Yesterday Bob Goff posted this quote and image on Instagram:
This got me to thinking a little more about the reality of what Jesus experienced during those last few days. Sure, I’ve heard the story every year – I know the order, I know who did what. But today I’m thinking about him – about Jesus – the person, not the Christ.
“Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him…” (John 18:4).
He knew Judas would betray him. He knew Peter would deny him. He knew his friends would fall asleep. And yet, he didn’t abandon them. He didn’t send them away.
“Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him” still chose these disciples to be by his side.
“Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him” still washed their feet.
“Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him” still sat around a table and shared a meal with them.
“Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him” still comforted them in his last hours.
I recently finished John Philip Newell’s book The Rebirthing of God. There is so much in this book – I probably need to read it again. He wrote, “The cross of Jesus shows us what we are capable of, that we can love even those who are most opposed to us… It is our soul’s capacity” (116).
Jesus didn’t leave this world kicking and screaming, blaming everyone around him for what they did. He could have. He had every right to. But, he didn’t. He knew what needed to be done. He knew that for things to change – for systems to change, for society to change, for humanity to change – he had to go beyond teaching and welcoming. In order for God – through Jesus the Christ – to make the ultimate connection with humanity, Jesus/God had to die.
Jesus went into those moments knowing what would happen and chose to take the steps anyway. Jesus sat in front of the chief priests and Pilate knowing where this would lead and spoke elusively anyway. Jesus had so many chances to escape this death, but chose to walk toward the cross anyway.
Most of us – maybe all of us? – would run the other direction. Even in his knowing, Jesus said “yes” to all that was in front of him.
I don’t want to walk toward my death – although I suppose that’s what we’re each doing every day? But, I do want to walk toward New Life. And I see in Jesus’ journey, sometimes New Life requires Death. Sometimes New Life means letting go. Sometimes New Life is found in an Empty Tomb.
I’m walking toward New Life. I’m scared and anxious and uncertain. I’m also excited and ready and prepared.
I’m walking toward New Life knowing what I have to leave behind. Even though there’s a lot to let go of, the New Life will be worth it. Maybe in my walk I will get a glimpse of what Jesus was seeing – not on the cross, but a few days later.