When was the last time you came across a situation in your life that you simply wanted to avoid at any cost? I can think of a handful of difficult conversations in my life that I would have preferred to avoid completely, if at all possible. Yet, if we are honest with ourselves, it is often the most difficult of life’s circumstances that, when looked back upon, appear to have had the most lasting, transformative impact on our lives or the lives of others.
No one has felt this feeling of foreboding conflict and pain like Christ.
As He approached His death, Jesus was overcome by the grim reality of what was to come. He would be betrayed, sold into the hands of His enemies, and killed—separated from God the Father for the good of His children. Even knowing there would be light on the other side of the darkness, Jesus’ trust in the will of the Father was pushed to the brink.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, not far away from where He would be crucified the next day, Jesus prayed to the Father, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39).
Jesus did not fear death. He was not trying to back out of the impending physical pain, as horrible as it was going to be. Jesus was facing the reality that His Father was about to forsake Him. The Father does not forsake even the vilest of sinners who repents. Yet, He was about to forsake His own Son.
But Jesus, as soon as He asked that the cup of God’s wrath pass from Him if possible, said He knew He must yield to the will of God the Father and endure all that was to come.
It would be easy to look at this passage and ask the questions, “What is it that you need to endure from God on behalf of others? What conflict do you need to face for the sake of those you love?” But such an application is short-sighted.
When we witness the courageous, life-giving embrace of imminent death by our Savior, the most appropriate response is not for us to try to emulate this sacrificial act, but to praise Him for it. We must look to Christ as our hope; as the one who gave up His unity with the Father so that we, too, might experience such unity with Him ourselves.
Written by Chris Martin