Voluntary sufferings of Christ
“I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not My face from shame and spitting.” – Isaiah 50:6
We may observe, from the words, that the humiliation of Messiah was voluntary and that it was extreme.
With respect to His engagement, as the Mediator between God and sinners, a great work was given Him to do, and He became responsible; and therefore, in this sense, bound, and under obligation. But His compliance was likewise voluntary, for He gave Himself up freely to suffer, the just for the unjust. Could He have relinquished our cause and left us to the deserved consequence of our sins, in the trying hour when His enemies seized upon Him, legions of angels, had they been wanted, would have appeared for His rescue. But if He was determined to save others, then His own sufferings were unavoidable.
Men, in the prosecution of their designs, often meet with unexpected difficulties in their way, which, though they encounter with some cheerfulness, in hope of surmounting them, and carrying their point at last, are considered as impediments; but the suffering of Messiah were essentially necessary to the accomplishment of His great designs, precisely determined, and present to His view beforehand; so that …there was not a single circumstance that happened to Him unawares. He knew that no blood but His own could make atonement for sin; that nothing less than His humiliation could expiate our pride; that if He did not thus suffer, sinners must inevitably perish; and therefore (such was His love!) He cheerfully and voluntarily ‘gave His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that plucked off the hair’.
Two designs of vast importance filled His mind, the completion of them was that joy set before Him, for the sake of which, ‘He made Himself of not reputation, endured the cross and despised the shame’. These were, the glory of God and the salvation of sinners.
Extract from a sermon by John Newton
on the voluntary sufferings of Christ