Could Jesus have saved himself?

I have a friend that is thinking about joining the Catholic Church. He posed this question to me and I want to answer it correctly.

This may be a dumb question, but here goes: when Jesus was on the cross, they shouted for him to come down and save himself to prove he is the messiah. “Saves others but not himself.” …we know that for him to save us and conquer death, he needed to stay on there and die for us…but, knowing he was truly man and truly God, if Jesus really wanted to, did he even have the power to save himself? Hypothetical of course.

Reading much of the gospel, it was Gods choice, and Gods will, to give up his only son. and Jesus himself said let your will be done, not mine, but yours. So it just made me wonder, if Jesus wanted to, could he have gotten himself off the cross? Or could that have only been done by God the Father?

Hey man that’s a great question. I remember thinking the same thing!

You might note that Jesus said many times that he could have avoided the crucifixion. But he also accepted it as the will of the Father.

We have to think about why God would do this for himself.

The analogy is a Father coming to the aid of his young son who has done something wrong. The Father agrees to take the blame for it fully because the son is so young.

The young son is us in my example. See what I mean!?!

A quick response:

God is free with respect to the good He does. One step of Jesus would have sufficed to make satisfaction or reparation to God for all sin. So, in one sense, yes, Jesus could have saved Himself (“the Father and I are One”). But, given that the Blessed Trinity decided to save us by means of the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, Jesus couldn’t have “changed His Mind.” Basically, God is Love, and He wanted to manifest that Love to us in the most emphatic way possible. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass makes this Love present to us, as does the gift of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Deo gratias!


He could have done it. He zapped the fig tree and it withered. He told his apostles if they had faith as a mustard seed they could tell the mountain to fall into the sea and it would do it. He disappeared in the temple when they wanted arrest him and he appeared to his apostles behind locked, closed doors after the Resurrection. He had the power. He had to show us the way…so he stayed.

By “saves himself” does your friend mean “come down off the cross”? That statement in Matthew 27:42 is made by mockers. If Jesus were to come down from the cross, then we will believe in him. But if instead he were to rise from the dead because the grave could not hold him, what then?

Yes he could have saved himself, he was also fully divine. He chose not to.

The sacrifice was made so that we may be saved. Love reigns supreme.

He could have saved himself. Jesus could have ended all creation from the cross.

He willingly submitted himself to our human limitations but at times stepped beyond those boundaries. He walked on water, commanded the sky and waves to be calm and raised people from the dead.


Yes, He could’ve, because He had the power to come down from the cross. But no, He could not have, because He could not have willed to come down from the cross. To do so would be to override love and justice: impossible. Jesus was compelled to do the right thing by His nature, because He is the right thing.

Jesus freely chose to die for our sins. Why would he want to take Himself down from the cross?

“Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” – Matthew 26:53.

This used to bother me quite a bit, but I learned from a thread on here awhile back, its not so much about if he did it, versus why he did it.

a couple things still bug me though, Jesus WAS THE FATHER, or at least part of him (that gets into the complex trinity), and secondly, yes he did beat death, he was resurrected, but he sort of did this secretly, only appearing to a few people afterwards, I mean, some even thought his body had been stolen to keep this ‘conspiracy’ going…now if he had come storming out of the tomb in brilliant glory for the entire city to see, they would all know instantly who he truly was, so…??

Modalism. Jesus is NOT the Father, and the Father is not Jesus. Further, Jesus is not part God; he is fully God.

Save Himself, as in save his flesh from death? If the flesh had been saved from death, then His plan of redemption would have died. It was either, or, but not both. Jesus, being both God and man, sacrificed the flesh for the Plan of God. After having paid for our sins, his broken flesh was resurrected in glory.


Jesus Christ the man of flesh did not want to save himself.
His sacrifice was for us to realize that we, the believers, are not slaves, or bound, to the flesh.
No matter what they did to his body, he remained in the Spirit of which he truly is. This has been his message to us all along.
He said these words many many times, ‘don’t be afraid’, ‘where is your faith?’ and ‘if you believe’.
He tried to get us to reference life from the spirit instead of referencing life from the flesh.

Jesus Christ the Son of God was not in any threat to need saving.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit