From Amanda Jacobson
Here we are, just days before celebrating Jesus’ resurrection, and recounting the events that led to the “fulfillment of the scriptures”, to roughly paraphrase John’s refrain throughout today’s reading.
The word that keeps coming to mind while reading is “willingness”. I am struck by Jesus’ willingness to go forward, even as he knows he is marching toward a painful and humiliating death. And his sense of calm, even an undercurrent of peacefulness it seems to me, as the events unfold. Here he refrains from defending himself (and possibly avoiding his death, I imagine):
John 19:10 “ ‘Do you refuse to speak to me?’ Pilate said. ‘Don’t you realize I have the power either to free you or to crucify you?’ Jesus answered, ‘You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.’ “
In thinking about Jesus’ willingness though, the most powerful moment for me is when he cries out to God the Father on the cross, a moment that is echoed by the psalmist in today’s reading. (Ps. 22:1 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?”) This is not a departure from Jesus’ willingness to do what he was asked; it’s precisely because he is experiencing and enduring the pain that he is forced to cry out. What a wonderful discovery this is, to know that Jesus, lifted up as “the author and perfecter of our faith” is one who cried out to God, honestly, in his time of need.
There is great freedom, and a true gift in knowing that being obedient and having a willing heart toward God means expressing my feelings to Him honestly, as Jesus did. Following God’s calling doesn’t mean suffering silently when I am in pain, but lifting to my voice to Him and knowing that He hears me. God is listening! And experiencing this reality breaks and softens my heart in the most beautiful way. What a joy to know that we serve a sacrificial God who listens to and cares for us deeply.
My prayer is that I would remember God’s willingness to hear my cries, and to come to him daily with honesty, knowing that expressing my pain is not evidence of an ungrateful or stubborn heart, but a heart that is willing to be obedient and transformed by Him.
I am a mental health counselor by day, and chef by night (in my little kitchen), who is glad to have found home in Boston and at Church of the Cross.