As the day passed yesterday the example of Jesus and His trust of the Father was etched onto my mind.
Jesus was God. He was perfect, and He had a plan. He came to the Earth with his face set toward the cross. Toward redemption. Toward paying the penalty for the sins of those who would believe. He had a purpose. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus was tempted in every way that we are (Heb 4.15) yet He was perfect. But when it came time to go to the cross, Jesus was wary of the cost. He prayed fervently that the Father would spare Him from the cross (Matt 26.39). As he invited his disciples to pray with him he told them that “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death” (Matt 26.38). He was certainly not excited about what was ahead of him! But then Jesus’ second prayer was submission to God and trust in His ultimate plan, “If this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done” (Matt 26. 42).
Then Jesus went through the entire trial. He submitted to crucifixion. The mockery came twofold: from the thieves, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself. If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross” and from the chief priests, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself…He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now” (Matt 27.39-40, 42-43).
Jesus, in approaching the cross, knew the plan. That is where our life circumstances differ slightly. We do not know how long our trials will last our the ultimate outcome. But, we are also not taking on the sins of the world and satiating the eternal wrath of almighty God in our bodies.
But God turned his back on Jesus. Darkness covered the earth. Earthquakes shook the ground. God, in some inexplicable way, separated Himself from Himself. And Jesus cried out at that moment:
“My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”
Jesus was so prepared for his suffering that He had meditated and memorized David’s plea! This is a direct quote from Ps 22.1! Jesus clung to God, He trusted God and His plan. As I wrote yesterday God had planned the crucifixion and suffering of Christ since before the foundation of the world. And Jesus trusted God’s plan.
Have you ever gotten cynical in your prayers? “God didn’t do what I asked Him to do, so why would I ask for this?” Or “What difference does it make anyway?” Jesus prayed that the cup of wrath could pass from Him. And God was silent. So Jesus continued in obedience. He didn’t give up, or throw up His hands in defeat when the religious leaders mocked Him. I can imagine few greater insults than having claimed the things Jesus claimed and people to mock Him saying that God is not able to save. But Jesus trusted God’s plan. And because He trusted God’s plan, He suffered the worst of insults, He suffered death, He was separated from God. But then God turned the tables and raised Him from the dead and declared Him “the Son of God in power” (Rom 1.4)!
Would you trust God to that end? If he is silent to your prayer? And leads you straight into a trial? A trial where you are sinned against? Do you believe that His ends are so great that it might require your sacrifice? Is your mind so saturated in the word that you cling to Scripture and cry out with the very words of God when you need Him?