Many times we wish we could see into the future. Or at least we think we’d like to! But what if we really could? It sounds good in theory, but when you get right down to it, it seems quite scary to me. I said to my Bible study class just this morning that I’d rather deal with things as they come than have prior knowledge of them.
At the suggestion of my pastor, this week I have been reading the account of Jesus’ final week from the book of Luke. When I stop and think how Jesus knew the cross lay ahead of Him, I shudder and wonder how I would spend those last few days. I’m pretty sure I would be paralyzed in fear and unable to think of anyone but myself. There is facing death and then there is facing death on a cross!
Reading Luke’s account assures me that Jesus continued just as He had for the past 3 years. He knew what He faced in Jerusalem, yet He “set His face toward Jerusalem.” He didn’t run away. He walked straight into the fire. And all along the way, He taught His disciples, He healed the sick, and He loved on the people. He didn’t rush. He didn’t push anyone away. He used every single minute for the betterment of the Kingdom.
How was He able to do this with the knowledge of the coming crucifixion? Luke 21:37 says “And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet.” Now this verse doesn’t say what He was doing on that mount, but other verses teach us that Jesus had a regular habit of going off alone to a quiet place to spend time in prayer with the Father. There is no way you can convince me that this was anything other than a time of prayer for Him. It was in this time with the Father that He was strengthened to face His impending death and all that went with it. After all, this is exactly why He came: to bear our sins on a cruel cross so He could redeem us from the penalty of death that we deserved yet He paid.
But just because that’s why He came doesn’t mean it was easy.
Right before He was arrested, He sweated blood as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Some pretty serious stuff was going on for blood to seep out of His pores. He even asked the Father if there was another way.
But there wasn’t.
So He got up and went willingly and quietly with those arresting Him. He took the sneering, the slaps, the jeers, the beatings, the unwarranted punishment, with love and grace and strength. And He did it because of the “joy set before Him.” (That joy is you!)
I stand amazed at the depth of His love for me and you. I stand amazed at the strength He exhibited in the face of such abuse. I stand amazed at the grace He poured out on my behalf. I stand amazed at how He used His last week for others and not Himself.
So, what would you do if you knew you only had a week to live? It is my prayer for myself, and for you, that we would spend those days doing as much as we could for the Kingdom and finding our strength from our time spent alone with the Father. Let’s make that our normal now, as Jesus did, so that it will be easier and natural to continue it, even in difficult times.
HAPPY RESURRECTION DAY!
He is Risen!!!!
Lots of love, Sharon