There were many times in Jesus’ life where he could have had more or been more. Many places he could have stopped and said, “This is good enough for me.” The first of which was the temple when he was twelve. He could have stayed there, despite the wishes of his parents to return home. I have no doubt the men at the temple during that time would have kept him on just because he was such an enigma. A child whose wisdom surpassed their own. They definitely could have paid off Mary and Joseph and exploited Jesus. But he wasn’t bound to it, so he moved on and grew in wisdom and stature.
Then there was the wilderness, where power and prestige were offered to him by the owner of the kingdom himself. Satan attempted to sway him with a legitimate offer of authority and distinction. If Jesus had not known his calling and been so sure of it, had he been in the flesh to any degree, he could have stopped here and had the things of this world we all seem to grapple for. But he knew, and he rebuked the enemy and moved from that place a stronger force for Heaven.
Jesus could have stopped at his position in the temple. After all, he was there teaching daily. He was given opportunity to read from the sacred texts and expound on it to the masses. His wisdom was without equal, and everyone recognized it. He could have stopped here and had a very effective ministry to the people. The Spirit of God was always drawing people to him, and Jesus could have stopped here and said, “This is it! I’ve reached the highest position of my life.”
He could have stopped among the political leaders. He was given an audience with both Pilate and Herod. He could have shown himself mighty in front of them and gained their confidence and trust. He could have sat with them and prescribed measures to ensure the peace of their people. He could have become a political giant, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, knowing that one day, he’d possess the kingdom. After all, there were many who rallied to him and fully expected him to rise into that position. But he knew there was something more, so he continued to move forward.
After he had rejected all this, after he had made the decision to reject all of earth’s temptations to keep him and use him, he was brought to the purpose of the Father. The purpose he lived for and knew would rise up to greet him one day. Bitter rejection. Agony. Pain and suffering. Death. There were so many ways he could have ministered to the world that would have made sense to us all. Many ways he could have been a mighty force for the kingdom of God, and still preserved himself. Many opportunities to avoid the cost of truly serving the Father’s purpose. He steadfastly pursued the Father’s will, and for that, he died. And saved us all. Ransomed us from death, hell and eternal destruction. He passed up Earth’s finest to become Heaven’s best.
May we who are called do the same.