Why did Jesus endure great pain and suffering on the cross for you and me?
Why didn’t he save himself?
He could have. With one word, Jesus had the power to come down from that cross if he wanted to. The soldiers even dared him to do it.
So what compelled him to persevere in suffering and death?
Max Lucado answers this question in his book, A Love Worth Giving, with the following true story:
[Lee Ielpi] is a retired firefighter, a New York City firefighter. He gave twenty-six years to the city. But on September 11, 2001, he gave much more. He gave his son. Jonathan Ielpi was a fireman as well. When the Twin Towers fell, he was there.
Firefighters are a loyal clan. When one perishes in the line of duty, the body is left where it is until a firefighter who knows the person can come and quite literally pick it up. Lee made the discovery of his son’s body his personal mission. He dug daily with dozens of others at the sixteen-acre graveyard. On Tuesday, December 11, three months after the disaster, his son was found. And Lee was there to carry him out.
He didn’t give up. The father didn’t quit. He refused to turn and leave. Why? Because his love for his son was greater than the pain of the search. Can’t the same be said about Christ? Why didn’t he quit? Because the love for his children was greater than the pain of the journey. He came to pull you out. Your world had collapsed. That’s why he came. You were dead, dead in sin. That’s why he came. He loves you. That’s why he came.1
- Max Lucado, A Love Worth Giving: Living in the Overflow of God’s Love (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2002), 155.