As this Holy Week begins, I can't stop thinking about Jesus. And this short, two-word phrase keeps coming to my head: "Jesus knew."
He was plunging headlong into a week where He'd have to quickly impart all of the last minute directions, admonitions, and encouragement to His best friends He'd be leaving behind. And Jesus knew that as He went in to this week.
He had a brutal death ahead of Him in which the stench and weight of the world's most vile, putrid sin would be placed directly upon Him. He knew this in advance.
He was well aware that He would be betrayed and denied by those He had poured His life's mission into. As He knelt, tenderly washing their worn feet, He knew. As they broke bread together and He explained the trial and hardship to come, He grasped the enormity of it all. The disciples did not fully understand, but He knew what was about to unfold.
What kind of person can put one foot in front of the other and keep going, knowing full well the kind of hell that lies just ahead?
Here's an even greater implication: What can we learn about how to go through the process of trials from Jesus' last week on earth? Though while clothed in human frailty He cried out to the Father in pain, feeling the full weight of dark separation from Him on the cross, He did not waiver in His dedication to see the plan of salvation to completion. He knew exactly what was ahead of Him. But He persevered and He fulfilled the Father's purpose for Him with humility and with His eyes set on the greater glory ahead anyway.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3
Jesus didn't only know about the hard things that were coming, but also of the glorious, eternal things that were coming. He knew that the redemption of all mankind would be bought through His willingly nail-pierced hands and feet.
For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross...
His eyes weren't fixed on the hard. His eyes were fixed on the joy. The joy of being welcomed home by His well-pleased Father. The joy of knowing His Spirit would soon come to dwell in the hearts of all who would believe. The joy of considering you and me, way off in 2015, reading this at this very moment, hearts longing for oneness and communion.
All of this was on His mind this week so long ago. Jesus knew all He was going to endure and He did it anyway. He did it for love, He did it for glory, He did it for YOU.
Because He knew and He did it anyway, we have not only an example to look to, but a power to step IN to. There is an invitation. And it is your choice alone whether or not to accept it. You can place your life and your trials and your joys and your pains and your questions into the hands of the One who knows what is ahead. And what is ahead, friend, is greater than anything behind or even in front of you now.
There are so many things we do not know, but in His ultimate sufficiency, Jesus knows and invites you into the glory of His Kingdom that we can taste now on earth, and feast upon in Heaven. As we trudge at times, through difficult circumstances, may we rest in the joy of being known by the One who knows and sees all through eyes of humble, merciful love.