Reading: Matthew 27:1-61
As I contemplate the scriptures, I wonder what it was like for Jesus to see a new day dawn, after being betrayed into the hands of murderers by a close companion, struck in the face, spit on, and mocked all night. Some of us are beginning this morning with a cup of coffee and sunshine, blessed with a day off from work. Jesus began this new morning bound in chains, confronted by all the elders and chief priests accusing Him and crying out for His death into the ear of Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:12). We often make sure we get extra rest when we have a big day ahead of us, but it does not appear Jesus had any opportunity for sleep as He prepared to face the greatest suffering any human has ever endured.
Lamentations 3:22-23 states, “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed. His compassions fail not. They are new every morning….” You and I experience this. As believers we rejoice that His mercies are new every morning. But, on this morning, Jesus did not feel the new mercies of the Father. Instead, He stood there, abandoned by every friend, hearing the vicious lies and demonic hatred against Him, knowing that the full condemnation for our sins was beginning to fall upon Him. But all the while, He said, “Yes, Father, I will drink this cup.”
“What a burden borne for us,
To bury hate, fear, and lust
What a victory won for us,
Sinners made His daughters and sons”
I can’t help but stand in awe when I consider that Jesus submitted to all this for the Father, and for us. I think of all the many beautiful lives of so many saints across so many centuries, most of whom I have never heard of, but who have an eternal inheritance in heaven that cannot be stolen. It is only because of what God the Son suffered on a Friday some 2000 years ago that any of us have hope for eternity.
I think of the great willingness and surrender of the heart of Jesus into the hands of the Father. Just before He gave up His spirit on the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). That Greek work “telestai” was the word that a servant in that time would use when returning to his master, after completing the task he was asked to perform. Jesus had paid for our sins, in full. It was done.
I see our own lives in stark contrast. How often I tell God, “This is too much.” How often I say, “Help this person to stop their attitude, because I’m going to snap if they keep treating me this way.” Yet, when they struck Him with their fists, mocked Him with a crown of thorns, sliced Him with whips, and pierced His hands, His feet, and His side, the only petition He made was, “Father, forgive them….” Instead of praying, “Father, remove this burden,” I wonder if we ought to pray, “Father, give me a stronger back to bear this burden.” We should be encouraged to endure sufferings with patience. God has a redemptive plan for what seems like pointless pain.