For three and a half years, Jesus had walked with His disciples. They had experienced the miracles, the storms on Galilee, and threats of death. I am sure they had grown to love the man Jesus. Some understood His purpose and mission. Others still had a hard time grasping His purpose in the final hours. I am sure it dispelled all thoughts of Jesus dying after His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. “Hosanna! Hosanna! Save us!” the people shouted and threw palm branches in His path.
Jesus knew that if there was any doubt in the mind of the high priest about killing Him, this cry of the people cemented their plans. To the Passover He joyfully went, washing disciples’ feet, breaking bread, and revealing one last time that His blood and His body were the real and total sacrifice that the Heavenly Father was demanding. Not because the Father wanted His son to die, but that was the only way to bring His created children home.
Jesus raised no great suspicion in announcing that one of His disciples who ate with Him would betray Him. After John asked who and Peter assured Jesus that he could not betray Him, the subject was dropped. Judas, knowing His plan was soon to be set in motion, without raising suspicion, slipped away.
Jesus knew the end was close. Yet He did not reach with fear or panic. He showed no alarm. He just expressed His love for His disciples, His friends. I think He felt alone. His disciples were clueless. He was, after all, invincible; He was to be crowned king of the Jews . . . they thought. I think about what bothered Jesus the most. Was it the suffering of the death He knew awaited Him, embracing the sins of the WHOLE world, or being separated from the Father as He died? His agony in the garden was gut-wrenching. He had a choice to flee, yet He could not break the promise to the Father: “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 6:38)
When I have faced the immediate possibility of death, I assure you that there are no heroes, no glories, only a total sense that you are completely out of control. Time does not exist. Nothing around you exists, except the ones you love. I struggled to focus to regain control, but all I could think about was my wife, my family, and the people I loved. All other things were forgotten and had no value.
Jesus did the same on the cross. He recognized His mother, His beloved John, His Father, and the women disciples that followed Him. He recognized them all, even in His suffering. I cannot say what was going through His mind as He suffered. Yet, I know it was not self-centered, or He could not have ministered to the dying thief.
His last words express His total faith in His abba, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46). When the end comes for us all, all we can do is the same thing, “Unto your hands I commit my spirit.” Stop for a moment and appreciate what it cost Jesus to allow you the opportunity to be born again.
Somewhere deep inside your being, try to understand that that incredible person, the King of all Kings, Lord of Lords, Savior, Master, Lord, and friend, did something for you that you were powerless to do for yourself. When I face death, for the final time, I want someone that ‘death could not hold and the grave could not keep’ (Acts 2:24) waiting for me on the other side of this life: Jesus, the Christ.
“Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”
Have a great Passover and Resurrection.
The story of the Passover is found in Exodus 12:1-39.
The Easter story is found in the book of John starting in chapter 12 through chapter 20.
— Written by Pa
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