Our Lord had set his face like a flint to head to Jerusalem to die for the sins of the world. This was the baptism he had to undergo. The humility with which he lived in being obedient even to the point of death, even the death of the cross, a most dreaded and despised death.
In our society, dare I say it, even in our Christian society, and I speak from firsthand experience and participation in this, we don’t reflect much on our Lord’s sufferings, or what he did for us, even during such times as Holy Week. Holy Week, the time from Palm Sunday through Holy Saturday (just before Easter Sunday) is often only highlighted on Good Friday.
But it is for our good to meditate on God’s love for us in sending his only Son for us to die. As the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the entire world. Through his death, the world, the flesh and the devil are given their death sentence, and the new order, and new life is now present through that death and the resurrection that followed.
We don’t want to live in such a state of suffering, but as followers of Christ, we are to participate in his sufferings. That should be part of our psyche, of our demeanor, and way of life. We refuse to give into temptation to sin through prayer and self-control all by grace as we look to our Lord’s example for us. We refuse to lash out against those who have wronged us, and may continue to do so, instead praying for them. And we seek to do good, even when we may not feel like doing so. Left to ourselves, indeed we would do little or nothing of this. And apart from grace it would have no value before God. Although God’s grace is often present even when we would think not. We do well to be wary of sinning against that grace, as the book of Hebrews warns us. And of course we confess our sins to God and when need be to each other, or our pastor. All of this must indeed become a way of life for us. That can be so only in and through Jesus, in dependence on God in prayer, and living in the community of Jesus’ body, the church, here on earth. In mission, the mission of God in and through Jesus. Together in and through Jesus for the world.