This is one of the most painful passages in all of scripture for me to read. Jesus was fully God, but He was also fully man and this passage shows the full magnitude of that. It also is confirmation to me of Hebrews 4:14-16 “So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Jesus understands our struggles and weaknesses because He struggled in His humanity, but then He did exactly what the Father asked Him to do, giving us an example to follow.
I can imagine that this week was the most exhausting of all His time on earth. The last couple of stories that we have read all occurred on the same evening – washing the disciple’s feet while knowing that His betrayer was with them, someone that He had loved and invested in just as He had loved and invested in the others. His last supper with his men and all the symbolism that He was trying to convey to them about who He was and what was about to happen. And finally His time of great need and prayer in the garden where He would experience an anguish that I can only imagine as He felt the weight of what His Father was asking Him to do, needing the support of his closest friends but having them let Him down at His time of greatest need. The words that come to mind for me are betrayal, hurt, loneliness, fear, grief. Although I have never experienced the kind of pain and suffering that Jesus did, I take so much comfort in the fact that He gets me. He knows what it feels like to have friends let you down when you are desperate for their support. He knows what it’s like to feel utterly and completely alone. He knows what it feels like to be fearful of what is to come. He gets me.
We do the gospel and Jesus’ sacrifice a disservice when we sanitize it to the point that we become unable to relate. Yes, Jesus was fully God, but He willingly chose to deny His deity to become a human being and take on skin and all the feelings and emotions that we have. He chose that. He could have said no. At any point, He could have said no. When we don’t see the full weight of what He did through our humanity, when we chalk it up to, “well of course He was able to do all that. He’s God”, we miss the entire point. He made Himself like us because that was the only way to save us. That thought brings me to my knees.
Jesus completely gets you. Do you realize that? He completely and fully understands you – your motivations, your successes, your failures, the deepest longings of your heart that you may not have shared with another living soul. He gets it all. And He loves you with a love that has no limits. If you haven’t said yes to that love, my prayer is that you won’t put it off another second. No one in your life will ever love you like Jesus.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach