The people of Jesus’ day were divided whether they were for or against Him. The chief priests and religious leaders were jealous of His popularity. The people who excitedly welcomed Jesus on Palm Sunday expected Him to wrest power away from Rome and declare himself King. But when He didn’t, many turned against Him. Less than a week after shouting “Hosanna, praise to the King,” they screamed “Crucify Him! ”

photo courtesy Ben White, unsplash

Isaiah 53:4-5 predicted the Messiah would give himself as a sacrifice for all, but that people would see His death as a punishment for His own sins, not ours: “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 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.”

Was Jesus a helpless victim in this plan? Not at all.

During His three years of ministry, He preached with authority: “The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law” (Mark 1:22).

He cast out demons with authority: “The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, ‘What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him’” (Mark 1:27). 

Demons acknowledged His authority: “‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!’

‘Be quiet!’ said Jesus sternly.‘Come out of him!’ The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek” (Mark 1:24-26).

Jesus declared His authority to forgive sin: “I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (Mark 2:10).

And He gave His disciples authority over the powers of darkness and sickness: “Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits… They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them” (Mark 6:7, 12-13).

Jesus declared His intentions ahead of time: “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep….No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father” (John 10:14,18).

When men mistakenly thought they had power over Jesus, He set them straight: “So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, ‘Who is it you want?’

‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied.

‘I am he,’ Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, ‘I am he,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.

Again he asked them, ‘Who is it you want?’

‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ they said.

Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.’This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: ‘I have not lost one of those you gave me.’” (John 18:3-9)

When Pilate thought he had power over Him, Jesus assured him he did not: “‘Do you refuse to speak to me?’ Pilate said. ‘Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?’

Jesus answered, ‘You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above’” (John 19:10-11).

 After Jesus demonstrated His power over death, He explained to His disciples why no one could keep Him in the grave: “‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem’” (Luke 24:44-47).

Jesus sent His followers to continue His work until He comes back to gather His children home: “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’” (Matthew 18:18-20).

That is why Jesus came; that is why He died. He has set all who will believe in Him free from the bondage of sin. If you believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, go in the unquenchable authority of Jesus Christ, and spread the Good News: