This is the last of my five-part “Deathwish” series. We studied powerful and epic servants of God as they got to the lowest and most desperate states of their lives and wished for death. It’s fitting to end with the contrast of Jesus’ desire for death. It wasn’t out of desperation or pain, pride, fear, or loss, but Jesus’ desire to die was the greatest act of love to us. Jesus was God and man in the flesh. The flesh part of Jesus did not want to die. The God part of Jesus wanted to die for us. The struggle between the God part and the flesh part of the incarnate Christ is evident in a few accounts in the Bible. In the greatest act of love, Jesus went to the cross for the joy of us becoming sanctified, forgiven, and redeemed.
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.John 15:13
However, the Garden of Gethsemane flesh and spirit battle became so intense that sweat and blood seeped from his pores. In Luke 22, Jesus was looking and asking God to remove the cup of suffering from him. However, the spirit won as he yielded his will to God, being obedient to the purpose for which he came. The human part of Jesus didn’t want to go through the suffering and punishment of the cross. The spirit part of him wanted to and did so with joy. He didn’t enjoy the pain but endured it so we could enter heaven, which brought him joy.
saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”Luke 22:42
The Good Shepherd
god speaks quite often in parables. God often relates to us as Shepherds to his sheep. A shepherd cares for, leads, guides, and protects his sheep. A good Shepherd will fight off a lion and a bear, risking his life or laying his life down for the life of his sheep. Jesus said in John, chapter 10, that he is the good shepherd, and he’s there to lay down his life for us, the sheep. That’s precisely what Jesus did. He could have lived on the Earth forever if he wanted to, through the generations, but that wasn’t his purpose. His purpose was to be the perfect, spotless lamb to be the sacrifice for sins. How beautiful is it that Jesus is both a Shepherd and a sacrificial lamb?
We’ve seen crucifixes and heard so many gospel stories that we can overlook or underappreciate what Jesus did for us. The cross was horrendously painful. He endured torture, betrayal, and mental, emotional, and spiritual abuse. His body was pushed to the limits of human beings’ ability to endure. We think that because he was God, He didn’t suffer like we would, but he did. Since he had an understanding of God and could see into people’s hearts, I feel that he suffered more. He could stay focused on his purpose of dying with the knowledge that what he was doing would one day bring us to heaven. He could see the joy ahead, the joy of our forgiveness and life in heaven.
Thank you for enduring the pain of the cross to pay the price for every single sin I have committed in my life so that I may one day live in heaven. I sit still before you now, and as things come to my mind, I lift them up and ask your forgiveness. I thank you for enduring the pain of the cross so that I will be forgiven and live in heaven. Thank you, Jesus. I give you my life, worries, concerns, and future and ask that you help me follow the spirit part of me like you did, so that I live a life that pleases you. Amen.