The Surprising Story of the Victim Who Was a Volunteer

One of the things that Passion Week helps us to see (mentioned yesterday) is that Jesus was not a victim but a volunteer. Today is Palm Sunday, and Jesus is traveling with his friends. After the Sabbath, Jesus and the disciples walked from Bethany NW through Bethpage to Jerusalem, a journey of 8-10 miles.

The Victim who Walked Right Into a Trap?

He rode the last part on the colt of a donkey, fulfilling this prophecy from Zechariah 9:9, “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” As he approached, “A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:8-9, NIV).

Some say that Jesus was simply a great rabbi who got swept up in events, and who became a victim because of the tumultuous political climate in Jerusalem. They surmise that these adoring crowds called attention to him, the authorities reacted, and things got out of control. (And yes, these are probably some of the same crowds who will be calling for his crucifixion in just a few days…)

A Strange Event in a Jewish Hero Story

Even so, Luke 19 tells us that he wept compassionately over Jerusalem as he approached the city. Some Greeks came to see Philip, who took them to Andrew, who helped introduce them to Jesus. (We don’t know much about Andrew, but we could all do a lot worse than to be remembered as someone who introduced people to Jesus!).

This is one of the clear signals indicating that Gentiles will be included in the New Covenant. It is an interesting fact to be included about the triumphant entry of a Jewish Rabbi… Why even speak about Greeks at such a time? Shortly after meeting them Jesus announced, “When I am lifted up, I will draw all men to myself”, indicating that these Greeks and “all men” were included in his crucifixion and his kingdom.

No Victim in This Murder Mystery

It’s interesting to note that Jesus taught his disciples several times that he was going to die, that he was a volunteer and not a victim.

Jesus was on a mission, and he was proclaiming it to everyone. Here’s another notable statement that Jesus made in front of his followers outside of Jerusalem: ““Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:27, 28, NIV). Knowing what was to come, he is troubled but not desperate; he is aware but not anxious.

Jesus knows exactly what he came to do and what his purpose is. He is not a chance victim, swept along the current of events, wishing that God would save him from this fate. He is a man on a mission who plans to see it through.

The Question Is, What Do YOU Believe About the Cross?

Luke 17:2 [Jesus taught them] But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
John 7:3 “For a little while longer I am with you, then I go to Him who sent Me.”
John 18:3, 6 Judas, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with torches and weapons. When Jesus said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground…
Matthew 26:52 Jesus told Peter to put his sword away

(This Spoken Word was somewhat inspired by S.M. Lockridge’s sermon, “That’s my King”, That’s My King – Do you know Him? – S.M. Lockridge ( which is definitely worth a listen. As you read the next few paragraphs, think of doing it in his voice, and you’ll get the idea…)

What do you believe about the cross? Was Jesus a victim or a volunteer?
While the cross is history, it’s also a bit of a mystery; What caused the crucifixion?
Some say it was caused by politics in the area; others claim it was mob hysteria.

Was it Jesus’s heresy? The Pharisees’ jealousy? Herod’s legacy? Judas’s zealotry?
Was Jesus swept along by a current of events, or was he in control of everything?
In the panoply of history, was he a Rabbi who overplayed his hand, or a King who had total command? Was he a mistreated milquetoast, or a man on a mission?
The cross wasn’t circumstantial; it was strategic.
For Jesus the cross wasn’t by chance, it was by choice.

So, WHY the Cross?

It wasn’t based on an accident; it was based on his authority.
The Cross wasn’t a random disaster; it was a deliberate design.

He said, “Destroy this Temple and I will raise it up!” & “Father, I will drink from this cup”
Jesus predicted it; he projected it; he presented it; and he prepared for it: Jesus explained it to his disciples; he expounded upon it to the Pharisees;
and he expected it to happen.

Jesus knew about it; he talked about it; he prophesied about it; and he prayed about it.
He could have protested when he was arrested, but it wasn’t contested because
It was what he expected. Jesus told Peter to put his sword away; he told Pilate he had nothing more to say;
The cross wasn’t the result of a bad day, or a roadblock along the way; It WAS the way…

But what do YOU have to say?

What do you believe about the cross? Was Jesus a victim or a volunteer?
For Jesus, It wasn’t unexpected; it was premeditated.
The cross wasn’t coincidental; it was calculated.
It was not incidental, and it wasn’t accidental; it was intentional. The Cross wasn’t capital punishment, it was cosmic punishment.

Jesus allowed the Pharisees to plot, so he could do for us what we could NOT.
He allowed the Romans to execute him, so he could execute God’s plan.
God’s Son wasn’t laid low, he was lifted up.
He wasn’t horrified, he was glorified.
Jesus wasn’t a victim of circumstance; he was a voluntary sacrifice.

What do you believe about the cross? All the sinister plans the Pharisees could ever concoct, all the Temple guards they could have ever sent, could never have taken the King of Kings against His will. Jesus wasn’t a pitiful loser who got caught by surprise;
He was a powerful leader committed to salvation!

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here:
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here:
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here:
For the Kindle Edition, go here: