It’s spring break for our family, and we’re tucked away in the mountains of Winter Park, Colorado. Some dear friends offered up their cozy home to us, so we’ve spent the week with snow shoes and sleds, taking in the epic amounts of snow. Snow upon mounds of snow.
This Holy Week and a blanket of snow, all of it has been an incredible and very personal reminder of all this week symbolizes. Jesus’ epic suffering and sacrifice, all willingly given to bring about in me a redemption that is whiter than all the snow out my window. What He did for me, for you…
The Thursday before His crucifixion…it would been almost more than He could bear.
He was hated by the powerful and religious.
The crowds of Jerusalem were turning on Him.
One of His closest followers was about to betray Him.
And He had full knowledge that He was about to embark on the most painful physical and spiritual journey. Ever.
Jesus was fully divine. He was Immanuel, holy and righteous. The Messiah.
Yet, He was also fully human.
Remembering the human side of Jesus during this Holy Week humbles me so deeply. In those final days before the cross, I can only imagine His anguish. The anticipation of what was to come. The knowing He had about the sorrow, betrayal, even death.
There are three moments in these last days that cause me to be so completely in awe of Jesus. Moments that so powerfully encompass both His divinity and humanity.
Jesus wanted to be with His closest friends.
When it was time, he sat down, all the apostles with him, and said, “You’ve no idea how much I have looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you before I enter my time of suffering. It’s the last one I’ll eat until we all eat it together in the kingdom of God.” Luke 22:14-16
When there’s pain in our lives, don’t we want our people? Those closest to us that we know and trust, that we’ve laughed and seen miracles with, those with whom we’ve looked eye to eye and have shared our soul? I’m in awe Jesus’ longing to share this last meal with His disciples, because that’s what we do. We share our hurt with those who’ve been in the trenches with us. We long to share space and time and meals when our hearts are anticipating that life might just fall apart.
Jesus sought the Father with full honesty. And surrender.
“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me.” Luke 22:42
Although Jesus had His deep friendships, He was fully aware of His deep need to be with His Father. And in this intimate conversation, Jesus puts it out there…Dad please, is there ANY OTHER WAY?! Jesus feels every drop of the pain of that moment and asks exactly what you and I would ask. Jesus’ freedom to ask the question is incredible. This question, however, is coupled with His complete surrender and TRUST in what His Father had planned. “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Jesus had the freedom to ask the most obvious question of His heart. He also had complete trust that His Father would answer it exactly as it should be.
Even though I’ve heard this story countless times, I’m in awe of the realness of Jesus asking for a different way. That He cried out from the deepest places of His heart and spilled out the pain of His heart before God. That God was not intimidated or indignant. But that He actually sent an angel to kneel there with Him, to comfort and encourage Him…which lead to a strengthening.
What is it about surrender? Our hard questions connected to the honest knowing that God’s way will prove overwhelmingly best. God hears that prayer and kneels there with us to encourage us, to strengthen our weary hearts. Although we may not see it with our eyes, God does something in that moment of surrender covered in trust. He speaks His encouragement…His authority…His sovereignty over us, to tell our “I’m-so-absolutely-about-to-give-up” hearts and reminds us that He has this in His mighty hand. He has us, He has this. He is with us at our darkest moments of questions.
Jesus saw beyond His circumstances and never played the victim.
“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
He didn’t speak those words while on a park bench on a sunny day. He spoke them while nailed to a bloody cross. But because of His deep trust in His Father, He saw His circumstances with clarity. Jesus didn’t take on feelings of self-pity. He didn’t assume the role of a victim. He so completely trusted His Father with the pain of that moment that He was able to extend forgiveness and grace to those that just didn’t get it.
The moment we take our eyes off the Father, we are only left with our circumstances, and many times, our circumstances are awful. Unexplainable. Uncertain. Painful. But do I trust my God? Do I really? Do I believe that God is working beyond what I can see? Only then…only then…can I see clearly and extend grace.
Maybe this week, the way seems unclear. Maybe there are a million more questions than there are answers. Maybe you’re living in a moment where the future is dark, a time when you can’t see, but you can fully sense that the waters are deep.
This Holy Week, remember this…Our God is so trustworthy.
He loves you beyond anything you can imagine.
He is working, even if you cannot see.
It’s not a mess to Him.
You can trust Him.
He suffered the cross for your complete forgiveness and redemption, to rescue your soul from the darkness of sin, to bring about a cleansing… whiter than the winter snow.
By this time it was about noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last. Luke 23:44-46
“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.” Isaiah 1:18