What Held Jesus To The Cross?

W. Terry Varner
April 17, 2016

Nothing is more attractive to the man lost in sin than the cross, as it gives him a way out of sin. Likewise, nothing is more attractive to the Christian than the cross because the blood shed on Calvary’s cross flowed backwards cleansing our past sins at baptism and flows forward cleansing our sins as we repent and pray for forgiveness.

While we realize that the nails pounded into His arms and hands of Christ held Him their literally. What held Jesus on the cross? When we think seriously about Jesus, we realize Jesus was all powerful and could have come down from the cross after being nailed to it. After all, Jesus who had quieted the storm, feed multitudes, raised the dead, healed lepers, restored sight to the blind, and performed various other miracles, wonders, and signs could have stepped down off the cross at any time.

The Will of the Father Held Him on the Cross. In Gethsemane, Jesus prayed that IF there was another way that atonement for the sins of man could be realized than the cross, He asked the Father to consider it. The prayer was answered that there was no other substitute to atone for man’s sin than for Jesus to endure the cross. His prayer was “not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39-42). They show that Jesus was willing to drink the cup of suffering on the cross.

The crucifixion was “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Heb, 2:17). Paul reminds us that God “has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 5:18) “by the death of His Son” (Rom. 5:10). The death of Jesus on Calvary’s cross was “not for our sins only, but for the whole world” (1 John 2:2b). The provision of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross extended to the whole world. None are excluded except those who will not avail themselves by obedience to it (cf. John 3:16; Heb. 5:8-9). Therefore, it was the Father’s will, and Jesus’ too, to be held on the cross.

God’s Eternal Plan Held Jesus on the Cross. God’s giving His Son on the cross for the sins of man was planned or purposed before the world began. Creating man, as creature of choice, God knew he would sin. The Godhead planned before creation to redeem man. “According to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Tim. 1:9, emp. added, cf. 1 Peter 1:10-12, 20-21). The result was the purchasing of the church with His blood (cf. Acts 20:28) for which the eternal plan of God is made known to the world (cf. Eph. 3:10-11). Without the cross, God’s purpose for the world by the church would have been aborted; therefore, God’s love for man held Jesus on the cross.

The Joy Set Before Christ Held Him on the Cross. We are instructed to look to “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross,” (Heb. 12:2, emp. added). Christ had the task of undergoing the crucifixion. Any way we look at the cross, it is an unpleasant experience. Jesus endured the death reserved for the crime of treason among the Romans. It is a punishment unfit for civilized man, but it was done “for the joy that was set before Him” (Heb. 12:2).

Exactly what is “joy that was set before” Jesus so that He endured the cross and its horrible suffering and stigma? Jesus answers this question. “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from MyFather” (John 10:17-18). The crowd could not have killed Jesus if He had not planned for them to do so. He was willing for them to kill Him because of the joy bringing men home to the Father. It was not the nails holding our Savior to the old cross. These are but a of few things that did.