As we prepare for Easter, it’s been good for me to meditate on the various gospel accounts of Jesus’ last days on earth. Recently, I was particularly struck by Jesus’ interaction with The Father in the garden of Gethsemane.
What really stood out to me as I read this passage a few days ago was the tension we see in Jesus between His flesh and The Father’s will. More than once Jesus prays, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” There is at least part of His flesh that does not want to go to the cross. Yet, He also prays, “Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Here we see him submitting to The Father’s will.
The word also says that Jesus was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” The weight of our sin and what He had to do on the cross to relieve that burden was a massive weight on Jesus. In a sense, He didn’t want to do it. Yet, deep down, He knew He had to because He knew it was The Father’s will.
Interestingly, well before His arrest, Jesus told his disciples that, “if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” This produces tension. Going to the cross produced a tension for Jesus. Taking up our cross will also produce tension between our flesh and The Father’s will.
Jesus may tell us to do something and in our flesh we may think, “Why does it have to be this way?”, or “That seems SO hard!”, or “Why does God have me here?”. Yet, as we pray we discover that it is His will and we must obey.
For me, I was grateful to recognize how the cross produced tension in Jesus. The reality is that there have been, are, and will be crosses Jesus will ask me to take up which produce a tension between what my flesh wants and what Jesus wants. Yet, if I want to find my life, I must lose it and take up my cross to truly find it.
The cool thing is the human side of Jesus we see in the garden relates to us – He was tempted in every way we are. He is for us. He is powerful. He will give us what we need to take up our cross and follow Him.
The tension is okay, but in the end we need to submit to follow the will of The Father.
How about you? What cross is Jesus asking you to take up right now?