It is Wednesday night. The small band is staying somewhere in Jerusalem and by this time tomorrow night they will be in Gethsemane, falling asleep. Jesus, on the other hand, will be dealing with the crushing weight of the inexorable demand of agape, of a loving sacrifice chosen in eternity, now rushing to fulfillment in less than 41 hours.
There is something about inexorable demands. They are inflexible and relentless. The demand of sin, the payment needed was inflexible and unyielding; nothing could stop its presentment. In a few short hours, as the remaining grains finally slide through the hourglass of time, his heart will burst, not just stop, but explode under the demand of the debt of iniquity.
He knew it was coming; it had been tracking him from before everlasting till now, when sin would lay claim to its just payment. Eternity will come down to one final beat of a just man’s heart, as he lays down his life, embracing the full weight of humanity’s transgressions.
We sometimes joke that two things in life are inescapable: death and taxes. Death yes, taxes are often escaped. We all, in our own small way, face that inexorable demand. Death has also been tracking us from before everlasting. But our death is not for the payment of another’s bill, because in the end we cannot even pay our own check. It is the gift of redemption, because without our death there can be no rebirth, no born-again experience, no adoption into the family of God.
In the end, we too are called to yield to the inexorable claim of agape. Christ has called all of us to the same cross, arrived at by walking in Jeus’ own footsteps.
There is another side to this grim and relentless demand, the joy that was set before him. He endured it all for the joy just beyond the pain. We too have the promise of joy ahead. Jesus will say to those whom he calls his own:
Enter into the joy of your master. Matthew 25:21b
We will share in his joy and as Paul would later say:
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9
Just as death inexorably approaches for us all, so does the joy about which Paul talks. So for the remainder of this Holy Week, while you deal with the pain Christ chose to bear, do not forget the gain which that pain will bring.
Grace and peace to you this week as you bear up your own portion of the load.