The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise. Lk 24:7 The critical “must.” From Heaven itself, we learn that it was a “must” that Jesus be arrested, tortured, die on the cross and rise. No way around it, over it, under it, only through it. That was the cup of Gethsemane. The “must.”
But why, why the “must.” God could have wiped away the debt due from sin with one nod, one wave. But with it would have gone all justice as well as mercy, all comfort as well as contrition, all trust as well as love. It would have been the act of a capricious child, not a omniscient Good God. Not a God who loves us as we are, mired in sin and death, who accepts the decisions of our vacillating wills, free as they terribly, ominously are. The most devastating bomb on earth is not made by human hands, it is free will…but at the same time, it is our most precious and sacred gift.
Many creatures have intellects, not as developed or lucid as ours, but intellects. I question whether we can call ourselves “rational animals” if we limit “rational” to simply knowing. No, only if it is tied inextricably to willing, doing, being rational, do we deserve that definition. Therefore, I submit that it is free will, that which indeed makes us most like God, which makes us most human. And it is free will which was surrendered to the “must.” God showed us in His Divine Son the way to Himself is by using that free will to choose “yours be done.”