“When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23 ESV).
It was the eternal plan. Jesus knew exactly what he was in for when he took the assignment. He wrote the script and played the leading role. Mankind would sin; God would redeem them with the blood of his Son. As the Artist of the human body, Jesus was fully aware of what the torturous day would do to his flesh and nerve endings. The bleeding began early. In Gethsemane he sweated blood over the coming agony.
In taking on our sins, there would be separation from the Father. Jesus would be numbered among the transgressors. God is perfectly holy and just; sin cannot abide in his presence, and Jesus would be wearing our sin as the sacrificial representative of Adam’s race. He had no sin of this own. Additionally, his body would then be dead—beaten, lacerated, impaled, and bloodless, all poured out.
Would Jesus’ spotless righteousness be vindicated? Would the just Judge be just?
There was never any doubt that Jesus’ body would be raised. He is eternal. He is life himself. He is God. But making peace with his blood provoked a wail of acute pain: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus had known only unity with the Father for all eternity past. Yet when Jesus took on our sins, God had to turn his back on him. While personally holy, with our sins upon him Jesus was regarded as impure. The Son was cast off by the Father on our behalf.
When the Father turned away, Jesus had fulfilled his mission. Immediately he yielded his spirit into the Father’s hands, the ultimate trusting. The Son of God allowed his body to die.
David captured this moment prophetically in Psalm 21:4 (ESV), “He asked life of you; you gave it to him, length of days forever and ever.” God the Father’s will was that his Son be vindicated, that his mission to redeem us be fulfilled, that he save those who believe, that he legally justify those who entrust themselves to him. This required resurrection (Romans 4:25; 5:18).
The revivifying of Jesus’ corpse is part of the larger mystery of the incarnation-resurrection-ascension. Our God is high above us; some things can never be comprehended. If they could be, he would be less. In unity the Godhead raised Jesus’ lifeless body. Forever he reigns in his glorified human body.
Jesus is our model. He shows us how to trust. We will also die, though we will cross death’s threshold because we are human sinners, not in selfless sacrifice of redemption. Placing our faith in Christ alone, we make the same request of God: “Give me life.” On behalf of his Son, God grants our request.
For this purpose Jesus set his face like flint as he aimed toward the cross, orchestrating all the events to arrive there, knowing the Father would forsake him when he did.
And one day, Jesus “will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body”(Philippians 3:21 NIV). God will grant us life on Jesus’ behalf. Length of days forever and ever! The just Judge is just. He can be trusted.