As Jesus hung on the cross, as the people passed by and insulted him, as the priests and the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him, as the thief sneered at him, what kept Jesus on the cross? What kept him from using his power to come down? What kept him from summoning his angelic hosts? What kept him from leaving his place of torture, pain and agony? What held Jesus on the cross? I assure you it was not the nails.
It was love that held our Savior to the tree. It was love that kept him there in spite of the humiliation. It was love that held him fast in the midst of suffering and pain. It was love that surpasses our human understanding. Love for His people, for His creation, for the unlovable, for those tainted by sin. It’s a love so great, so wondrous that it would keep Jesus on a cross until he proclaimed, “It is finished,” as He gave up His Spirit in exchange for death. It truly proves to all of us that God indeed is love (1 John 4:8). It’s not merely something that God does, but rather something that God is.
Jesus had options, but we do not. We needed a sacrifice for our sins. In fact, we needed a sacrifice that was flawless and perfect. We needed a sacrifice of such dimensions and quality that there was only one who could pay such a price: Jesus. We had no options: it was Jesus or eternal death. Jesus had options. Leave the cross alive with power flashing. Leave this world to its own devices. Leave these people to their just and deserved punishment. Jesus had options, but he chose not to exercise them.
Jesus stayed on the cross, held there by His love for us. As he hung there and endured the shame and agony to give up His precious, perfect life; He accomplished that which we so desperately needed. Forgiveness and cleansing, salvation and an eternal dwelling place. Jesus stayed on the cross and for that we are forever blessed.
Nothing earthly held our Savior and Redeemer to the rough wood of Calvary. It certainly wasn’t nails, but rather His was love for us. Nothing demonstrates God love for us more powerfully than the cross.
“For the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:2