Very often we distance ourselves from Jesus. We say, “What Jesus knew we cannot know, and what Jesus did we cannot do.” But Jesus never puts any distance between himself and us. He says, “I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father” (John 15:15) and “In all truth I tell you, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself and will perform even greater works” (John 14:12).
Indeed, we are called to know what Jesus knew and do what Jesus did. Do we really want that, or do we prefer to keep Jesus at arm’s length?
(Henri Nouwen, p. June 2, Bread for the Journey: A daybook of wisdom and faith, 1997, HarperCollins, San Francisco).
Jesus has empowered us to join Him on our journey. He has asked us to follow Him. No, we are not God. We are not Lord, nor Saviour, nor Christ. But we are called to follow and to know Him. When we keep Jesus at arm’s length, we essentially also keep His suffering and His death at a distance. In doing so, we lack the understanding of the great gift God has given us in His Son Jesus.
In this mind, the next few days will be spent in consideration of the suffering our Friend, our Lord, endured for us. Are you willing to join Him?
As the time drew near, Jesus, fully aware of what was to come, retreated to speak with His Father. Consider the emotion of this moment:
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
Do you have any hesitations in pursuing contemplation of the sufferings of Christ? Confess them in prayer and ask God for guidance.
In what areas of your life do you need to declare to God “yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22: 42)?