But in the midst of it, battered but strong, stands Jesus.
I am stunned by Jesus’ words in verse 36, “Father … Take this cup [ie. destiny] from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” In other words, “Please make this stop! But, I submit to you, so I will endure to the end”.
My daughter had major back surgery last fall (10 hours, 24 screws, 2 hooks, 2 titanium rods), and one experience in particular will haunt me forever. After the surgery she was on the highest dose of pain medication that she could take, but there were times when she moved and the pain was just too much. I will never forget my daughter looking at me with desperate pain-filled eyes, crying out to me, “Daddy it hurts! Make it stop! Daddy, make it stop!”. And there was absolute nothing I could do. I was completely incapable of taking my daughter’s pain away from her, even as she cried out to me to help her. I never want to experience that again.
Now, take that intense pain and emotion, magnify it 1,000 times, and it might come close to what Jesus was feeling as the reality of his impending self-sacrifice loomed on the horizon. And even worse than the physical pain he would feel on the cross was the spiritual anguish of bearing the consequences of humanity’s sin and rejection of God (his Father). Yet, for reasons I will never fully understand, Jesus choose to proceed. He paid the price for you and me. And the price he paid was unimaginably painful.
I remember growing up as a kid and often hearing the song “Jesus loves me”. But I don’t think I really grasped how much he loved me. It is not just Jesus’ death for my sins that shows he loves me, but it is the fact that he actually chose to do it, knowing what it would mean for him.
My life has been forever changed because of the love of Jesus.