Often times when life starts getting hard or messy my mind wanders to Jesus. I think about the price He paid for me. The hard parts of my day pale in comparison to being beaten and hung on a cross. My suffering doesn't seem so bad when I think about what Jesus went through so I could have the hope of a better tomorrow. Even though the events of Good Friday are horrific to think about, I end up being filled with just that.
How could the thought of Jesus being scourged and tortured bring me hope?
He chose the cross. He chose the beating. He chose the brutal death for you and for me. Why? Simply because the love Jesus feels for us was worth the momentary pain. The thought of how much love that must be overwhelms me.
Even before the events leading up to the cross began to take place, Jesus cared enough about His disciples to give them a forewarning of what was to come. He told the disciples multiple times what would happen to Him. Yet despite being told this, the disciples never understood what He would actually go through.
"Don't let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going away to prepare a place for you? If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going." John 14:1-4
The disciples don't really grasp what Jesus is saying. They don't understand when He says "I am going away," that He is literally leaving this earth.
"Lord," Thomas said, "we don't know where you're going. How can we know the way?" Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him." John 14:5-7
We see this repeatedly in the gospels. In Mathew 16:21-23, Jesus goes even as far as to say He will suffer at the hands of "holy" people saying He will be killed and be raised on the third day. In Luke 9:21-22, Jesus says precisely the same thing. "But he strictly warned and instructed them to tell this to no one, saying, "It is necessary that the Son of Man suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day." But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask him. " Luke 9:45 (emphasis added)
Of course Jesus would try and prepare the disciples of what He knew was coming. He still tries to prepare us today. Often times we are just like the disciples, and can't grasp what He really means. Or sometimes we may understand, but if it's not the answer we want, we sweep it under the rug. Or maybe if we don't understand, we are either too afraid or consumed with our own ideas that we don't even ask Jesus for clarity.
As Easter approaches, take time to reflect on what Jesus has prepared for you. Reflect on how He cares for His disciples enough to plainly tell them of what is to come. Is there anything He has spoken to you that is to come?
*If you would like to dig a little deeper on Jesus predicting His own death and resurrection, read Mathew 16:21-28, 20:17-19 and 26:1-2.