who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:3)
Today’s big question: how could Christ have authority on the cross?
The onlookers at Christ’s crucifixion may have well thought that He was a powerless man, unable to save Himself and without glory. Today, many people who hear or even read the message of the Cross may think the same thing. The very thought of Roman soldiers leading Jesus through the streets, whipping Him, beating Him, holding His arms in place as they nailed Him onto the Cross, placing thorns on His head, and thrusting a spear in His side would make it seem that He was in submission to human authority. But this is not true of Christ—not in the least.
Today’s verse tells us that the same Christ who purged our sins on the Cross is the Christ who upholds all things by the Word of His power. Even while on the Cross, Jesus was God. We can only look at this with the greatest of wonder. How can someone with unlimited power appear so lowly in death? The answer is found in His will.
Before God made the world, Jesus was foreordained to be the Lamb who would die for our sins on the Cross (1 Peter 1:19–20; Ephesians 1:4). Jesus did not lose His authority on the Cross, because He willingly came in full obedience to carry out the Father’s will (Luke 22:42).
In Matthew 3, we see an amazing example of Jesus’ humility. John was concerned about baptizing Jesus because he realized that Jesus should have baptized him (Matthew 3:14), but Jesus allowed John to baptize Him “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). This humble act of obedience by the Creator of the universe—choosing to be baptized by a man He created—gives us a glimpse into the will of Jesus Christ.
Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry, He consistently demonstrated a willing obedience to carry out His purpose of salvation. He did not cling to His place on the throne as if He were losing it, because He “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
This is authority. Christ was on the Cross because He willed to be there. In this, we see the immense glory of His grace. We should never think that Jesus was somehow being oppressed by a human authority. He was in control of the entire situation. In His act of willful submission to death on a cross, Jesus displays His authority to both judge unbelief and save those who trust in Him.
The only fitting response to His great work is repentance.
Today’s big idea: Christ on the Cross is God in all authority.
What to pray: seek the Lord and ask Him to help you submit to Jesus Christ.