Every time I read the Gospels’ accounts of the crucifixion I find myself loving Jesus even more. This Man willingly died for me, a sinner. My God who has every reason to hate me, loves me and gave Himself for me.
But I will tell you I get a little sad when some people talk about the events surrounding the cross. Especially when they talk about Jesus’ prayer in the garden. I get a little offended at what they say about my Lord. I know I’ve shared this before, but it’s on my heart again.
First let me ask you this: How would you describe Jesus’ character? His mission? His passion? Is there anything in Jesus’ character that would suggest He was tentative about why He was here?
Some people cut the garden prayer out and lay it along side of everything they know about Jesus. I just can’t do that. Jesus was fully God and fully human. There is nowhere in Scripture that even hints that that balance ever changed. So when people say that during this garden prayer, Jesus’ humanness was taking over, I totally disagree. Point to a verse that supports that idea. You won’t find one. We’re so accustomed to hearing that Jesus was praying that the “cup” of the cross would be removed, we actually believe it.
Yes, it was Jesus the man who knelt there in anguish. But it was also God kneeling there, preparing to die for me. Jesus prayed to the Father, “Let this cup pass from me.” But, friend, He didn’t need God’s permission not to go to the cross. God could have gotten up off His knees and ascended into heaven at any point.
But this God/Man felt pain. He was tired to the point of death. It could have ended right there. But Jesus didn’t come to die in a garden. Yes, He prayed that this cup be removed. I believe it was. God the Father sent an angel to minister to God the Son to strengthen Him to do what He’d come to do, by removing the “cup” of anguish and physical torment Jesus was experiencing at that time. It was that “cup” that could have prevented Jesus from going to the cross. And that God/Man didn’t get up off His knees begrudgingly. He didn’t “suck it up” and walk toward His death because He HAD to.
If Jesus had second thoughts about going to the cross He could have answered the liars who accused Him in court. He didn’t. He could have called 10,000 angels to rescue Him. He didn’t. I know with all my heart that Jesus wanted to go to the cross. I believe He always wanted to go to the cross. And nothing was going to stop Him. Not exhaustion. Not pain. Not humiliation. Not betrayal. And I believe that prayer in the garden was answered so He could.
When I read about the crucifixion and the events surrounding it, I see my Savior who – for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, discounted the shame. He was willing to suffer great pain and humiliation for me. He was willing.
I know I’m not going to change many minds concerning this. That’s ok. It’s not a matter of heaven or hell. Just know that when we gather around the communion table tomorrow and remember what Jesus did, I’m going to remember His willing sacrifice, His unwavering determination to pay for my sins. I’m going to thank Him for that garden prayer that highlights His passion to do the unthinkable, die a very painful death for a worm like me.
Every time I read about the crucifixion I love Jesus even more.