“Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor. Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—“Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.”
Today, we encounter Jesus as He considers the fate ahead of Him. The time of His death is drawing near. Jesus tells again of the dynamics of the Kingdom of God that say the only path to life and true glory is one of surrender and death. There is no other way. This is how the kingdom works. False gods may promote another route, an easier route, but God’s way is the way of sacrifice and surrender.
Sometimes, we can be tempted to think Jesus was less human than He was—to imagine Him as above feeling human emotion, too holy to experience fear or dread. And yet, as Jesus reflects on the mechanics of the kingdom, His soul is stirred up—disturbed—as it brings to mind His own path. He wonders aloud whether to petition the Father for rescue. Yet, He knows the very thing He does not want to do is the very reason for which He came. He came to die. It is little wonder Jesus’ soul was in distress, torn between the very human impulse to self-protection and the divine call on His life to selfless sacrifice.
Choosing to be a disciple of Jesus is not easy. If Jesus chose the harder path, then that too is the path we must take. It may be a hard and high stakes conversation we need to have with someone we love. It might be a tough call we need to make about a business decision, which will literally cost us to do the right thing. It could be a decision to get honest about our sin or addiction, but we fear loss of respect or becoming the subject of gossip.
Choosing to take up your cross and follow Jesus is costly, resolving to make the decision and then follow it through to the end even more so, but we do not have a God who is alien to us in our suffering. He knows it. He’s lived it. This Holy Week, let Christ’s resolve to face death give strength to your fearful heart and weakened knees, so you may follow faithfully in His way.