I love to shake my head over how dumb some people in the Bible were, not realizing that Jesus was the Son of God when He was standing right in front of them, and all.
Then I discover something else about Him that should have been obvious to me all along. And I feel like the blind man given his sight in John 9 who doesn’t recognize the One who just healed him. (I wonder if Jesus chuckled to Himself in that encounter?).
My own eyes were opened recently, to a new dimension of Jesus’ intentionality in the atonement. I have long known that He understood why He was on Earth, of course, repeatedly telling His disciples what was going to happen to Him. He set His face like flint towards Jerusalem, and knew what was going to happen there.
But I now realize that somehow I’d still managed to attribute something of a passive role to Him in the great rescue of humankind. I envisioned Him just agreeing with the Father’s plan—at one point almost reluctantly to some degree, as I have previously observed―rather than initiating it.
Even some of His own words can seemingly lend weight to this kind of thinking. When the mob comes to arrest Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus references the legion of angels at His disposal, and essentially says, “I could get out of this if I chose to, you know.”
However, revisiting the rest of the betrayal narrative a few days ago, I was struck by the sequence of events as His persecutors dragged Jesus before the Jewish council.
The Gospels tell how the chief priests try to present trumped-up charges of blasphemy against Him, to secure a death sentence. Only they can’t coach the witnesses to get their stories straight. The railroading is meandering off track. The steamroller has ground to a halt. There’s an awkward silence as Jesus stands there, saying nothing.
The accusers’ failure to present a convincing case hangs heavy in the air. At any moment it seems likely that they will start to slink away one by one, like the group that wanted to stone the woman caught in adultery. Maybe some of the same men were part of both feeble “prosecutions.”
Then Jesus gives them the “evidence” they need. When the high priest asks Him if He is the Christ, Jesus replies, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
Case closed; onto Golgotha.
Yet, only because Jesus has just jump-started His own kangaroo court.
He wasn’t a passenger in the Passion. He didn’t just go along. He was in the driver’s seat, looking ahead, down through the years to you and me.
Indeed, what a Savior.