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Time and time again throughout Jesus’ teachings, he chooses to speak a bit cryptically—he even tells his disciples as much in Matthew 13 – but here, he states his mission plain and clear:
“I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest.” (v. 10b)
It would be ironic if it weren’t so logical: in order to give us life, he had to give up his own. I mean, the old saying, ‘a life for a life’ has been around forever for a reason. And yet, he didn’t just give up his life because he had to. No, he specifically takes the time to set the record straight in verse 18:
“No one takes my life from me. I give it up willingly!”
And this, in the light of Good Friday, is where I completely fall apart. Only 9 chapters later, we read:
“Pilate gave orders for Jesus to be beaten with a whip. The soldiers made a crown out of thorn branches and put it on Jesus… They also hit him with their fists” (John 19:1-3).
He continued to experience so much torment and torture that he needed someone else to carry his cross, as he’d become too weak. And then, of course, came the worst part of all: an excruciating death on a cross. The word ‘excruciating’ itself originates from the word crucifixion, as it made its victims suffer a most agonizing death.
Why did Jesus do this – and willingly, too? Well, as he states in John 15:13, “The greatest way to show love for friends is to die for them.”
He did it because he loves you. He did it because he wants you to have life, and have it in its fullest. On this Good Friday, find comfort in this truth: you are loved.
Lord Jesus, thank you for coming willingly in order to give us life. Thank you for your immeasurable love for us. May your love overflow into our lives, especially reaching those who don’t know you yet, so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest. Amen.