So you have a major surgery upcoming. A date is set several months in advance. The entire experience is going to be rather unpleasant, you know this. There are various appointments in preparation – blood tests and doctor consultations. You need to make arrangements to be off work, also scheduling post-op therapy sessions. Try as you might to put the inevitable date out of mind, you find yourself thinking about it multiple times a day. Your mind goes into a sort of countdown mode … “it’ll be six weeks from today at this time that I’ll be under the knife.”
But imagine the thoughts that must have gone through the mind of Jesus, anticipating the cross … anticipating also the price of bearing all the sins of mankind over all the years. He had an internal clock. It was what kept him on his path over the three years of ministry. It was an appointment to keep. Jesus returned to Judea and Bethany at a time when the authorities were known to be intent upon his execution. But he continued onward toward the cross.
The time had now come. The hour was at hand. Those who were to lead him to his appointment on the cross were now trudging toward him from the darkness beyond. Bolstered by prayer and the presence of an angel, still the sweat drops were as blood. Being fully cognizant of the entire situation, why wouldn’t they be?
This is love beyond anything we have ever seen or imagined. There is no greater love.
All of this is the plan of God. There is no making sense of it by any human reasoning: the injustice of the innocent dying for the guilty!
Even as it is unfolding, Jesus has a heart of care and compassion for the disciples. He even heals the ear of one who was stricken in a moment of rage by one of the twelve. Christ is always looking away from self to others. That is what the entire story is about – the innocent one who is willingly dying for all the guilty.
May it be that we never read this passage with anything but wonderment at the great love directed toward us. That is our first and foremost devotional application … today, and every day.
Luke 22:39 – Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”