Olive trees covering a hill just across the Kidron valley from Jerusalem; a place of quiet especially meaningful amid the cacophony of this center of Judaism as Passover neared. Frequently Jesus had come here with His apostles seeking refuge and rest; no noisome, demanding crowds, just a place to rest and recuperate.
But not that night.
The Passover. A time of rejoicing and celebration for all Jews. Even with the ever-present yoke of Rome upon them, remembering this glorious past deliverance from another world power kept alive within all hearts the hope that such a deliverance would again be theirs. Jesus' entrance into the city earlier in the week had rekindled this in dramatic fashion as the crowds hailed his entrance in such a remarkable fashion that the religious leaders feared the fist of Rome descending upon them for such impudence. "Hosanna!" they had cried while waving palm branches; hailing Jesus as the fulfillment of all the Father had promised their race through the prophets. Their wild abandonment to their hope that the deliverance would come now (their cries of Hosanna meant just this, save us now!), was fueled by all that this man had done and said; if he were not the Promised One, then who else could they hope in? Their expectations were to be quashed this week, however, as they realized that this Jesus was not the deliverer they wanted; He had come to free them, but not in the way they wanted. This disappointment in Jesus would lead that crowd to scream a very different cry by the end of that week.
Knowing what was to come, Jesus' flesh shrank from the pain and horror of it all. What Jew was not all too familiar with how Rome executed non-citizens? Their perfection of crucifixion had become almost a perverse art form; a blending of shame and degradation together with unimaginable pain that could go on for days! But much more than that, Jesus wrestled with the burden He would soon bear; far more horrific than the pain of crucifixion.
He struggled through the dark hours as He faced the unimaginable terror of the perfect Son of God becoming sin--for me! Surrendering His place in Heaven to invade time, walking among His creation, all leading to this moment. He plead with the Father that there be another way, yet knew there was no other. His closest friends falling asleep and leaving Him alone while all the power of hell assailed Him. So great was the struggle within Him, that He began to sweat blood, a condition medicine has labeled hematidrosis that can occur under severe stress. Falling down in grief, crying out alone, yet He chose to obey the Father's will; by doing so, by learning obedience in the flesh and embracing the Father's way, He became the Way for me to enter eternity with Him.
Through the hours that followed He remained obedient to the Father's will. Not once did He call upon the myriad of angels who must have looked on with horror as the Son of God was mocked, beaten and nailed to the cross. Carrying my sin long before I was born, the One who was from eternity past Elohim became my sin and through His sacrifice paid my price. As a result of the sin of all mankind for all time that He now bore, the Father turned away from Him and Jesus was more alone than any being ever was.
More alone than the person in the deepest dungeon, more alone than any ever will be outside of Gehenna; all He did because He loved.
Allowing death to complete His ministry, His triumphant cry of "It is finished!" rang out over another hill, then died.
I cannot comprehend such Love for me; I do rejoice that I have surrendered to it.