I believe it’s reasonable to say that Jesus didn’t want to die. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane saying “Remove this cup.” It’s a powerful prayer to His Father clearly showing He doesn’t want to die. Matthew 26:38 states: “His soul is very sorrowful even to death.” This is one of many accounts noted in the Gospels that demonstrates Jesus took on human emotions and human thoughts. Nowhere is this more obvious than when He has to face His crucifixion and death.
Matthew 27:46: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Let’s reexamine these words; Jesus realized He had to do the will of His Father. But it was obvious, the human part of Jesus felt like this was incredibly hard. What do we take away from the reasoning behind Jesus having a human nature especially during His crucifixion? I can’t help but wonder that it wasn’t so much the fear of the pain and suffering that He was enduring which concerned Jesus. I think it was leaving behind the ones He came to love, and perhaps knowing that after everything He tried to do He would now have to go before God trusting that He accomplished what God asked of Him. I don’t mean to make light of the side of Jesus and His Deity. I know He was certain of God’s love for Him. But we, just like Jesus, go through many questioning thoughts when we die. Knowing that Jesus was just as human in his thoughts as us, well, it makes me grateful that we were given the precious gift of Jesus. As to his Deity combined with his human nature; can you imagine how amazing it was for Jesus to be resurrected at the hand of His Father? He must have been so joyful.
I’m suggesting now as we approach this Lenten season we do so from the perspective of a human Jesus! Because this same Jesus loved us so much He wanted us to know that He truly understood what it meant to be human with all its frailties and challenges. In the end, the glory we will gain when we let Jesus in will make everything we have to face worth it. Jesus grew up poor so we would know how much He understood that worries can arise with being human. Sometimes, like Jesus, we have to suffer. The crucifixion proves to us that Jesus understands our suffering.
Jesus knew about our sinful natures but loves us in spite of them. He knew it was His suffering and death and resurrection that would insure our sins would be forgiven. This human Jesus who “became flesh,” “was born,” “got thirsty,” “became physically weak” and then eventually “died.” These quotes from the Gospel proves Jesus was human and makes us realize that when we are thirsty or hungry or weak and most especially when we die, Jesus understands! This is the lessons we received from the Lenten gospels. This is what we should think about as we once again go through the Lenten experience.
Pope Francis (Lent 2014): “The Gospel is the real antidote to spiritual destitution: wherever we go, we are called as Christians to proclaim the liberating news that forgiveness for sins committed is possible. God is greater than our sinfulness. He freely loves us at all times. We know we were made for communion and eternal life. The Lord asks us to be joyous heralds of this message of mercy and hope.”
Perhaps the most important message here is that Jesus suffered died and was buried but in the end He rose from the dead. There is so much joy that awaits us after this life! Just like Jesus, we need to say, “Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit.”
Copyright 2016 Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh