“My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death,” Jesus told his followers. “Stay here and keep watch with me.” (Mark 14:34) Then he prayed to his Father, begging him to change the future, keep him safe from harm, to find some other way to save humanity. “Yet, I want your will to be done, not mine.”
How would it feel to know exactly how you were going to die, and the ways your body would be broken before you slipped into death? Jesus knew. He knew the people who welcomed him with palm fronds and song would be the same people spitting on him while he carried a cross, his body scourged, experiencing unimaginable pain on his way up the hill to where they’d watch him die. Jesus knew they’d drive stakes through his wrists and feet, anchoring him in place. He knew there was no escape, that his whole life of servitude led to this one moment when he’d give his life to save humanity. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) For Jesus so loved the world, that he laid down his life, suffering at our hands so that we could be saved. He could have taken the easy way out. He could have hidden away, stopped his message, kept it safe. He could have refused – after all, he was to lay down his life for those who wanted to crucify him.
I look at my own life and the tiny things God has asked me to do – “Daughter, forgive that person who’s wronged you.” ”Daughter, let go of your pride.” “Daughter, release control and lean on me.” “Daughter, trust that my plan is in place.” And I kick and scream, I hide away, “Lord, my will, not yours.” And despite my stubbornness, my fears, and my ego, God still calls me Daughter and patiently waits for me to come around. For he loved me so much, he offered his beloved son as the lamb, paying the price for my shortcomings, washing me clean from sin.
“Not my will, but yours,” Jesus relented, submitting to God, and to a horrible fate – all so that humanity could be saved. All so I could be saved. And then he walked into the arms of death, giving everything so I could have it all.
Thank you, Jesus.