The Most Painful Horrible Awesome Beautiful Choice
He was surrounded by people who would be responsible for his brutal murder in just a few short hours. Throughout His brief time on earth, He had emptied Himself again and again, pouring out His very life for the benefit of others.
Now, at this pivotal moment, on which the entire human race unknowingly hangs in the balance between hope and hopelessness, He is faced with a choice.
Knowing full well that even those to whom He has given the most will shortly walk away and abandon Him during His darkest hour. In that moment, He is faced with the greatest choice ever made.
I sometimes think that we assume Jesus was like some kind of robot that went through predestined motions without any emotional or psychological pull one way or the other.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Everything about the cross – the horrific gore, the unimaginable pain, the unfathomable depths of will power – all that our imagination can grasp of the price paid in while He hung on that tree suspended between heaven and earth was a fully conscious decision.
There was no auto-pilot. Jesus – subject to all of the desires you and I battle ever day – made the most painful horrible awesome beautiful choice ever made.
In the garden He said, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53)
At any moment, He could have said, “Nope, not worth it. Get Me out of here!” But the love that motivated Him was greater than any pain they were able to inflict.
Here’s the simple point I’d like to drive home today – My cross (and your cross) is just as much a choice as His was. At any moment, we can walk away from it. We can pray to a loving Father, and He’ll send the legions of angels to pull us out.
No one is going to make you sacrifice your time. Jesus isn’t going to pick your pocket and drop it in the offering. No one is going to criticize you when you walk away from all those people messed up and dysfunctional who aren’t helping you get ahead in life.
In fact, you’ll have people, just like Peter telling you why you shouldn’t be doing any of those things. Your own fleshly mind will come of with the most brilliant and spiritual sounding reasons not to pick up your cross.
But… if you want to follow Jesus. He made it very plain, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
So just maybe, before you ask God to get you away from that difficult person, out of that unfair situation, and into something shiny new and comfortable…. Ask Him if just maybe it’s a cross that is displaying His love to someone who desperately needs to see it.
Loving people through your own ‘cross’ is the most painful horrible awesome beautiful choice you’ll ever make. Choose wisely.
There is no force more powerful to change hearts and lives than selfless love.