“Now will I rise, saith The Lord; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up Myself.” Isaiah 33:10
It was Jesus Himself Who allowed the pain and torture of His final day leading to that Cross. It was He Who allowed Himself to be crucified. It was He Who surrendered His life that day. It was He Who picked it back up three days later.
It is because Jesus is The Lord.
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.” John 12:32
What He did by allowing these things to pass was lift Himself. None other could have done it but He. (Interestingly, whenever God allows things to happen in our lives, those things inevitably do two things. They direct us – hopefully to draw closer to Him – and they bring glory to the name of Jesus.). And make no mistake, Jesus definitely allowed these things to happen.
“Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels?” Matthew 26:53
The looming question then remains. Why? Why the Cross?
If Christ was our Sacrifice, once for all, why did it have to be on the Cross? Surely, all of the perfect lambs and oxen were never nailed to crosses and lifted up for presentation. They were bled out, stripped, burned, eaten, all but destroyed, but never placed on display. Furthermore, every animal sacrificed was completely dealt with so that is was seen no more. Even if it was taken outside of the camp, it was never to be looked upon; yet, Christ proclaims the opposite concerning Himself, our Sacrifice.
“Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” Isaiah 45:22-23
Think you not that this is Jesus speaking?
“For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” Romans 14:11
Jesus is God, not the Father Who is also God, but He is the Son. Jesus is The Lord.
“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom are all things, and we by Him.” I Corinthians 8:6
But, still, we ask, why the Cross? I can tell you that every other sacrifice, other than the very first one which covered Adam and Eve, though instructed by God, was performed by the hands of men. In order to have fellowship with God, sacrifices were made to cover sin and allow a man, once a year, to enter the holy of holies and commune with God. This honored God, but there was no glory in it. It was a constant reminder of the sinful nature of man and the shame and separation it carries.
But that Cross was an orchestration of God and, essentially, since being allowed by Him to happen, was performed by Him. That Cross brings God the glory in all things because of what He has done for us. He desired to be lifted up on that Cross so that we would all look to Him and be saved. That Cross represents God’s mercy, God’s sovereignty, God’s Love, and God’s omniscience. To us, the Cross should be where we turn when we put our minds on Jesus. It is the Cross we should take communion in remembrance of.
It’s not the miracles He performed.
It’s not the sinless life that led up to it which He lived.
If Jesus Christ was not sacrificed on that Cross, none of the rest would have mattered one single iota. If He did not rise from that grave, we would have nothing to stand on in believing He is Who He says He is. The reference made to the Cross includes both the sacrifice and the resurrection. That is what the Apostle Paul teaches us whenever he says, “The Cross.”
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” I Corinthians 1:18
“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;” I Corinthians 1:23
Christ crucified cannot be preached without including His resurrection. That is the true power of God: that He could lay down His life and pick it back up again. That He would show us His glory through this one event demands it to be lifted up. Only He could lift up His own handiwork, and He would not allow any work of ours to be lifted up. That is why His sacrifice was on a cross, compared to all of ours previously that were taken from sight. The Cross presents to us the power of God. We did nothing. Christ did it all. Even today, through us as vessels, He continues to lift Himself up through what He did for us at The Cross.
We must return to humbleness and realize that nothing we do is more than filthy rags. Everything that is done was already accomplished at Calvary. The Lord did the work and He wants us to remember that, and allow our lives to reflect His Love to others as He lifts Himself up, drawing all men near to Him.
“Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father.” John 10:17-18