While training for the marathon, I came to a conclusion.
Jesus did not sacrifice himself on the cross.
If Jesus willingly chose to die on the cross, and withheld his ability to “come down off the cross,” then his death does not connect him with the suffering and oppressed. It would be similar to my decision yesterday to run 8.5 miles in 93 degrees. Yes it was painful, yes it was a miserable experience, but it was not suffering.
Rather Jesus suffered on the cross. His cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” reveals that the crucifixion was not a willing sacrifice, but an unjustified suffering in which Jesus was abandoned by human friends (The disciples) and even by God.
It is imparative that Jesus’ death on the cross was not a willing sacrifice, because if that is true then he does not allign himself with the oppressed and those who are truly suffering. For those who are suffering, they are only able to receive reassurance from Christ if Christ’s crucifixion was not by choice, but a moment of powerful weakness.