It’s soft and comforting. The brown plushy throw that a friend gave me a few years ago is one of my favorite places. I can be totally exhausted, come in from a long day in frigid temperatures or a whirlwind of activity, and after snuggling up in that blanket for a bit, I’m toasty and secure. Once I settle in, it’s hard to budge from that comfortable spot! Do you have a place like that?
Most of us live in a world of snuggly blankets and security, so it takes some effort to imagine the scene described in John’s gospel. My natural inclination is to run from injury and pain, to seek shelter in the comfortable. But Jesus goes against the grain of the natural, He steps into the most difficult journey ever entered. Jesus chose to leave comfort and security, knowing He was stepping into the most vulnerable and painful mission ever conceived.
Will you join me in engaging our imaginations in order to prepare our hearts?
Throughout eternity past (which is a mind-blowing concept, is it not?), the Son was comfortably settled in the Father’s bosom. He left the safety, the warm security and fellowship of the Father to begin His journey of suffering. He left warmth and security—for love. He left the Father to rescue you and me.
Think about the wonder of that as you read John 1:18 ~
[box]“No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”[/box]
Jesus stepped out of the glorious to enter our grimy, sin-saturated realm.
Jesus came with His deity hidden from most, humbling Himself as a servant, but demonstrating the power of God as He healed the sick, raised the dead, and conveyed the truths of the Kingdom. For thirty-three years He walked among us, carried the filth of our world on His feet, and throughout those years He expended Himself fully—never complaining of the loss He incurred by leaving His Father’s side. He came to reveal the Father and to fulfill a mission. He left comfort because He chose a road to the cross.
He came as the light of the world, and on the darkest night, the Son experienced loneliness beyond what you or I could comprehend as He entered the garden of Gethsemane to prepare for the final leg of His journey. As the Son looked long and deep into the cup, the full realization of that drink gave Him pause for the first time since His face was set like a flint to the cross:
[box]And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)[/box]
Have you ever taken time to really consider the implications of drinking the contents of that cup?
What was in that cup?
We know what was in the cup. All its contents would have been otherwise measured out to us by divine justice on account of sin. In the cup was the entire curse of the inviolable law, all the horrors of conscious guilt, all the terrors of Satan’s fiercest temptations, and all the sufferings which can befall both body and soul. It contained likewise the dreadful ingredients of abandonment by God, infernal agony, and a bloody death, to which the curse was attached—all to be endured while surrounded by the powers of darkness.1
All of the horrors of its contents would have been ours . . . if Jesus had not taken that cup.
He could’ve remained in the comforts of His Father’s bosom, could’ve rejected the cup, could’ve left us in our sin, but instead, He left heaven to embark on a rescue mission. He left comfort to lay down His life on a cross.
Why would Jesus make such a journey?
Jesus obeyed the Father’s plan because He loves the Father. He rescues us because of love. Love for the Father and love for us.
What am I doing on my journey today? Am I embracing comfort? I’ll admit, I struggle with this. It’s easier to stay snuggled in a cozy blanket of ease rather than to make hard choices of obedience. That’s why I need to remember what Jesus did for me.
I’m praying that I remember the “cup” that Jesus took, the next time I’m tempted to linger in my comfort zone rather than respond in obedience to His call to “Come and follow . . .”
The next time I have the opportunity to make hard choices that require self-sacrifice, I pray that I will die to self, embrace His calling, and truly follow the example of the One whose journey of suffering secured my eternal comfort.
What hard choices is He calling you to make today?
1 F. W. Krummacher, The Suffering Savior (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2004), 139.