- “I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.” (Isaiah 50:6)
- “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.” (John 10:11-18)
- “Greater love have no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Jesus’ prayer in the garden makes it clear that He was determined to complete the will of His Father. But His words to His disciples make it evident that the cross was His will also. He was not coerced or reluctant to take the cross. In the account of His arrest in John 18, Jesus seems to be the one initiating the process as He steps out first to ask the crowd who they are seeking and boldly states, “I am He” twice, almost as if He must convince the soldiers to do what they came to do. It is His choice to give Himself into their hands. Even knowing what was to come, there is absolutely no hint of hesitation or second thoughts. He explained to His disciples why He would do this beforehand: love for His friends. Jesus does not need us, He loves us. Remembering the chasm between our absolutely holy God and wretchedly sinful man, it is unfathomable that He would choose abasement and suffer a torturous, humiliating death for us. He is the Good Shepherd, modeling the greatest love.