Walk with me. We are taking a stroll down the long hall way of your high school. Each side is lined with classrooms and lockers. At the very end, funneling down like a tunnel, stands a tall and wide glass case displaying the championship trophies of your football team and basketball team, of which you were the star of course. That glass case display is our destination. It highlights the accomplishments and victories of young athletes in their youthful prime.
But for a moment, we will take a walk down a different hallway. It is long, the length of history. It is lined with great men of faith. Men like Enoch who pleased God(Hebrews 11:5) and Abraham who obeyed God(Hebrews11:8). They, along with us, are looking, with fixed gaze, at the end of the hallway because there stands in full majestic glory Easter’s Glass Case Display. In this case are highlighted the accomplishments and victories of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As we celebrate Easter, we once again turn our attention to the Gospel, which is that Christ died for our sins and that He was raised the third day, both in accordance with the Scriptures(1 Corinthians 15:3-4). The majesty and glory of this Easter Glass Case Display is the Sovereign authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“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. This charge I Have received from My Father.”
Here Christ highlights His Sovereignty. He has the authority to lay down His life and He has the authority to take it up again. He alone is Sovereign over His crucifixion and resurrection. And to top it all off, He emphatically says that no one takes His life from Him. Pontius Pilate had a first hand experience with Jesus concerning this.
“He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to Him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you? Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over Me at all unless it had been given you from above.”
Pilate had no authority over Jesus other than what was given him from above. Jesus was in complete and total control. He is Sovereign and even at the time of his trial before His crucifixion, He still had full Sovereign authority!
“Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once send Me more than twelve legions of angels?”
In the Roman army, a legion consisted of 6,000 soldiers. So twelve legions of angels was 72,000 angels. Jesus said that He had the authority to appeal to His Father and at once He would send 72,000 angels. So why did He not? Because in His Sovereign authority He willingly laid down His life in obedience to the Father’s command.
“This charge I received from My Father.”
The term “charge” in the Greek literally means “command.” So the Son was obedient to the Father in laying down His life and taking it up again.
Jesus always did the things that were pleasing to the Father, and that included going to the cross.
“And He who sent Me is with Me. He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”
Jesus, who manifested His Sovereign authority in time at His crucifixion and resurrection, committed in eternity past to the will of the Father(Hebrews 10:1-10) Note how the author of Hebrews twice highlights that Christ came to do the will of the Father.
“Consequently, when Christ came into the world, He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God,” Behold, I have come to do Your will.”
Hebrews 10:5, 7, 9
Enoch pleased God, but He looks with fixed gaze at the One who always pleased God. Abraham obeyed God, but he looks with fixed gaze at the One who obeyed “to the point of death, even death on a cross.”(Philippians 2:8) This Easter, may you join Enoch and Abraham in the corridor leading to the Easter Glass Case Display, in wonder and awe at the Sovereign authority of Jesus who willingly laid down His life and took it up again to obey, please and do the Father’s will.