Saturday, April 8, 2017

What Was Jesus Thinking?

The last week of Christ’s life takes more space in the Gospels than any entire year in His ministry, and a six hour timespan on the day of His death takes up as much space as the months He spent in Galilee. The Word tells us of much of what happened and words spoken during this paradigm-changing, single most crucial week in history. Yet it leaves to our imagination much of what Jesus thought and felt.

Imagine that you are a parent, and that your beloved children have committed crimes against the powers that be. Justice demands their severe punishment and execution, and they are condemned to die an excruciating, prolonged death. But you have arranged to substitute your life in their place, and you willingly agree to suffer and die so that they may live.  You know when, where and how your gruesome execution will occur. You know that you are innocent, yet all will believe that you are guilty and deserve to die.

So you warn your children that you will be put to death, and you explain the specifics without going into detail about the horror. You know that your time with them is short, and you want to impart to them all of your wisdom and Godly example before you die.

But sadly, they just don’t get it. They don’t realize they are guilty of any serious offense, so they don’t understand the need for your sacrifice. You tell them you are going to die, and they argue over who will have more privileges when you’re gone. You explain the most important life lessons you want them to understand, backed up by your Godly example during your time with them, yet they not only fail to understand but don’t even care to learn.

You fill your last moments with them with meaningful family time, commemorating what has been and what will be, but they’re distracted with arguing with one another. You ask them to pray, not for you and your ordeal to come, but for themselves, that they will have the spiritual strength to carry your message forward. Instead, they fall asleep. You are arrested, tried, and put to death, and they run away, abandoning you instead of being proud to be in your family.

Yet this is just a poor illustration of what Jesus suffered. His sacrifice paid for all sins (John 1:29), past, present and future, of all mankind, not against a worldly power but against God the Father Himself, against the Creator and Ruler of the universe. His love was infinite and completely self-sacrificing, taking no thought for His own desires but willing to give His all to save us (John 15:13). 

His sacrifice was not just for those who loved and trusted Him as He walked this earth, but for all of us, all sinners (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8; Isaiah 64:6), children of the devil (John 3:10), and enemies of God (Romans 5:10) deserving eternal punishment in hell.

One of the many ways in which His life was unique was that His divine omniscience allowed Him perfect foreknowledge of coming events (Acts 2:23), with all their detail and ramifications. He had known since the beginning of time that man’s salvation demanded not only His coming to earth wrapped in human flesh, but His agonizing death on the cross (Revelation 13:8; Psalm. 88:15)

He knew that even His closest disciples would be clueless about what He was telling them (Matthew 12:40; 16:20; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; Mark 10:32-34; Luke 18:31-34). Their priority was not His mission as much as their own power and prestige (Matthew 16:21-23; 20:20-28; Mark 10:35-45).   

Just as He supernaturally knew how to arrange His last Passover meal with His loved ones (Matthew 26:17-18; Mark 14:12-15); He also knew that they would be more concerned about who would betray Him (Matthew 26:21-25; Mark 14:18-21) and who among them was greatest (Luke 22:21-24) than about understanding the eternal significance of the bread and wine, symbolizing His body broken and His blood shed for the remission of our sins (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24).

I wonder if His perfect knowledge made His sadness and pain easier or more difficult to bear?  It may have been even more painful because He knew the details of how He would be betrayed by Judas and Peter (Matthew 26:47-50; 69-75; Mark 14:29-31; 43-46; 66-72), abandoned by the others (Matthew 26:31-43; Mark 14:27; 37-40), doubted by Thomas (John 20:24-25), and accused, humiliated and tortured by His very people that He came to save (Matthew 26:59-68; Mark 14:55-65).

Yet His unspeakably horrible trial may have been made possible to endure by His foreknowledge of the ultimate result. As difficult as it is for my limited human mind to fathom, He not only willingly sacrificed Himself (John 10:17) and set His face resolutely toward Jerusalem (Luke 9: 51; Isaiah 50:6), but He endured His suffering for the joy of giving us eternal life (Hebrews 12:2).

He knew that He would restore Peter and the others to vital positions of ministry (John 20:15-19), that even Thomas would no longer doubt (John 20:26-28), that He would convert Saul to Paul and give the gospel of grace to be spread to all peoples (Acts 9), and that His resurrection would conquer sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:20-57). Praise God that all who trust in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6) now have eternal life

© 2014 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives

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Ceil said...

Hi Laurie! I like your analogy with a parent and child. The children didn't 'get it' but still, the sacrifice is made. That really is a wonder, isn't it? How lonely it must have felt for our Savior to save so many who just don't 'get it.'

Great thoughts today my friend,

Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
I love the way the Lord has a way of teaching each of His children through His that we grow in Him. Yes He was willing to go through horrific pain for us to have eternal life, and as Romans ch.8 v.1 says ' There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.' May we always seek to walk after the Spirit and not be tempted by the enemy to continue to walk after the flesh eh?
God bless

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Ceil! Praise God that He loves us, pursues us and wins us even when we don't get the depth of His love and sacrifice. Praise God that we get Him even though we don't deserve Him.
Hope you are having a blessed Lord's Day!

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Brenda! He suffered all so that we could be reconciled to the Father and no longer condemned once we believe. May we honor His sacrifice by walking after the Spirit and not yielding to the flesh.
Many blessings to you,

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
Thinking of the great sacrifice Jesus had made on the cross and believing, has made a big impact on my own life over the years.
One of the best examples of this was when my dear wife Alex became incapacitated last summer, and was unable to walk, and spent four months in hospital.
My love for her and my devotion had made me evaluate my priorities in life, and by using the love of Christ for us as a kind of yardstick, has enabled me to willingly put her interests above mine.
Love is the force which can overcome great obstacles, the chief being selfishness and self-interests. I think only the realisation of God's love can really change the heart.
A great post, God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Your Godly devotion to and self-sacrificing love for Alex is a great inspiration and example. Such love is not possible without Christ, because of our sin nature, yet with the indwelling Holy Spirit, all things are possible. We can love one another only because He first loved us.
God bless you both,

Linda said...

Thank you for sharing your reflections. I have often wondered what Mary was thinking and feeling because I can't fully imagine that. from Jumping Tandem Sunday Community Linda

Tina at said...

That was a really powerful analogy. I'm so glad I hopped over from the Making Your Home Sing linky party!

Donald Fishgrab said...

Sadly, even many who claim to be Christians don't really get it, adn continue in the same old attitudes and sins that Christ died for.

Great post.

Laurie Collett said...

Thank you Linda, for your visit and comment. Yes, Mary's journey was truly one of faith, as she had to bear the humiliation, torture and death of her Son without the supernatural knowledge He had of the outcome.
May you have a blessed week in Him,

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks so much, Tina, for your visit & encouraging comment!

Laurie Collett said...

So true, Donald, the vast majority of people, including many nominal Christians, don't get it. It is amazing that Christ died for all people even though He knew only a small remnant would believe & be faithful. Thanks for your comment & God bless,

Anonymous said...

Laurie- This phrase summarizes Jesus' love for us..."but He endured His suffering for the joy of giving us eternal life" His suffering set us free! Hallelujah and Amen! Your neighbor at SDG Party today :)

Katherines Corner said...

Christ suffered and died for us and for that I live my life hoping that he is proud of how I live through his love. xo

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, kelrohlf! Praise God that He suffered in our place to set us free from sin and death! Thanks for your visit & comment & God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

May He shine through us as we yield to His Spirit! Thanks, Katherine, for your comment, & may you have a blessed weekend!

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Denise! God bless you.

Nadwrażliwiec said...

Last time I thought about Israel and their pre-Gospel: Law. Did they understand, that Law was only picture of Christ? I think most of them didn't understand, what Law really was.
The same was with Apostles. They didn't understand, what Christ told them about His death.
Greetings from cold Cracow! :) Have a blessed weekend.

Laurie Collett said...

Good point, Zim -- the prophets looked forward to the Messiah, but they could not understand the full picture until He came. Nor did they understand how He was forshadowed in the Scriptures. Even the apostles did not accept or believe what He was saying about His death, burial or resurrection.
It's beginning to warm up here in Florida! Blessings & greetings to you,

Steve Finnell said...


According to a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center 27% of white evangelical Protestants, 68% of white Catholics and 78% of white mainline Protestants believe that humans have evolved over time.

Is it possible to be a Christian evolutionist? How is that possible?

God is either the creator of all things or a human evolutionists. He is not both.

Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said , "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.......27 So God created man in His own image...(NKJV)

God did not say let man evolve into His own image.

Matthew 19:4 And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female." (NKJV)

Jesus said, male and female were made at the beginning. Male and female did not evolve, they were created.

Some who claim to be Christians, say that the Genesis account of creation is allegorical or mythical. Is Matthew 19:4 allegorical and mythical as well?

Others claim to believe in theistic evolution. God is either creator of all things or a humanist evolutionist, God is not both.



Aritha said...

Thank you so much. I love that you are also writing about the fact He set His face resolutely toward Jerusalem (Luke 9 : 51; Isaiah 50 :6)Yes, He endured His suffering for the joy of giving us eternal life. How amazing.

Laurie Collett said...

It is amazing indeed that the Creator of all loved us so much that He willingly, stedfastly determined to endure the shame and suffering, knowing that it was necessary for the joy of giving us eternal life! Thank you for your comment, and may God bless you!

Winkel's Crazy Ideas said...

Dear Laurie, thank you for a lovely post. When you wrote about His sadness, it brought tears to my eyes. Our dear Saviour, Oh what an honour to be saved and loved by Christ. God bless you, Pam

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Pam,
I am blessed to hear that you were moved by the post! Praise God for His infinite love and for sacrificing His life to save us.
God bless you too!

Donald Fishgrab said...

Even those who were most concerned adn interested could not fully understand the suffering jesus faced. Today only Jesus can fully understand the sufferings we face, much as others may try to help adn encourage us.

Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
Only our beautiful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ could have said in those horrific circumstances. 'Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me. Yet not My will, but Yours be done.'

Thank You Father for Jesus, and thank You Jesus enabling us to be reconciled back to God through Your sacrifice.

Laurie Collett said...

Praise God that our great High Priest understands our sufferings, for He has endured them all, yet without sin. Thank you, Donald, for sharing your insights.
God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Brenda! Praise God for Christ's submission to His Father's will, and for His infinite, self-sacrificing love allowing us to be justified in His Father's sight. May we love and serve Him all our days.
God bless you,