Christ’s Costly Obedience: Christ’s Remarkable Redemptive Love, Part 2

(Copyright Marcelo A. Tolopilo)

Christ’s redemptive love was born out of a costly obedience which He courageously faced as the hour of redemption came upon Him. When the Lord’s enemies arrived to arrest Jesus at Gethsemane (several hundred in number) , the Lord, knowing full well the horror that awaited Him on the cross, voluntarily submitted Himself to His tormentors (John 18:3-12).

It is impossible for us to fully wrap our minds around that last statement. That Jesus embraced the cross and willingly shouldered an eternity of wrath for us is spiritually and emotionally stunning. Only infinite God (the Son) could understand the pain and cost of bearing the unrestrained wrath of infinite God (the Father) for he sins of His people, yet He was willingly crushed that He might take away our sin. 

“Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5).

I believe we will spend eternity mulling over the price of our redemption and never exhaust the wonder of the cross. Even more so now, our comprehension of what Jesus accomplished on the cross is limited by our finite understanding. This is why when present day pastors and preachers teach about the cross, they often focus on the physical tortures of the experience. We do this because we can at least relate to a measure of Christ’s physical suffering. After all, Jesus being fully man, possessed the same sensory organs as all human beings. He experienced the same kind of pain and anguish we have suffered and we, to a degree, can identify with that. 

That said, as torturous as Christ’s physical suffering on the cross was, the true agony of the cross for Jesus was by far the burden of bearing our sin on His unpolluted divine person and simultaneously suffering the full unmitigated blast of God’s just, vengeful fury for that sin (2 Corinthians 5:21).

We have difficulty understanding how shocking that must have been for the Lord Jesus, but you see from eternity past Jesus had only known holy, sweet, and happy communion with His Father. At the cross, however, that eternally existent fellowship with the Father was severed and replaced by God’s burning fury towards sin and that resulted in a separation between God the Father and God the Son that we will never fully fathom. Yet it was so profound and the Lord felt so alone that from His abysmal grief He cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46).

Our Lord Jesus felt utterly abandoned, utterly alone, utterly judged of the Father and He had never known that. Ever! 

It was this dreadful aspect of the cross (the prospect of bearing our sin and God’s wrath against it) that literally drove the Lord to the brink of death. The emotional distress of anticipating the true cost of the cross was so great that it nearly killed Jesus. This is why He confessed to His men “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38). So overwhelming, so disquieting and soul shaking was the foreboding anguish of the cross that the God-Man prayed three times with all His heart to forego it even though the cross was the very reason for which He had come (Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 10:45). 

And yet, praise be to God and His beloved Son, that Jesus prayed with just as much fervor and sincerity that God’s will would be done through Him, even if it meant the high cost of the cross!n What is truly amazing is that once the answer from the Father was clear, “Drink the cup!”, notwithstanding the looming horror of Calvary, Jesus could not be deterred from His costly obedience. 

The Lord could have eluded His enemies as He had done on other occasions (John 8:59, 10:39, Luke 4:30). He certainly could have incited His men to fight (Peter was ready, wasn’t he? John 18:10). Even more Jesus could have appealed to His Father and summoned thousands of angels to deliver Him (Matthew 26:53), and He certainly had the divine power to deliver Himself (John 18:4-6), yet when faced with this costly obedience—the frightening cost of our redemption—what did Jesus do? 

“So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth” (John 18:4a). The Lord Jesus courageously submitted Himself to the Father’s will and chose a costly obedience. Why? Because of His great redemptive love for you and me. 

“For me He was forsaken
For me He died alone
My sin forever taken
That I might be His own”

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