What would you do if you had a few days left to live? I asked this question of our students the other day. I got a lot of the answers that you would expect:
Spend time with friends and family.
Doing exciting things.
Traveling to a place they have always wanted to go.
Only one said they would commit a crime, so that was good.
Then I asked them what they would do if a loved one was sick and they could trade their own life so their loved one could live. There were not as many quick answers. I would like to answer that question very quickly but I am not sure that I would react as I hope. Would your friends or family be willing to lay their life down for you? I am not sure.
As Jesus returned to Jerusalem that week, He knew what awaited Him. He had told His disciples already what was to happen to Him. As He rode that donkey and people cheered, He knew that in just a few days many of those same people would be calling for His blood. As He washed His disciples’ feet and ate the Passover meal, He knew that Judas was going to sell Him out in a short time. He explained to His followers again what was going to happen but they still could not grasp it. They argued about who was the best among them. As Jesus watched and taught, He knew in just a few hours that the events that would lead to His death would be set in motion. Still, He loved and taught. He did not run; He did not leave. He could have.
Feeling the weight of coming events, Jesus did what Jesus so often does. He seeks the Father. He goes to pray in the Garden. There, He asked those He loves to watch. They did not. They fell asleep. As Jesus prays with longing to not endure what is to come, He submits as He calls us to do. He could have done His will. He has the power and ability at that moment to not go on that cross. Luke describes the agony that Jesus felt as though He was sweating drops of blood. He could have chosen differently. Knowing that His death was the only way to bridge the gap between us and the Father, He willingly laid down His life for you and me.
Just as the disciples did not understand what was going to happen, it is hard for us to comprehend the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. Just as His disciples fell asleep as Jesus prayed in that garden, we sometimes fall asleep in our walk with Him. Despite that, knowing how miserably we would fail Him, He went to that garden and prayed. He went to that cross for us. Though sometimes we may lose sight, let us never forget what He did for us that day.