I’ve spent the last couple of days reading the gospels leading up to Maundy Thursday, reading about that final night Jesus spent with his disciples. It’s painful to read about the struggle the Son of God went through on that final night. We all have free will, it is up to us to choose how we behave in any given situation (even if sometimes, like children, we blame our behavior another person). But sometimes we forget that Jesus had a choice to make too. On that final night, in the garden of Gethsemane he prayed and pleaded with his Heavenly Father “that if possible the hour might pass from him, ‘Abba, Father’, he said, ‘everything is possible for your. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’ Mark 14:36
Jesus was the incarnation of God, the embodiment of our Heavenly Father in human form, and he had very real, very human feelings. I can imagine on that night the pain he was feeling in his heart knowing that he was going to have to leave his beloved friends. The fear and trepidation he must have felt knowing the cruelty, and suffering that was to come both on the cross, and before. But I think sometimes we forget the biggest burden that he would carry for us. “He became sin, who knew no sin.” 2 Corinthians 5:21. And even still, despite all the prophecies, despite everything leading up to this moment, He had to choose.
There have been many times that I have tried to get my head around what was so special about the death of Jesus that we continue to honor and worship him thousands of years later. He certainly wasn’t the first person or last person to die cruelly for his or her beliefs. So then why? Why did an entire religion rise up around this man? Why was his death special? I’ve only recently come to understand that a large part of it isn’t just the resurrection story. There’s something more here…Because he BECAME sin. Jesus was the Son of God, part of the Trinity. He was part of the brightest, more pure, most loving force in the universe and he gave all of that up for us, and went down into the heart of darkness. The weight of my own guilt can be crushing sometimes. But Jesus, all at once, He became every dark deed everyone of us has done, or will ever do. He became murder, corruption, filth, greed, lust, lies…He allowed everything that was pure and beautiful about himself to be stripped away for our sake. He allowed himself to be separated from his Heavenly Father and given over to evil for our sake. I wonder if when Jesus was praying in the garden if it wasn’t the cross he was asking to be saved from, but the suffering, the agony of not feeling, of being in the presence, the peace, the love of God?
So as we walk these final few days toward the joy of Easter morning, I want to keep my mind on the gift that was given to each and every one of us upon that cross. Freedom. No more is our path to God blocked, but the blood of the lamb has paved the way for each and every one of us to experience the peace, the love, the presence of the One, True and Ever Living God. Praise be to God.
In Jesus’ name,