I wonder how Jesus felt during His last week as a human man, in the days leading up to that violent, horrifying crucifixion.
Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly, as a king and savior, but he wept for the city He loved. He knew what destruction would befall it. He knew that His father’s people would be driven from their homes, scattered across nations; they would wander again as strangers in other lands for the rest of the age. He knew that the beautiful city, with its towering walls of stone and proud temple, would fall to dust.
Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.” Luke 21:5-6 (NIV)
Jesus also knew His own bodily destruction loomed near. Our Lord was God in the flesh, but His flesh certainly knew the taste of salt, the warmth of sunlight on His arms, the weariness of feet that have walked mile upon mile in dusty sandals. Indeed, He was flesh and must have known the weight of gravity and the cold of winter; He would know as well the searing of a lash encrusted with bits of sharp metal and bone, or the pain of thorns pressing into the skin of His forehead.
If Jesus felt joy at the cheering of the crowds as He neared Jerusalem, then certainly He knew the sorrow of rejection.
“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me…” Mark 13:46
We can feel His very humanness In those words, and the small words that would come later, while His devastated body hung from nails on a cross.
“…I am thirsty.” John 19:28
Yet, Jesus knew that His Father’s will was good. His mortal body dreaded the coming pain, suffering, rejection, taunts, jeers, exhaustion, and thirst. His spirit, though, trusted and obeyed His Father without a doubt.
“…Yet not what I will, but what you will” Mark 13:46
Jesus’s will to obey His Father is crucial. He would undergo the temporary suffering of this material world in exchange for the greater triumph of the eternal. Our Lord loved with a love so deep it saved us all from eternal separation from God.
Our Lord saved us all.
Won’t you take a few moments each day this week to imagine Jesus’s last days on Earth? Imagine where Jesus was each day, what He was doing, who He was talking to. Imagine the scents and sounds of the city and of the very human man, Jesus, as He walked through it each day. Imagine Jesus and His disciples traveling the two kilometers or so from Jerusalem back to Bethany each evening to have supper with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. It must have comforted Him to be among friends each night, away from the city. Imagine His waking early in the morning, with the sound of birds greeting the dawn in song, then the splash of cool water on his face, and the pleasure of breakfast to ease His hunger. Imagine the touch of His friends, the gentle gestures of love: a hand on a shoulder, an embrace, encouraging laughter.
Our Lord was alive.
He was killed. He was buried.
He rose from the dead.
He ascended to Heaven.
He sits at the right hand of the Father. He is sitting there now.
He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in His followers. He is dwelling there now.
And He will come again.