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Yesterday was Maundy Thursday, a night where we remember many of Christ's "lasts" here on earth. The Last Supper. A foot washing. A garden. A betrayal followed by a denial. All of it prophecy fulfilled. Jesus had entered the city on a colt, with palm branches lining the way. Now, He found Himself kneeling in a garden, exhausted after prayer.
I wonder, would I have stayed awake if He had taken me to the garden? Or would I have stayed watched and looked at Him in bewilderment as He returned with sweat like blood on His face? When I put myself into the story, into the garden that night, I chuckle at the disciples as they sleep. Then want to kick their feet in annoyance and say, “You’re missing it! Wake up and look at your Savior! He is in great agony. For you! Don’t you get it yet?” And I turn, looking over my shoulder toward the entrance of the garden and see Judas approaching. Jesus tells Him to get on with it, a disciple draws a sword and at first I want to take one up alongside him. But I watch as Jesus repairs an ear, says He is the one they are looking for, and is led away. I take a step forward, thinking I should stop them. But then I remember that these things must happen.
It’s how it’s supposed to be. There wasn’t another cup. No other will of the Father. There wasn’t another way. He was the way that last night in the garden, after He had washed their feet after dinner. He, Jesus, was and always will be the way.
Today, Good Friday. We stand at the bottom of a dusty hill looking up at a Cross. Too many times I have not wanted to sit with the events we remember today. I have been one of many who want to immediately jump into the events of Sunday. To rush straight to the empty tomb, towards resurrection and the new light that it brings. Away from the death and back to the life - to the good part.
But Friday is the day that we have placed the word “good” in front of. A day of death is where the good is found? Those two things shouldn’t go together, yet by one the other is found.
I stand with those near the cross - holding both sadness and joy. For the cross of Christ is my bridge to God. Yet, It isn’t enough for me to simply sit beneath it’s shadow, my hands must pick up that blood soaked tree, that rugged cross. He died upon it once and for all, yes. But now, I pick it up in remembrance. Of a sin-filled, empty life that has been put to death. And just as I remembered Jesus in the garden yesterday, I remember Him today on the Cross.
He is still the way.
He, Jesus, was and always will be the way.
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