Did Jesus have a Choice?

One Calvinist explains: No. Hence the expression; it is finished.

In other words, Jesus couldn’t have had a choice to decline, since it was already a pre-commitment. However, consider the following:

John 13:37: Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.’

If Jesus had done the same thing that Peter did, it would have made He and His Father into the same liar that Peter made himself into.

1st John 3:16: We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

But if Jesus had no choice, then we, too, would have no choice, but we do have a choice, and Peter made the wrong choice, even though he had previously committed himself to do otherwise.

John 15:3: Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

But if Jesus never had a choice, then He wasn’t loving His friends, but simply obeying orders. Being friends would have nothing to do with it. This is why the counter-argument guts love from the equation.

John 10:17-18:For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.

And what does His “own initiative” mean, except His own free will, and that should be definitive. He had a choice. In the Garden of Gethsemane, on the one hand, Jesus could do as Peter did, which was to not live up to His pre-commitment, or to do as Abraham did, to take it on faith what God had in store.

Hebrews 2:17:Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

In terms of Jesus as our role model, if He didn’t have a choice, then how was He like us, and how can we relate to Him?

Hebrews 12:2:Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Steven Hitchcock comments on Hebrews 12:2: “Both of these texts of Scripture, which deal with Jesus’ travail of soul about the cross, address the issue of faith and the will. Jesus was not even tainted by sin and yet He did not ‘will’ to go to the cross. The cross was not something to be desired, so to not will it, was not indicative of a sinful disposition of the heart. He said in His prayer to the Father that it was not His will, but He still went to the cross. According to Hebrews, He went to the cross by faith, not by His will. His will and His faith were in opposition to one another. So it says that Jesus despised the shame of the cross, meaning that it was in conflict with His will, but that by faith He looked ahead to the joy that was set before Him. Jesus overcame the conflict of His will, and a sinless will at that, by faith. Jesus is our leader and the perfecter of our faith because He overcame His will by His faith. So as we fix our eyes on Jesus, which is to look to Him in faith, our enslaved wills are defeated. Therefore, in the sinless example of the Lord Jesus Christ we can observe that when faith is exercised it is not governed by the disposition of the will or even arises out of the will, but rather, the exercise of faith governs the will.” (Recanting Calvinism, pp.229-230, emphasis mine)

So, again, if Jesus didnt have a choice, but was only submitting to God, then He was not acting in faith. Abraham had a choice, and Jesus had a choice, and it was faith that vetoed the desire of the will, so as to press forward.

Matthew 26:53 states: Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?

So obviously Jesus had a choice. He had the authority to call down legions of angels if He desired.

Question:  Could Jesus have decided not to go to the Cross?

Answer:  If Jesus had no choice, then (1) for Jesus’ part, would Calvary still be an act of love? Could He hold His arms wide and say, “I loved you this much?” (2) Would Jesus have ever acted in faith, if He never had a choice? (3) Would He be a role model to anyone in turmoil, if He never had a choice? (4) Would He really be submitting to His Father’s will, if He never really had a choice? It seems to me, that so much is lost, if Jesus never had a choice. I think that it’s the fact that He did have a choice, and was faced with a choice, that makes His choice infinitely more meaningful.