How Jesus overcame everything to obey God, die on the Cross, and rise again
When we read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples, both Matthew and Mark conclude their narratives by saying: And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
The hymn they were singing was Psalm 118, the last psalm in the Hallel—the Great Praise—which is sung at every Jewish festival. Although Jesus knew He was facing torture and crucifixion, He sang in verse six: “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
As I contemplated this, I thought, “Well, man can bind You, falsely accuse You, put You on trial, spit on You, pull out Your beard, crown You with thorns, beat You, mock You, strip You, nail You to a cross, then thrust a spear into Your side. That’s what man can do to You.”
And yet Jesus sang, “I will not fear.” How is this possible?
As the Apostle Paul writes, For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). The opposite of fear is love! And the Apostle John tells us, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear. … But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).
We need to let go of all fear and be made perfect in His love.
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me? ~Psalm 118:6
Of course, there is one good fear, which Jesus describes in Matthew 10:28: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
This fear entails a holy awe and reverence—as we say in the Lord’s prayer, “Hallowed be Thy name.” Yet I was struck by how Isaiah 8:13 adds to that hallowing: The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow; let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.
I wondered what Isaiah meant by “dread,” and I found the answer in Genesis 31:53, where Jacob makes a covenant with his father-in-law, Laban. The New King James Version says Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac. The Hebrew word for fear in this verse is pachad, which is more than just awe. Commenting on that passage, Jewish rabbis have said that this dread is what came upon Isaac when he realized that he was about to be sacrificed.
Genesis 22:7-8 sets the scene: Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, …“Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb.”
Abraham was referring to Isaac, and he was also referring prophetically to Jesus. Keep in mind that Isaac was not a little child, but a full-grown man, and Abraham was well over 100! So Isaac didn’t have to obey, yet he submitted himself to be bound as the sacrifice. Why? Because he feared the God of his father. He didn’t resist because obeying God was more important to him than his own life.
So when Jesus sang, “I will not fear” in Psalm 118, He was trusting in God’s will for His life. He was trusting God to raise Him on the third day, for as He sang in verse 17 of that same psalm, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.”
He was trusting God’s plan for our salvation, which Jesus revealed in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Jesus was filled with such love for us that He willingly chose the cross—so we can enter into His marvelous victory over sin and death and enjoy life with Him today here on earth, and forever in heaven.
God bless you!
Excerpted from a teaching at CBN Staff Chapel. Scripture is quoted from the NKJV.