When I read the events of Easter, what strikes me most deeply is Jesus’ determination in the face of unimaginable pain. We don’t simply get a factual play-by-play of what happened; we get a fascinating glimpse into the emotional turmoil he must have felt inside.Jesus had come to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival, knowing that his time was drawing near. He had just raised Lazarus from the dead, which had raised the tension to a boiling point. The chief priests and Pharisees wanted him dead; they saw the rising tide as more and more people began to believe and follow him. He and his disciples had gone into hiding, and one more public appearance could very well be the end. The people wondered, “Would he come to the festival at all?”Of course, he did come. And the people cheered and welcomed him like a king. But as Jesus could clearly see, those cheers were about to take a sinister turn:Betrayal. False condemnation. Torture. Death.
Soon he would willingly give his life and make the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. He knew that before the glory of Easter Sunday, he had to face the agony of Friday night. And he chose it willingly.
We should take comfort knowing that his heart was troubled too:
“My heart is troubled. What should I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No. This is the very reason I came to this hour. Father, bring glory to your name!” (John 12:27–28, NIRV)
Or, to use the imagery from The Message:
“Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this’? No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.’” (John 12:27–28, The Message)
In our seasons of darkness, we can’t see what’s ahead. Jesus could. He knew “the very reason” he was going through his darkest hour: to put his Father’s glory on display. We can take courage from his willingness to do what God wanted him to do —even death on a cross.
He was troubled. He was storm-tossed. He felt every emotion in his time of trial. And we can lean into him in our seasons of darkness, knowing that he truly understands how we feel, in every way.
When we imagine the anguish he must have endured in those moments, we understand just how much he loves us. He was willing to do whatever it took to restore us to God. And that was what made him willing to face the days ahead.
How can you and I trust God in our darkest times? And if we do, how can our faith put his glory on display?