It’s impossible to know all that the disciples experienced following Jesus’ death, but surely it involved confusion, doubt, anger, shock, disbelief, grief, hopelessness…
Among all the rush of emotions and thoughts, perhaps some of them considered the possibility that Jesus had other options.
The Zealots believed that a physical, violent revolt was needed. Surely if they stand up to the Romans, God will come in power to deliver them. Jesus could have taken up arms with the Zealots.
The chief priests controlled the temple. They walked a tightrope of collaborating with the Romans without getting close enough to upset other Jews. Jesus could have gone along to get along and used the temple as a teaching platform.
The Essenes withdrew to the countryside to start over in their own communities. Jesus could have done this and had quite a following out where it was safe and quiet.
Pilate ruled the region on behalf of Caesar. Jesus could have cut a deal with Pilate and worked from within the system to make some changes. Imagine Jesus being connected with influencing the Roman Empire from the inside.
God had already done many miracles through Jesus. All Jesus had to do was call for a legion of angels to come take up the battle. Perhaps one more dazzling miracle is what was needed.
All of these are options, but Jesus chooses none of them.
In the garden, alone and deserted, Jesus says, “I know what I must do. I will not fight. I will not run. I will not deal. I will not dazzle. I will die. I will die. Not my will Father but Your will be done.”
Jesus knows that rebels always die so He dies on a cross in place of the rebels, men like Barabbas. Jesus goes to the cross and literally saves Barabbas’ life.
Jesus knows that with a word from Him the crowds will attack. Many of the Roman soldiers were just boys from nearby Syria working for the Roman government. So Jesus will not say that word. He goes to the cross and Roman soldiers live.
Jesus knows that if He flees to the wilderness, His disciples will be gathered and executed. That happened to every other wannabe Messiah, and His disciples are scared to death. He dies and they are saved.
Jesus knows that any kind of uprising will bring the wrath of Rome and Jerusalem will be destroyed. So He dies to save Jerusalem.
Jesus dies for all these people who hate Him. And from this one act of sacrificial love the world is forever changed.
But they don’t understand. They don’t grasp that this is part of a bigger plan. When Jesus is arrested and crucified, all their hopes die with Him. For this moment… all seems lost.
Jesus had other options, but He chose to give His life.
“No one takes my life from me. I give it up willingly! I have the power to give it up and the power to receive it back again, just as my Father commanded me to do.” ~ John 10:18 (CEV)
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.