From “How to become a Christian”: Chapter 10 – Jesus’s death on the cross
In enduring what He went through, Jesus was extraordinarily heroic. He is the bravest man who ever lived. We tend to overlook the outstanding courage and endurance that He showed. It was at a level far higher than that shown even by those who win medals like the Victoria Cross. For such people their act of bravery is usually very quick. It is all over in seconds or minutes. However what Jesus had to face up to and endure was slow and sustained.
Moreover, He had always known, throughout all eternity, that one day He had to face this cruel and humiliating death. The knowledge of what lay ahead must have weighed on Him through all of eternity past. Can you imagine how it must have been for Jesus for all those long ages of time to know that, one day, He was going to have to suffer and die for us and have all our sin transferred onto Him? That thought must have appalled Him. It must have been like an eternal “Garden of Gethsemane” experience as He anticipated what lay ahead of Him.
Remember also that Jesus was infinitely more powerful than His executioners. He could have stopped the crucifixion at any moment simply by using His own power. Or He could have commanded the angels to remove Him from the cross. Therefore He could have ended His own ordeal at any time, but He resisted the temptation to do so. Instead He bravely endured it all to the bitter end. Many people have endured terrible ordeals that they were powerless to stop. However, what made Jesus’ suffering unique was that He had the power all along to stop it, but never chose to do so. Who else but Him could show such restraint? He endured it all because He knew it had to be done that way. There was no other way to save us:
53“Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54“How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?”Matthew 26:53-54 (NASB)