I had an email from a friend in a previous parish. His granddaughter had phoned to ask a question for her homework:
She wants to know why Jesus chose to die rather than “use his magic wand to escape”.
“Get out of that one”, my correspondent challenged. So, I did my best in a short space of time. After all, a child’s homework can’t wait. Here’s what I said:
In the temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11) Jesus has to choose between taking the easy way out and doing what is right. He chooses to obey God, whatever it costs. In Gethsemane, Jesus struggles with what he must face, but again chooses to do God’s will. When Jesus is arrested, one of his followers uses a sword to try to save him, but Jesus says that he could have asked God to send an army of angels to rescue him, but that is not how God’s purpose will be accomplished.
Christians believe that God offers salvation to us because Jesus was obedient “even to death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). And, “God shows his love for us in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
So, Jesus chooses to die, rather than use a magic wand to escape, because God loves us.
I’ll be interested to know what mark I get. I mean, what mark she gets…