Honthorst, Gerrit van, Adoration of the Child, c. 1620
“41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
“67 Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, 68 saying, ‘Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?’”
“30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
“15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
It has been a year of death and it is only going to get worse. I was told recently that it is what to expect as one gets older. Your forties is when it starts to happen. People who had been permanent fixtures in your life…pass on. It is part of our human experience. Death used to seem so shocking to me but maybe not so much anymore. And Jesus even experienced that didn’t He? His friends died…and then He did it himself. THE life experience we’re all waiting and wondering about is death and He has gone through that door before us. And while we wait we experience little deaths…sufferings of one sort or another and He has done that too.
Have you ever been spit on (if not in a literal sense, maybe with words)? Have you ever been in such mental and spiritual agony that you sweat drops of blood? Probably not…but perhaps you felt like you did. Have you ever felt like you’ve died a thousand deaths?
Can you believe it? He has too.
Yet there is a difference. Yes…a huge difference. In all of our sufferings and even death…we most likely never ever choose to endure them. “But I lay it down of my own accord.” But…He did.
As comforting as it is to know my God has gone before me, endured suffering and death and walks me through my own…my comfort increases all the more to know that He chose to experience it.
To do right now: Meditate on the verses above. Write a prayer or journal about what you’ve meditated on. Listen to Holy Child Who Chose the Hearts of Men.