!” They demand the rebel Barabbas.
The Governor sends the God-Man to be beaten. And, in his eyes, for no reason. He sends him anyway. When he pleads for the release of this King to His people, the people who call Him a criminal for claiming to be God, they claim Caesar as their king. He claims to be God, so they call out for His killing, all while they deny God. And they do so to get what they want: get rid of the God-Man, who calls them out on their hypocrisy. And He submits willingly, to die for them. To die for you. To die for me. Submits to the suffering, and submits His Spirit to the Father. Lies in the grave. Rises again. And in His risen form, calls us by name like He did Mary, who weeps when His body is gone. He appears to us who believe, instills in us hope. Hope of reuniting with Him someday, in the presence of the Father, in the Heavenly Home He has gone to prepare for us, His children. He appears to the doubters of us and the deniers of us and we count our blessings, all 153 fish, and go have breakfast on the shore with the One who takes us back, and died to do so. And we know that the One who has laid Himself down, submitted Himself to suffering and wrath and death, He has fought for us. This Mighty Warrior who didn’t lift a finger against His accusers has won. He was won the greatest battle of all, against the Enemy of our souls. So we, His children, His followers, His friends, and His transformed by the Blood He bled, go out with His power as He sends us, the same power that raised Him from the dead. Go out to fulfill the purpose this power gives us, and tell the world the glorious Gospel of Grace. That One Man—the God-Man—died for all the people.