Today’s reading: Matthew 26.
Do you wish you knew your own future? My informal survey of informal surveys shows that most people don’t want to know what’s coming. What struck me as I read through the account of the days before Jesus’ crucifixion is that he knew what he faced and still pressed on. He pressed on despite the pain and betrayal. He pressed on even though he could have taken another path. He pressed on with the utmost courage and compassion.
What proof is there that he knew he faced the cross?
- He kept telling his disciples what was coming.
- He turned the Passover feast into a memorial of his own sacrificial death and a sign of the new covenant of grace.
- Before he was betrayed and arrested, he asked God to change his future, to take this cup from him.
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:36-39
- He pointed out how the Old Testament predicted his suffering and death.
“Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Matthew 26:53-54
How did he know what he faced?
- As mentioned above, he knew the prophecies and knew what they predicted.
- He knew what was in the heart of men.
But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man. John 2:24-25
- God revealed to Jesus what he was doing. I hesitate to say that Jesus was all-knowing. Even the experts debate that point. In some areas he had supernatural knowledge, but he also denied knowing the hour of his second coming, saying only his Father knew when that would happen. He made it clear, however, that he knew what his Father was doing and that he joined him in whatever he was doing.
Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing…” John 5:19-20
Jesus knew what he was facing as he headed to the cross, yet he did not run away. In fact, the Bible says he set his face like flint to the task. Why? “For the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame” (Heb. 12:2). He looked beyond the short-term pain to his eternal joy, the joy of doing his Father’s will, of glorifying God and himself, and of making a way for sinners to be redeemed. That same eternal joy should be our focus as we live our lives for God.
Image by Kieran Lynam on Flickr, CC by