The Suffering Messiah
As an older man, the apostle who was once known as a "son of thunder" picked up his pen and, moved by the Holy Spirit, began to write his account of the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. John stated in chapters 20 and 21 of his account that he wrote because he wanted all men to know about the signs which Jesus did, which were so many that if they were all to be recorded, the world could not contain the books that would be written. And when he begins his testimony, he paints the verbal picture for us of how the divine Son broke through into our dark world.
In John 1:1-2, he wrote, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."
Jesus, the very Son of God, shone into the darkness of our broken world. Finally, in a world of oppression, division, slavery, and disease, the light had come!
Yet, when He came (John 1:10-11), His own did not receive Him because (John 3:19) they loved the darkness, so they rejected the light of the Son of God.
At Calvary, when darkness fell, instead of falling on you or me, it fell on the very Word of God who was full of grace and truth.
Yet that was nothing in comparison to the trial of facing the wrath of God on sin. Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 53:10, "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand." Literally translated, it pleased the Lord to crush Him for sins he had never committed, that, according to 2 Corinthians 5:21, "we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." Jesus faced unimaginable grief as He faced the wrath of a holy God against all of humanity's relentless, God-despising acts of treason. I don't know about you, but a large number of those treasonous acts were mine.
Yet, according to Hebrews 12, he endured the cross with joy, considering the shame of the cross worthless compared to the joy of glorifying His Father, for it was on that dark day that the radiant glory of God shone its brightest. As God's justice crashed down on Jesus, God's mercy and grace became available to all who would call on Him by faith. According to Revelation 13:8, He is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. Every second of human history led to this glorious moment.
Even as men raged in rebellion against Him, this was not their plan, but His. According to Acts 4:27-28, it was God who appointed Herod and Pilate; it was God who ruled over the hearts of the Gentiles and people of Israel "to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done."
No man could take His life, but He chose to freely give it. He was the suffering Messiah, and he suffered there for you and for me.