November 4

Text: Matthew 27:50

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.  (NASB)

Jesus knew the completion of his ministry involved an unjust death (Matthew 16:21-23).  While all who deal honestly with physical life know that they will die, Jesus knew he would be killed.  Yet, though he would be killed, his death would be a voluntary surrender of physical life.

Jesus’ death in a specific way was unlike death for any of us.  We will die—we have no choice regarding that reality.  When our deaths occur, our deaths will occur with or without our consent.  We can depart physical life “kicking and screaming” or peacefully, but we will depart.  Jesus was different because he had a choice.  His statement to Peter (Matthew 26:53) declaring God would send him 1000s of angels to defend him if he requested and to Pilate (John 18:36) that he would be defended if his kingdom were of this world indicated his death was his decision.  Jesus pointedly said in John 10:17, 18 that he would lay his life down of his own initiative.  In Matthew 20:28 Jesus compared his dying to a ransom in which, as an act of service, he would give his life.

As much as the Jewish leadership was convinced that they took Jesus’ life by force, the truth was that he gave his life.  His dying was a willful act of surrender, not an experience of necessity involving no choice.  For him to accomplish God’s purposes he had to die.  Yet, he had the right to abandon those purposes and avoid death.  He died for the sins of others—not his own sinfulness.  His death was the solution; his dying was not part of the problem.

Note that when he died, he “yielded up his spirit,” or he “breathed his last” (Mark 15:37),” or he commended his spirit to God (Luke 23:46), or “gave up his spirit” (John 19:30).  The continual stress is on the fact that Jesus’ unjust death was a voluntary act.  Jesus died of unselfish desire, not of unavoidable necessity.

Suggestion for reflection: For what unquestionable failure would you die?  Why?  (Read John 10:7-18.)

David's Home Page Previous Day Index Next Day

 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell