I took a walk on the beach today and spent some time reflecting on the significance of this day. My thoughts turned to Jesus and how he spent this last “free” day on earth. He knew, after the last supper with his disciples, prophesy would be fulfilled at an astonishing pace and the journey he would have to take over the next 24 hours would be the most agonizing he would ever endure. How did he spend this day? What thoughts were running through his mind?
I imagined Jesus off by himself, looking over the city of Jerusalem and mourning the fact they were too blind to see exactly who he was. He had spent his lifetime among the Jews and especially the last three years of his life ministering to them, dealing with them in compassion, healing their sick and wounded, reaching into their souls and imparting his love and forgiveness as only he could do. Yet, they failed to turn their hearts to God and to recognize him as their promised Messiah.
Did Jesus think back over his life on this planet? To the times when he was a boy beloved by his parents and enveloped in their hearts. To the smells of the earth and air around him, the sounds of joyous birds and the rushing wind, the warmth of the sun on his face, the glorious beauty his father created. It was nothing compared to the magnificence he had left in heaven and yet he had spent 33 years walking along dusty pathways, interacting on a personal level with humankind and feeling every emotion they had.
Matthew 23:37 gives us a glimpse into Jesus’ heart for his people. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” What tragedy to love people so much, to want to give them all the blessings and joy, and yet they turn away with blinded eyes and hardened hearts.
Still, Jesus completed his destiny. He was arrested, tried without merit, and sentenced to a cruel, horrendous death. Because of love. Love for me in spite of the wickedness in my heart and my failure to honor God every day as I should. Love for all human beings in the depths of depravity and sin. There is nothing I could ever do in my lifetime to attempt to repay him for the immeasurable love he extended to me that day on the cross. Yet, all he asks is for us to love him in return and to try in our feeble way to bring glory to him by loving others and demonstrating the same compassion he had for us.
As we consider the last moments of Jesus’ life on earth–before his crucifixion and amazing resurrection–let us look inside our hearts and see if we truly appreciate the sacrifice he made on our behalf because he loved us so.