A man of growing renown has come to town. A hero for some, an enigma for many, a threat to those who believe they ought to be the ones in power, He has come to engage in the most supremely-vital battle ever in all the world. The Garden of Gethsemane will be the ground of His victory, but this will neither be the ground nor the victory His followers and fans have been dreaming about.
The word has spread and there are many in Jerusalem who have heard of the miraculous things this man has done. He is clearly a man of power. “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” they shout, quoting Psalm 118:26 in a palm-waving salute. And, they were right, He had indeed come in the name of the Lord, but little did they yet know or understand what He had come to do.
The man, a Nazarene carpenter named Jesus, truly is a doer of many miraculous and astounding things… so many in fact that, as it is recorded in verse 25 of chapter 21 of the gospel of John: were every one of them to be written… the world itself could not contain the books. However, from this point on until His resurrection, His essential doing would be to voluntarily give Himself over into the cruel hands of those who would strip Him, beat Him, mock Him and nail Him to a cross.
Many of his followers abandon Him, likely bewildered, as they witness the one whom they’ve seen heal the sick, call the dead from the grave, cast out demons and calm the sea with a word, allow Himself to be spit upon, beaten and bloodied without raising a finger. Though prophesied, they did not yet comprehend that the seeming defeat they were witnessing was, in truth, the greatest victory of all time. For Jesus Christ, the second Adam, though tempted in every way as was the first Adam and everyone since, would hold uniquely fast to His Father’s will, bear the agony of the cross and, in so doing, reverse the curse, sunder the surly bonds of death and swing fully open the door to life by which opening He still stands.
His agony was His alone to bear, for it was the agony of one who knows no sin, bearing the required, death-sentence consequence of sin for the sake of saving all who will confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9)… even those He knew were at that moment looking for another champion. It was the agony of one who is alive like no other man, able call down angels on His own behalf, yet giving Himself over to be tormented and forsaken unto death.
In the light of the glorious sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ… a sacrifice that He alone could make… how then should we, who confess belief in Him whom the grave could not hold, live? In that regard, who better to instruct us than Jesus Christ Himself who said to those who would be His disciples: As the Father loved me, I also have loved you, abide in my love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My father, I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in my name He may give you. These things I command you that you love one another (John 15:9-17)
By Ron Daggett