The cross: a demonstration of Christ’s love for us or for the Father?

John 14:28-31 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.  And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.  I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. 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.

Pastor John MacArthur, in a message “What Dying Meant to Jesus”

And so we say as we look at the cross that what looks like the greatest defeat is really the greatest victory in history. For as Jesus Christ dies on the cross bearing in His body sin, hell is holding, as one man said, high carnival, thinking they’ve won their day. Three days later, He came bursting out of the tomb. But before even then, while His body was dead, His spirit alive descended into that place where the demons are bound. And as Colossians tell us, He proclaimed His triumph over them in the cross. And then He blasted out of the shackles of death, came bursting out of the tomb, shattering the Roman shield and is alive for evermore. And Satan is a vanquished foe. Satan shot every gun he had at Christ, and they couldn’t pull it off. He’s alive. So the disciples should rejoice, as He said in verse 28, “If you love Me, you’d rejoice,” why, “because

  • My person will be dignified.
  • My truth will be documented.
  • My enemy will be defeated.”
  • And one more: My love will be demonstrated.

My love will be demonstrated. Look at verse 31. “But that the world may know,” I love this, “that I love the Father.” Stop right there. You wanna know something, we don’t think about that very often, but the cross is not only a great statement of Christ’s love for us. It’s great statement of His love for the Father. Do you know that? Who sent Him to die on the cross? The Father. Who commanded Him to come and do that? The Father. And that’s what He says, “And as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.” In other words, the greatest proof of love is what? Obedience. And He is saying, “When I go to the cross, I will prove to the world that I love the Father.”  Oh, He had claimed to love the Father already in this chapter. Verse 21, verse 23. But it’s one thing to claim it. It’s something else to verify it. And so He says, “By going to the cross and dying the death, I will prove My love for the Father.” That’s what Jesus’ death meant to Him.