Christ Suffered Willingly
"And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again." - Matthew 20:17-19
Our Lord made a clear announcement of His own approaching death (vv. 8-19). The Lord Jesus knew from the beginning what was before Him. The treachery of Judas Iscariot, the fierce persecution of the chief priests and scribes, the unjust judgement, the delivery to Pontius Pilate, the mocking, the scourging, the crown of thorns, the cross, the hanging between two malefactors, the nails, the spear - all were spread before His mind like a picture.
How great an aggravation of suffering foreknowledge is, those who have lived in prospect of some fearful surgical operation know! Yet none of these things moved the Lord (Isaiah 50:5-6). He saw Calvary in the distance all His life through, and yet walked calmly up to it without turning to the right hand or the left. Surely there was never sorrow like unto His sorrow, or love like unto His love. The Lord Jesus was a voluntary sufferer. When He died on the cross,
it was not because He had no power to prevent it. He suffered intentionally, deliberately and out of His own free will (John 10:18). He knew that without the shedding of His own blood, there could be no forgiveness of sins. He knew that He was the Lamb of God who must die to take away the sin of the world. He knew that His death was the appointed sacrifice which must be offered up to make reconciliation for iniquity. Knowing all this, he went willingly to the cross. His heart was set on finishing the mighty work He came into the world to do. He was well aware that all hinged on His own death and that without that death, His miracles and preaching would have done comparatively nothing for the world. No wonder that He pressed on His disciples the fact that He must die. Blessed and happy are those who know the real meaning and importance of the sufferings of Christ!
-J. C. Ryle