As Easter approaches, we are all reminded of the great sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross. Like many of you, I have been reading the account of Jesus’s journey to the cross this week and have found myself convicted of a bad habit.
Jesus was preparing to die for sins He did not commit. He was tortured and tormented and laughed at and ridiculed. Yet, He did not complain. Never once did He complain. But you know what He did do? He prayed. A lot.
“Going a little farther, He fell with His face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.’ ” Matthew 26:39
Jesus was fully man with flesh and bone. He knew the pain ahead of Him and like any other normal human being, He didn’t want to feel that physical pain. He would’ve liked for there to have been another way. So He prayed. He talked to God about it.
Then He went back to His closest friends who were supposed to be keeping a look out but they were all asleep. Now that would’ve made me really mad. Really mad. Jesus was agonizing over what was about to happen to Him and His closest friends were sleeping?!? That had to hurt. So what did He do? He prayed.
“He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may Your will be done. When He came back, He again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So He left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.” Matthew 26:42-44
They’re asleep. Again. And He prayed. Again. Jesus’s closest friends let Him down. They weren’t there for Him when He needed them. Later we see that Judas betrayed Him. Peter denied Him. Thomas doubted Him. And those were just His friends! We haven’t even gotten to what His enemies did to Him yet! But even then, He didn’t complain. He prayed. He prayed for His enemies that tortured and beat Him and hung Him on a cross to die.
“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’” Luke 23:34
Is that not incredible? Think about all that Jesus went through without complaining. I mean, He really had some stuff to complain about! Yet He didn’t. He just talked to the Father and gained clarity on His mission and His purpose and moved forward knowing that everything He said and everything He did would be an example and a testimony of Who He truly was. Who He truly IS.
Which brings me to us. Who are we? I am a child of God. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you are a child of God. And as children of God, everything we say and everything we do is an example and a testimony of who we are and even more importantly of who He is. We are His earthly representatives.
Are we representing Him well?
When trials and challenges come our way are we complaining? Or turning to our Heavenly Father? Are we using those difficulties as an excuse to be harsh and bitter? Or as an opportunity to reflect His character?
When people hurt us or don’t act like we think they should- do we complain and criticize or do we lift them up to the Lord?
I need to work on that. Do you? Let’s start by praying:
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to suffer and die for us. Thank You for giving us the greatest example of love that there could ever be. Help us to be more like Him. Help us to stop complaining and to turn to You instead. When we do, Lord, fill us with Your love, fill us with Your understanding and compassion and wisdom and help us to respond in ways that are pleasing to You. Use us to draw others to You. Empower us to represent You well. In everything we say and everything we do, may we glorify You. In Jesus’ name,