In the garden of Gethsemane: “Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death.” Matthew 26:38 Again, in Mark 14:34 “Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch.”
“Then they spat in his face and struck him, while some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy for us, Messiah: who is it that struck you?” Matthew 26:67
“…he (Pilate) had Jesus scourged, handed him over to be crucified.” Mark 15:15
In John’s gospel, John 19:28 while dying on the cross, our Blessed Savior cries out, “I thirst.”
“Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.” Mark 15:37
Jesus walks to His death but not with a smile on His face. He hurts. He thirsts. He cries out. With all the power to call down a legion of angles, He doesn’t. Jesus could have ran for it but He doesn’t.
Nowhere in the gospels does Jesus laugh manically at what he’s accomplishing. He is accomplishing what no man has or ever will do. The innocent, only innocent man to ever walk the earth, who doesn’t deserve to die, is killed in a brutal fashion. All men deserve to die for their sins; Jesus, sinless, doesn’t deserve death.
Jesus comes for us, our salvation. He comes to proclaim the good news. He comes and tirelessly preaches to turn away from sin towards God. He comes, fully knowing His death will come at others’ hands. In the Garden, He’s in anguish, knowing what will come. He must carry His own cross after being beaten, scourged and crowned with thorns. Jesus makes all things new with His laying down of His own life and it is hard.
Jesus dies on a Friday, the worst atrocity of all time, yet we call it Good Friday. It is good what He has done for us, our salvation is purchased through His life, death and resurrection. “Oh God, whose only-begotten Son by His life, death and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life;” Jesus knows what He is doing is good.
He suffers but He doesn’t smile through it all. Jesus makes everything new, re-writes the covenant with man and purifies us with His most precious Blood. “(B)ut one soldier thrust his lance into His side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.” John 19:34 He purifies the world. Jesus does all of this suffering for us and it’s the best thing ever, yet it is still hard.
In life, we too, must endure. We must get up and go to work so that our children can be fed. We must pull our children to Church, even when they are acting up and sleeping in is easier, because we must do the right thing.
Sometimes, God teaches us lessons in the most painful ways. St Pio, bearing the marks of the stigmata, was wrongly accused of being inauthentic and was not permitted, for a time, to celebrate mass publicly or to hear confessions. He did not complain, but endured this pain so he could be a standard bearer for how to suffer the difficulties of life by you and I. St Pio must suffer so we can learn from his enduring strength.
St Maximilian Kolbe went to his death in place of another man that was a father and husband so that you and I can appreciate the importance of loving our God, even if it means our death. St Kolbe loves another child of God and lays down his life in place of another. The martyr a special person in history loves his God so much that he or she is willing to go into the depths of misery, even death for His sake. A man doesn’t lay his life down for Zeus or for his dog but when he does so for God, we are made better for it. “The blood of the martyr is the seed of the church.” Tertullian
Things in life that are good, true and righteous are not always easy. To not do them is worse. If Jesus doesn’t die on the cross, we’re not saved. It doesn’t mean Jesus should be gleeful while having His hands nailed to the cross.
When God is teaching you a painful lesson or when you must suffer for those that you love, its ok to cry out. It’s ok to hunger and thirst. It’s ok to shed tears. A mother woken at night to care for her newborn doesn’t have to skip with a smile into her daughter’s room – but she must go to her child for love.
Endure my friends for Christ and His ways. It won’t always be rocky but when it is, know to turn and run is worse. Salvation has been paid for and there are many rooms in the Father’s house.