We read in the letter to the Hebrews: “Looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” (Heb. 12:2). The author is the creator of the work. He is the one who conceives in this mind and heart. He is the one who presents something that has never been thought of before him. Jesus has the copyright of the work of salvation. We can say that Jesus engendered the work of salvation by faith.
The architect is the author of the project, and the construction company constructs the building, that is, it will complete the work. With Jesus, things are different. He conceived, and he completed the work. For this reason he is the author and finisher of faith. Jesus completes the issue, so that no doubts remain: “Therefore the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down by myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. I received this commandment from my Father” (John 10:17-18).
Therefore, no one has persuaded Jesus to die on the cross for the lost sinners. No one has forced him to go on that cursed cross. Why, then, Jesus prayed in mortal aguish, saying: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me; nevertheless, not what I desire, but what you desire” (Luke 22:42).
Was Jesus terrified before the fatal cross? Many think so. Many scholars concluded that Jesus could not stand the separation with his disciples, whom he loved more than life. Others think that Jesus, who came to save his people, was not able to stand the disdain and the abandonment of those that had earlier acclaimed him as king (Matt. 15:24; 21:4-11). We conclude that Jesus, who had never sinned, was not being able to stand the weight of sins and uncleanness practiced by all men and women of all humanity, polluting his stainless body. The prophet Isaiah said: “Jehovah has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Is. 53:6). Jesus drank the cup of drags of the abominable sinners (Ps. 75:8). Certainly what brought Jesus such agony was not the fear of the cross.
Jesus repeatedly spoke of his death to the disciples: “The Son of Man is about to be delivered up into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and the third day he will be raised up” (Matt. 17:22-23). He repeated it in detail in Matt. 20:18-19. The evangelist Luke also registers this declaration (Luke 18:31-33). Another time Jesus spoke of is death, and Peter was against it. Jesus, then, told him: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me” (Matt. 16:23). Jesus’ love for the lost was such, that dying became a passion. And whoever opposed it was treated as satan (Heb. 2:9).
If Jesus is the author and perfecter of faith, as we have seen above, why is it written that he was obedient till death, and death on the cross? If Jesus, dying on the cross, obeyed someone, he is not author and perfecter (Phil. 2:6-8). In another place: “Though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered” (Heb. 5:8). This text reveals that he suffered in obedience to someone. What is the truth about the death of Jesus on the cross? Let us start with the prophecy of Isaiah: “All we like sheep have gone astray. Everyone has turned to his own way; and Jehovah has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, yet when He was afflicted he didn’t open his mouth. As a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is mute, so he didn’t open his mouth” (Is. 53:6-7). The one who demanded the sacrifice of sheep and lambs was Jehovah (Lev. 1:10; 3:7; 4:32). So, Jesus as lamb is a demand of Jehovah. The above text of Isaiah says that Jesus was taken to the slaughter as a lamb (Is. 53:7). And Isaiah says more: “He was … stricken for the disobedience of my people” (Is. 53:8). And Isaiah went further: “Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise him. He has caused him to suffer” (Is. 53:10). Now, if the holocaust and sacrifices were ordained by Jehovah, as we read in Exodus 20:24; if the sheep and lambs were ordinances of Jehovah, Jesus, as the lamb of god, is an invention of Jehovah. The text of Isaiah should read: “Jesus was pleased to be bruised”, or else: “He freely went to the slaughter.” This was what Jesus declared to Peter in Matt. 16:20-23, and also in John 10:17-18, when he declares to be the good shepherd: “I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD. THE GOOD SHEPHERD LAYS DOWN HIS LIFE FOR THE SHEEP” (John 10:11). This declaration presupposes that there is a bad shepherd who takes the life of the sheep.
John the Baptist, when he saw Jesus, cried out: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Similarly to the sacrifices of lambs in the Old Testament for Jehovah to forgive sins (Lev. 4:32-35), Jesus was going to be killed for the Jews to be forgiven, so Caiaphas, the high priest, declared: “Nor do you consider that it is advantageous for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish” (John 11:49-51). Caiaphas spoke only of death, not of resurrection. Jesus, when he died, was only begotten (John 3:16), but when he resurrected, he was firstborn; no longer only begotten, for this one had forever died. This is why the death of Jesus does not save or make righteous. “Who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). We read a little further on: “For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we will be saved by his life” (Rom. 5:10). Jesus’ death, the only begotten, does not save anyone, only reconciles. Nevertheless, the resurrection saves man; therefore Paul said: “we will be saved by his life.”
In Gen. 22:1-2, Jehovah tested Abraham, saying: “Abraham! … Now take your son, your only son, whom you love, even Isaac, and go into the land of Moriah. Offer him there for a burnt offering”. Jehovah asked for the sacrifice. Now, Abraham is a picture of God (Luke 16:22-25). Isaac is a picture of Jesus (Rom. 9:9-10; Heb. 11:17-19). In Gen. 22:1-2, in a figure, God the Father was challenged by Jehovah to kill his own only begotten son, that is, the only one.
In Rom. 8:32 we read that the Father did not spare his Son, but delivered him up for us. Therefore, Jehovah asked, and the Father, because of his love for us, delivered him, because Jesus was ready to complete the plan of salvation; therefore Jesus is the author and perfecter. In order to redeem those who Jehovah had in his power, he had to obey the rules of the law ordained by Jehovah and to be sacrificed as a lamb. Jesus took upon him our sins in baptism; so, in baptism we are forgiven and washed (Acts 2:38; 22:16). So he became sinful without having sinned; and Jesus knew the following: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31). All the fury of Jehovah fell upon Jesus (Deut. 29:20; 9:13-14). The vengeance of Jehovah for his people fell upon Jesus. But the Father, who is love, raised Jesus from among the dead. The resurrected Jesus is not only begotten any longer, but now he is firstborn, for those who are of Christ are his brothers (Rom. 8:39). For this reason, also, Jesus is the firstborn among the dead, that is, the first of a lineage (Col. 1:18). “And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us, and washed us from our sins by his blood” (Rev. 1:5).
To the Father, Jesus is the only begotten Son. To Jehovah, he is the spotless lamb. To Jehovah, according to the flesh, Jesus was obedient until death to fulfill the law established by Jehovah (Phil. 2:6-9; Matt. 5:17-18). To the Father, Jesus is the author and finisher of the faith, and this is why it is written: “Looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).