Total Surrender, Complete Victory

It’s one of the most powerful moments in the life of Jesus on Earth yet, it’s not a passage that seems to get a lot of attention. It follows a section of Luke. Chapter 4 does get a lot of attention: Jesus is rejected in His hometown of Nazareth. There is a dramatic moment where Jesus reads from what we call chapter 61 of Isaiah and effectively declares that the prophesy it contains has been fulfilled through Him, that He is both a prophet and the Messiah. This declaration leads to the passage that seems to me to have flown under the radar:

28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way. Luke 4:28-30 (NIV)

Wait, what just didn’t happen? An angry mob is ready to throw Him off a cliff and He was able to walk right through the crowd and go on his way? We are not told how this happened, but it must have been quite a sight. Did the power of God simply freeze Jesus’ would-be assassins (that’s how this incident is depicted in the streaming series “The Chosen.”)? However it happened, it illustrates a critically important point: Jesus was in completely control of all events and circumstances. Why is this point critical?

Because it shows us that Jesus’ surrender to the cross on Good Friday was complete. He could have stopped it. If he couldn’t, the sacrifice would be an empty one. On this Resurrection Sunday, it’s an important point to remember. Jesus’ life was not taken from Him, it was freely given for us. Twice we see Jesus rebuke the Apostle Peter when he tries to prevent Jesus from experiencing the punishment He was born to suffer. The pain was the plan all along. As the prophet Isaiah wrote centuries before Jesus’ birth:

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5 (NIV)

The gift the pain bought is free. Jesus asks just one thing: that we match His total surrender with our own total surrender of self:

20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! Galatians 2:20-21 (NIV)

We die with Christ and then we rise with Him. Sweet victory won in total surrender. Jesus is victorious over sin and death, and we win the prize of that victory, freedom from sin and eternity with Him. On this Resurrection Sunday, I encourage you to spend the day meditating on Jesus’ unthinkable sacrifice and what it bought for you.

And remember, when He was on the cross, He called you by name and said: “this is for you.” He did that for us all. Total surrender, complete victory.

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