One of the greatest proofs of the necessity of Christ’s death on the cross for man’s reconciliation with God is in the prayer that He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus, in the deep anguish of His soul cried out to the Father and said if it were possible, the cup of suffering be taken away from Him (Mat 26:39).
The possibility of which He spoke was not an avoidance of suffering and death per se; that was possible; God had the power to rescue Him from the mob. He Himself said to the testy Peter as Peter relieved Malchus, the High Priest’s servant of his right ear in a bid to defend His Lord that He could call on legions of angels who would rescue Him if He wanted to.
Rather, He spoke of the possibility of redemption, of His ultimate purpose of atoning for sin and bringing men to God; if this could be achieved without the excruciating anguish He was experiencing and the torment still awaiting Him as He bore the wrath of God in man’s place, then it was preferable. But insofar as it was not possible, insofar as salvation could be achieved only via His vicarious death and sacrifice, then so be it.
As we preach Christ we must remember that although He willingly gave up His life for us according to the predetermined plan of God, it was not a casual thing. It was done because it was the only way out, the only way to satisfy divine justice and divine love. It was neither gratuitous nor was it an exercise in masochism, but the prerequisite for redemption.
We ought to then make much of the Christ, make much of the cross, and make much of our redemption. As the apostle Peter put it, it is not by perishable things like silver and gold that we have been redeemed but by the precious blood of Christ (1Pe 1:18-19) . What an awesome Saviour.