Could Jesus have Avoided the Cross?

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Could Jesus have saved himself from the cross and gone on to die a natural death to still obtain the sum total of human experience?

Not without violating the decisions which he made during the forty days in the wilderness after the baptism. Jesus made some decisions which, in part, added up to this: He would never use his creator powers to help himself. He might use them to help his fellow men, but he would never use them to help himself–and he never did.

I think he could have humanly avoided the situation of the cross, but he elected not to. And having invoked that chain of circumstances, he accepted the consequences. He did not have to enter Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and teach there that last week, nor tarry in Gethsemane. And having done these things, he accepted the course of human events.

And I think he was doing this to prove something. I think he was trying to show all human beings that he understands what it is to get a tough break in life–a real tough one. And it hurts, too.

When he prayed in Gethsemane, this was no phony prayer. This was the prayer of a human being who didn't like what lay ahead, and being crucified was the lousiest way they had of putting a human being to death. A Roman citizen could not be crucified. He could be beheaded, but he could not be crucified. The human Jesus was a little aghast at what lay immediately ahead, and he just wanted to check, you know–is this really now the deal? I've always been so glad he asked that question. He was just checking to be sure.

When he prayed in Gethsemane and said, "Father, do I have to drink this cup?" Pardon me for using ordinary language. "Is this really the deal?" No, he could not have saved himself from the cross in the situation he was in without violating his own basic position which he'd made at the beginning of his public career.

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