“Nothing Better to Do”

Several days ago my youngest daughter, three, started learning about Jesus’ crucifixion. We’ve spoken to her about it before, but this was the first time she actually understood it to some extent.

M to Mommy in an excited voice: “Is it true? Is Jesus Really Coming Back?”
Mommy: “Yes. He’s coming back someday.”
M: “Yay!” (Spins around in circles as fast as she can.)

A few days later my wife took the children to a thrift store where the little girl saw a cross…

M to Mommy: “Look, Mom. A cross.”
Mommy: “Do you know what happened there?”
M: “Jesus died.”
Mommy: “Yes. Do you know why He died?”
M: “Because He had nothing better to do!”

Children can be so funny at times. Neither my wife nor I could figure out where that response came from. On “Jeapordy” she would have lost hundreds of dollars on that response. Looking deeper at the meaning, though … she’s right!

Matthew 26:50-54 brings this to light in Jesus’ own words when Peter sliced off the ear of the high priest’s servant at the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus warns Peter about what violence brings then says something we hadn’t heard before: “…do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”

Jesus knew He had a way out of being crucified. It wasn’t steel and strong wooden beams that held Him to the cross. At any moment He could have cried out to God and Jesus could have ruled in might and power – but then He wouldn’t have fulfilled His word.

John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Jesus had nothing better to do than to save the world from sin and death … than to bail us out of the eternal prison we walked into when Adam sinned at the beginning.

He had nothing better to do than to die on the cross.

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