Philippians 4: 1-13
John 12: 27-36
What is something you have been dreading? What are you the most afraid of right now? For me, it is moving to a new city without knowing what kind of job my husband will have. I will be a full-time stay-at-home-mom of two children.
What was Jesus most dreading as he entered Jerusalem on a donkey, otherwise known as Palm Sunday? “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me this hour?’ No. It was for this very reason that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” He is referring to his crucifixion. The term “troubled” used here is very strong, and signifies horror, agitation and anxiety. If Lent is stereotypically considered “depressing,” this is why. Because we don’t have a full understanding of the gravity of our sin and why Jesus needed to go to the cross. Jesus said, (v.31) Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out . . .”
The prince of this world is Satan, an angel who rebelled against God. Satan is real, not symbolic, and is constantly working against God and those who obey him. Satan has power, but people can be delivered from his reign of spiritual darkness because of Christ’s death and resurrection. Satan is powerful, but Jesus is much more powerful and his resurrection shattered Satan’s deathly power. Only God had the desire and capability to deliver us from Satan’s grasp through Jesus at that point in history in that way. That is why Jesus needed to go to the cross.
Even though Jesus momentarily wavered in his humanness (you would too if you were under this kind of pressure), he did what he came to do. He submitted to the cross. This is God’s mercy on us. He sent Jesus to bear the ugliness of our sin, so that we wouldn’t have to. hallelujah!
Our problems and trials should pale in comparison to why Jesus was about to take on the wrath of God for the sins of the world. Because if God cared and loved us enough to send his only son to bear our sins on the cross, then I can deduce that God also loves and cares enough about us to be intimately involved in our struggles to the point that he will work everything out for our good and his glory.
The same power that Jesus needed to endure the cross is the same power that we can also draw upon to meet our own challenges. Which leads me to Paul’s conviction in Philippians 4:13 “I can do ALL things through God who gives me strength. That is all the things that God has anointed, or given, me to do.
Even though in my humanness, with fear and anxiety still trying to grip my heart in the face of a greatly unknown future, I will choose to trust that God knows my situation, and has already got it covered. If I think of it as a test that I am determined to pass, I will find peace in and comfort in God’s Word that tells me he’s in control and has a plan. That means staying in the scriptures. Keeping my focus on him. Not an easy to do.
Thank you that Jesus submitted to the cross even though it brought on agony. Thank you that his death and resurrection changed everything for believers. Praise be to you for showing such mercy, doing what no other human being could have done. Forgive me for forgetting this significance when I wallow in my own insecurities and anxieties. You are in control. You have walked this path before me. I will trust in you. Amen.