[Editor's note: the following excerpt is taken from "Why the Cross?" by Dr. John Blanchard (EP Books, 2011). To read earlier portions of this series, see the end of this article.]
Our close look at the victim ought to convince us that the crucifixion of Jesus should never have taken place. Not only was he innocent of every charge brought against him, but he was without fault of any kind. Now we need to dig even deeper, because the Bible makes it clear that in order to grasp the meaning of his death we need to go back to his birth — and beyond that. This will explain what really happened on the cross and why Jesus chose to go through with it. The Bible takes us there with this stupendous statement:
… though he was in the form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8).
In these two sentences there are eight great truths; we dare not miss one of them.
• Jesus was ‘in the form of God'. This does not mean that he had the same size or shape as God, as ‘God is spirit' (John 4:24) and has neither of these. It means that even before time began Jesus had all of God's attributes and nature. To put it simply, he was eternally, truly and totally God.
• He ‘did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped'. Glorious as his heavenly existence was, he did not cling to it as if nothing else mattered, but relinquished it in the interests of others.