Soon after Jesus' triumphant and final entry into the city of Jerusalem, he shares yet another prediction of his own death with his apostles. He begins by saying, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified," John 12:23. This statement is loaded with meaning. What caused it to be said was a request by Greek proselytes relayed to Jesus by Philip and Andrew, to see him. Referencing his coming passion, not only does it mean that the Lord, having completed his mission, would regain his heavenly home, but that having done so, these same Greeks (and the whole world) would have access to him that was not available at the moment.
At the same time, Jesus in his humanity was conflicted about the ordeal through which he was about to go. Most of us are familiar with his plea to "let this cup pass from me" plea in the Garden of Gethsemane. The foreknowledge of such a painful death and more importantly, the taking on of the sin of the whole world must have caused unimaginable agony that exceeded even that of the suffering of the cross. Yet, we are also familiar with his faithful and committed, "Yet not as I will, but as you will."
Beloved, each of us is faced with a variety of monumental situations and decisions throughout our lives. Though none of them carry the weight and implication of Jesus' sacrifice, there is much that can be learned from how he responded to the most difficult circumstance in history. Of course this is not an exhaustive list but consider the following:
- He stayed on mission-Jesus knew who he was, whose he was, what he came to do and accomplished the task to the benefit of all mankind our of love for and obedience to the Father.
- He persevered under dire stress-Jesus clearly agonized but remained focused.
- He understood the importance of succeeding-It was so much more about us than it was him. Not only was the defeat of Satan, the fulfilment of prophecy and our deliverance at stake but so was the example that millions would follow.
- He understood sacrifice-Nothing can be achieved without sacrifice. Had he not been willing to be that sacrifice, nothing would have been achieved.
- He held close the ultimate faith-Being willing to die, he placed himself in the hands of God, trusting that all things would work together for good and launched himself into the unknown territory of death.