Who Put Jesus on the Cross?
John 14:30–31, “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming [Satan]. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.”
They had been in the upper room until now. The Lord’s Supper had been over. The foot washing was over. There were a couple of chapters of teaching in the upper room, and now he says, “Let’s go.” And when he says, “Let’s go,” he means, “Gethsemane, where I plan to be arrested and taken to execution. Let’s go.”
“Love is controlling tonight. My love for the Father is totally in charge.” Tweet Share on Facebook
So now he puts this going in the light that he wants them to see for their faith. There’s something he wants them to believe about this and trust about this. He wants to banish some wrong understandings about what’s happening and get the right understanding. He wants them to know the Devil is real. He’s active and, in a crucial sense, powerless. So read this carefully: “The ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me.” So Satan has entered Judas. We know this from Luke 22:3. Judas is on his way. Satan is on his way. He’s coming.
But Jesus says, “That is not why I am going to the cross.” This is what he wants to straighten out for them. Satan tonight is not decisive. Jesus says in John 14:30, “He has no claim on me.” What does that mean? A literal translation would be, “He has nothing in me.” The great accuser has nothing to accuse Jesus with, and he’s groping and looking, and he can’t find anything in Jesus to accuse. There is no little whimper of a sin to hook. That’s what he does with you. If you think a sinful thought, hook. Have a sinful feeling, hook. Satan has no power over a sinless man — none.
I’d love to pause here and talk about union with Christ and justification by faith alone. Is it bubbling inside of you? I’m sinless. You’re sinless. We’re sinless. But that’s another sermon. In union with the Sinless One, we are safe. We just sang a song:
Hidden in the hollow of his blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand.
So that night, the reason why he was arrested and went to the cross was not Satan — not at the bottom. Well, why was he arrested? This is what he wants them to understand — and us. He tells us really plainly. Why did he get arrested? Why does he die?
“Satan has nothing in me. He can’t hook me. He can’t control me. He can’t find a chink in my armor of righteousness, but here’s the truth: I’m going by obedience to my Father. That’s why I’m getting arrested.”
This isn’t demonic coercion. This is divine compliance with the will of Almighty God to save sinners. And he wants you to know this so that you can trust him. This is all about him choosing to die, choosing to get arrested, choosing to be obedient to the Father. “Satan, you think you’re running the show. You don’t run this show. You are a lackey getting me where I mean to be.”
“In union with the Sinless One, we are safe.”
So Satan is not the explanation for Calvary. Obedience is the explanation for Calvary. “I do as my Father has commanded me. Rise, let us go.” Who’s in charge? “Nobody takes my life from me. I lay it down of my own accord, and if I lay it down, I’ll take it up again” (see John 10:18). “So Satan, do as you’re told.”
Jesus is saying to his disciples, “I want you to know that demonic betrayals, and demonic denials, and demonic lying is not ruling this night. Love is ruling this night.” Do you see that in verse 31? “So that the world may know that I love the Father.” “I’m not controlled by lies at the court; I’m controlled by loving my Father. Love is controlling tonight. My love for the Father is totally in charge.” Divine love between the Father and the Son are in charge tonight.
The roots of the cross reach back before creation into the Godhead, from all eternity, where the Father and the Son have infinitely loved each other forever and ever and ever. And that love between the Father and the Son, Jesus says, is why he’s doing what he’s doing. “I want the world to see and know I love the Father.” That’s amazing. The deepest roots of our salvation is the Son’s love for the Father and the Father’s love for the Son, which existed for all eternity.
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By John Piper