I have been reading in the book of John lately, and a couple weeks ago I was reading the story of Lazarus in Ch. 11... Wow! It's such a powerful chapter. The beginning of the Crucifixion starts to unravel at the end of this chapter as Caiaphas was led to prophesy that Jesus would die for all of humanity. But that's not the best part! To see the story unfold as the words leave the Caiaphas' lips... it is like an immediate signal for Jesus and he does an 'about-face' and heads to Jerusalem. This was a BIG DEAL! The Disciples knew that it would mean trouble for Jesus if He went there, but Jesus left Judea and it is made public that people began plotting His death.
I can't even begin to imagine what that would have been like in person, but as we have less than 2 weeks left until Easter, I just want to encourage you to think about what these weeks were like for Christ. He began to fulfill the prophecies from the Old Testament and I can't help but to think about what a heavy burden that had to have been for Him. I am almost 27 years old... I can't fathom being 6 years older and going through what He did. I am so grateful that I will never have to, but we have SO much to learn from every piece of the puzzle that culminates into the 'Easter story'.
Focus on the seemingly "smaller" prophecies, for just a moment, that began to come to fruition. For instance, in Ch. 12 v.15 the simple act of riding in on the donkey was a fulfillment of a prophecy (Zech. 9:9)... riding on a donkey. By all rights, that seems rather simple to do. You find the nearest donkey, hop on, and give a sturdy 'H'Yah!' and get movin'! Easy, right? For Jesus, though, that was just one of the first on a long checklist of many prophecies to be fulfilled before His ultimate purpose on earth would be revealed. I wonder what it felt like to ride into Jerusalem on that day, for Him. What did it feel like? Was He anxious? Was He proud, scared, sad? Did He have more than one donkey to choose from? I wonder about it all.
All I do know, is that He knew His Father had a plan and He obediently followed through until the end. I also have faith that the FULL ending has yet to come. I have a genuine faith that He will return to earth to fulfill the last bit of prophecy and create a brand new EVERYTHING! What an amazing promise!!!!
So, until then... If Christ can anticipate all that He did and still fulfill every prophecy thus far, SURELY I can be obedient in a time of uncertainty, today. Jesus understood what God was doing and STILL proceeded to be obedient! Being that Jesus Christ was fully human AND fully God, I can't help but believe that He still had to have felt at least little anxiety about the whole "dying on the cross for our sins" thing. I don't mean for that to sound any less Holy or Anointed, but if He had emotions like I do, as a SOLELY, fully-human human, surely HE understood and experienced that same spirit of being anxious that we are all familiar with. For crying out loud, when Jesus left the disciples between the time they finish the Last Supper and when He gets arrested... He asks this of God,“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) Then in the next couple of verses Luke mentions that Jesus had to be relieved of His anguish and strengthened by an angel/heavenly being. I just can't get away from this idea that Jesus genuinely understood sadness. Even more than that... I cannot help but to feel sad for Jesus. I mean, I really can't move past the emotions of remorse for Christ. I know and absolutely believe in the FACT that the victory has been won and that death was crushed beneath His feet... but as the sweet song of praise goes "... it was MY SIN that held him there until it was accomplished... " How Deep The Father's Love For Us
Sorry- I got a little side tracked. What is my point? I mention all of that to say this:
If Jesus could obediently endure the worst of the worst, knowing that He would inevitably face death... then we can give Him our 'everything' in this current moment in faith. Period. We shouldn't have to find a reason or try to justify the WHY of trusting & obediently following after Him. We need to focus on the HOW. If all we do is focus on giving reason to our belief, we will never grow in our faith. We have to seek HOW to be obedient instead of WHY to be obedient. When we do that, we are putting faith in Christ and in HIS ultimate example of HUMBLE obedience.
Don't forget about humility and how it has a rightful place in our response to the obedience of Christ. He humbled Himself in 2 major ways that deserve all our adoration, praise, honor, and glory; becoming fully human (while still fully God) and dying the death of a lowly thief by dying on the cross.
My encouragement to you, brothers & sisters... DO NOT forget the little things leading up to the Resurrection. It has a place in your story of faith... HOW will you be obedient? Ask God where He is working and ask Him HOW you can meet Him there!
Sweet Savior, I am so sorry for taking part in your sadness, anguish, sorrow, and the burden of the cross. While I am eternally grateful for Your sacrifice, I apologize for being the burden and cause of your death. To You, oh merciful God, I sing my praise. It is Your Name, alone, that has power! To God Be The Glory!!!