Tonight, the Thursday before Easter, we remember the Last Supper and the heart-wrenching scene in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was there Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
In a matter of hours from that moment, Jesus would face unimaginable pain and suffering. Yet his prayers were not only for himself that night. He prayed for his disciples, and he even prayed for us—those who would believe in him in the future. (I marvel at such selflessness in a time of supreme crisis.) His desire was that God’s love and his presence would be in us (John 17:26).
As a result of his death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, Jesus made possible the fulfillment of that prayer. Our crucified, resurrected, and ascended Christ indwells every believer (Colossians 1:27).
Think of it! The all-powerful, all-wise Lord of the universe lives within us! Such an overwhelming, puzzling concept. What could that mean in practical terms?
I like Sarah Young’s explanation: We are intertwined with him in an intimacy involving every fiber of our beings (Jesus Calling, p. 332).
It means that God makes available to us everything we need:
- Power to handle life’s challenges (2 Corinthians 12:9).
- Wisdom to determine right actions from wrong (James 1:5).
- Access to talk to him at any time (Hebrews 4:16).
- Personalized purpose, to fulfill a God-ordained plan (Jeremiah 29:11).
- Hope that can never be disappointed (Isaiah 40:31).
- Resources that can never be exhausted (Philippians 4:19).
It means that in Christ we have:
- Complete forgiveness (Hebrews 8:12).
- Everlasting life (John 3:16).
- Overflowing joy (Psalm 16:11).
- Deep peace (John 14:27).
- Attentive care (1 Peter 5:7).
Sometimes I act like the Israelites on their trek to the Promised Land. Remember the manna God provided so they wouldn’t go hungry? It tasted like wafers made with honey (Exodus 16:31). That sounds like baklava!! Yet they became so accustomed to the provision, they began to complain. Manna wasn’t good enough after a while. “Yes, Lord,” they may have said. “You have been very gracious to provide manna. But we need meat!”
These blessings of “Christ-in-us” listed above are more precious even than miraculous manna. How could I take such astounding blessings for granted? Add to that the incredible price Jesus paid so I could enjoy those blessings. How dare I think, Yes, Lord, you have been very gracious, but I need more.
* * * * * * * * * *
Dearest Jesus, as I contemplate your deep distress in the Garden, your suffering at the hands of Roman soldiers, and the unfathomable pain you endured on the cross, my petty wants become inconsequential.
Oh, God, forgive me for allowing familiarity to dull the senses—the senses of awe and gratitude for the sacrifice you made. Willingly. Lovingly.
“Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all” (from “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”).
So be it.
(Art credit: www.ldschurchnews.com.)