There is a song about Jesus that goes like this: “When He was on the cross, I was on His mind.” That’s the truth. You can sing that song with confidence, but you don’t have to stop there.
Jesus didn’t just start thinking about you when He was being crucified, as if, after thirty-three years of doing other stuff, it was time to do something for you. He lived for you as surely as He died for you. His whole beautiful life was lived, in obedience to God, for you.
Sing with confidence, “When He was healing the sick, I was on His mind. When He was teaching the crowds, I was on His mind. When He was eating breakfast, I was on His mind.” His death and resurrection happened in culmination of His purpose. He had one purpose all His life. It had everything to do with you and your relationship to God.
In Romans 5:7-8 Paul highlights the uniqueness of Christ’s death by making a comparison. “For scarcely for a righteous man would one die,” he says, “yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
Paul, here, is comparing Christ to a hypothetical self-sacrificing hero. The point of the comparison is how undeserving we were. Someone may give his life under certain circumstances to save another man he deems worthy to be saved, but Christ gave His life for us while we were unworthy sinners.
Now allow me to compare this hypothetical hero to Christ in a different way. Suppose a man just saved your life. He pushed you out of the way of a bus, but in doing so he was killed. He knew it would cost him his life but he chose to save you anyway.
This man is a great hero; he sacrificed his life for you. But it wasn’t a life that he had lived for you. It was probably a good life, but it was lived for other reasons than to use it to save yours. Until the moment it happened he did not plan it. He had many goals in his life, but saving yours was not one of them until the last minute. To save your life he had to give up his own future, and any chance he had to fulfill his own goals.
Jesus, on the other hand, had no other goals. He lived with one purpose. His crucifixion was not an intrusion into a life lived for other reasons. He lived His life so that He could give it to you. You get the whole life, not just the last several hours.