Prior to his death, Jesus had a handful of followers. Maybe a couple hundred at best. He had been rejected by the religious leaders, the powerful, and the elite. And on Good Friday, his only followers outright deserted him.
That’s right, on Good Friday, Jesus’ disciples were running scared. One of his closet friends – Simon Peter – even denied Jesus publicly not once, but three times. And when Jesus asked his disciples to watch and pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, they instead fell asleep. And worse yet, one of his own betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver.
Can you imagine what it would be like to have every person you know – every close friend and family member – abandon you prior to your death?
Most of us have at least someone in this world we can count on. Someone who will never reject us or betray us. Someone who stands by us, even when no one else will – a parent, spouse, friend, sister, brother, son, or daughter.
But not Jesus. Jesus went to the cross alone. And not only was Jesus completely deserted, he was facing a brutal, painful death. This would have been reason alone to back out and say, “enough is enough.”
So why did he do it? Why not call it quits, throw in the towel, and beam up to heaven? Surely, if he was God, he could have stopped the pain and torture. He could have called a legion of angels to rescue him, or rained fire from heaven on his accusers.
But instead he chose to stick it out – even willingly.
Why? He did it for you and for me. It wasn’t suffering for the sake of suffering. It was suffering – the ultimate sacrifice of giving one’s life -- for your sake and mine.
Why would God allow his only Son to pay the ultimate price for nothing? In considering who Jesus is, consider this – his death is meaningless unless it served a greater purpose. Could that greater purpose be to bring you back to God?
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13