Should I give up and walk away? Or should I stay?
This was essentially Jesus’ question as he pondered what he should pray for. Should he ask for all the hardship he was about to endure to be taken away from him, or should he ask for God’s help in making it happen?
Of course, we know the rest of the story. We know that Jesus took up his cross and carried it the The Place of the Skull and died terrible death. We know that the power of the grave had no hold on Jesus. We know that sin and death was conquered and that Jesus rose from the dead and returned to the very disciples who didn’t get what he was saying when he taught them in today’s passage.
Even the most cursory knowledge of what was coming would’ve been enough to send most of us running.
I won’t lie–at those moments in my life that I faced my greatest challenges (which can’t be compared in any way to what Jesus faced), I’ve often begged God to take it away from me.
I’ve given God long lists of reasons why I can’t deal with what is before me. I’ve pleaded with God about my weaknesses and my frailties. I’ve begged God not to make me walk the shadowy road when I know (or think I know) what is at the end of it.
Knowing my own limitations makes what Jesus did so much more powerful and meaningful for me.
To know that Jesus was facing something so extraordinarily difficult and that upon pondering what his prayer would be, that he would land on: “I was born for this.”
He was born to go head-to-head with the “spiritual forces of wickedness*”and the “powers of evil of the world*”. He was born to resist “evil, oppression, and injustice*”. He was born to tear open the veil that separated humanity from the divine and to open the Kingdom to “people of all nations, ages, and races*.”
And so, Jesus, with grace and determination, faced what was coming.
It really makes me think about why I sometimes struggle with the difficult things of this life. I’ve come to realize it is because I don’t always recognized in myself what I was born for.
While some people may have big dreams and big ideas and can tell you from the time they are young what they plan to do with their lives, I can’t. I’m not entirely sure I ever knew what I was born for.
But I do know what I was re-born for. Through my baptism at the age of 12, I entered into a new life in which my expectations were expressed pretty clearly in my baptismal vows. And it’s important to note that those expectations bring me right in line with Jesus’ purpose.
Now, when I read Jesus’ words and ponder his philosophical thoughts, I realize that I must, by nature of my baptism, join my voice with his in saying, “I was born for this.”
What were you born for? What do you think your baptismal vows are calling you to do with your life? How can you live more like Christ? Are you willing to live like Christ, even if it leads to Golgotha?