I always struggle when studying the crucifixion. I can not imagine the pain or the apprehension (Jesus knew what was coming and even looked for another way). And then to remember the pain of the flogging and cross was NOTHING compared to the pain of the weight of my sin and the separation from the Father that it caused.
Each week I read from a companion book titled Exploring the Story by Adam T. Barr. He says some things in this chapter I'd like to share. I think you'll find each interesting.
"We must not forget an important truth about the death of Jesus: he willingly walked to the cross. Jewish leaders may have worked the system and forced Pilate's hand, but the entire process was guided by the hand of God. From eternity this had been the plan, God's spotless Lamb slain for the sins of the world." (page 145)
"The Bible tells us that Jesus was suffering under the wrath and punishment of God, not the corrupt injustice of Rome or the hatred of the jealous Jewish leaders. Jesus drank the cup of God's judgment, not Pilate's. Jesus, in fact, became sin--identifying himself with our disobedience and rebellion against God--that we might become the righteousness of God!" (page 145)
"Notice that Jesus viewed his ultimate victory as achieved already. Although he still had the suffering of the cross before him, Jesus had decisively determined his course of action. The knowledge of ultimate victory sustained him through his pain. Jesus knew he was going to die so that a new creation would begin, resurrected from the old. He knew that judgment would not only fall on him, but that his act of sacrifice would once and for all defeat the work of Satan." (page 145)
In all of this, however, we must not forget that Jesus was not a helpless victim but a determined hero. In Gethsemane, he had made his intentions clear: "Not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42). We must not forget that, ultimately, the hands of the Roman soldiers were wielded by God himself, placing on Jesus the punishment our sins deserved. And in his death, Jesus secured his crown, having won for himself a people to call his own! (page 147)
Enough said? Please read this chapter with your children and help them understand just how much Jesus loves the little children (Teens too!).