“Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”
I once taught a small group Bible study at a convalescent home, and I stated that Jesus had to die. Immediately, a woman gasped and exclaimed, “Certainly not!” Seeing that she genuinely did not understand that it was the Father’s will for Jesus to die for our sins, I prepared a study for my next visit based on what was claimed about our Savior. Here in Matthew, Jesus confirmed that His purpose in coming into the world was to die.
Earlier in the chapter, Jesus prayed in Gethsemane that this cup would pass from Him, but “nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” At this point in the first century, the scriptures already recorded prophecy that the Messiah would die (i.e., Daniel 9:26), but Jesus still prayed that the plan of redemption could be accomplished some other way (Matthew 26:39). In this very moment, Jesus could have exercised his power and called 12 legions of angels to wipe out the multitude that came to falsely arrest Him, but He chose to stick with the plan as foretold in the scriptures and allowed Himself to be arrested. He soon ended up on the cross, where He would ask the Father to forgive this very multitude and its co-conspirators (Luke 23:34). Why? Because he loved them and us (1 John 4:10), and He demonstrated his love for them and us by dying while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).
The depth of Jesus’ love for us is truly beyond comprehension as demonstrated in today’s passage, for He desired forgiveness for the very people that sent Him to the cross. Just like us, if any of them eventually turned to Him, repented of their sin, and accepted Jesus as Lord of their lives, they were saved. Imagine that: The grace of God is so deep that it was available to those who crucified Him.
Basking in His Grace with You,
Pastor Jeff Mericle