Most of us are familiar with the details of Jesus’s last hours: it plays out in our mind’s eye in a medley of films we’ve seen, sermons we’ve heard.
What I read makes me angry; it makes me squeamish and heartbroken. But this chapter is almost all narrative, with just a little dialogue. What am I to glean from it to apply to my life, what truths does God whisper to me through these words?
I find plenty to satisfy my intellectual reading: the rich elements that could only be provided by eyewitnesses—the actions of the soldiers, the play-by-play of events. Then there are details such as the names of the sons of Simon the Cyrene and the name and translation of Golgotha, the hill where the crucifixion takes place—details that anchor the narrative in facts.
I see that the crowd is whipped up and responds exactly the way chief priests want them to. Pilate even sees the chief priests’ motivations for what they are, yet he still gives them what they want. But Jesus does the unexpected—he doesn’t defend himself. Jesus isn’t manipulated, goaded, or controlled. He’s surrounded by frenzy, accusations, interrogation, mockery, yet he is stalwart. It’s incredible to me that he knows what agony and torture he faces, yet he still moves forward. I wonder what his mind was fixed on? On his Father—on doing his will, carrying out the plan they’d agreed upon? On his expectations of the morning two days later, when all the torture would be behind him and the power of sin and death would be broken? On the surety of seeing those he loved enter into eternal life because of his own sacrifice?
What is my mind fixed upon? The hope of seeing God’s will being done, his plans coming to fruition? How much do I waver in my path, get manipulated and bullied? How often do I focus on the small, the taunts, the injustice, the pain and forget that I am part of a bigger picture?
Lord, help me to fix my mind on the hope, on the resurrection and the life.