I would encourage Christians to not celebrate Jesus’s resurrection just yet.
I say this partly because we are an impatient people but mainly because many of us want to skip the journey and teleport to the destination. Our celebration is sure and coming, however there were steps that Jesus had to take in order for the celebration to be possible. As we gaze out toward this Sunday I encourage Christians to consider the walk that Jesus took leading up to the ruin of sin and death.
There are three actions that we can model from Jesus leading up to his death and resurrection.
“And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
Prayer was always a priority for Jesus. He is about to die and his biggest concern is getting to a place where He can pray. He is not concerned about all the things that He was going to miss out on with His life being cut short. His main priority is not to only be with his friends. He wants to speak with His Father.
How much of a desire do you and I have to speak with our Father? What if tomorrow would be the last one for you? I am afraid many of us would find shelter under many different places other than prayer. Yet this is the very place that Jesus positions himself, making petitions to his Father in heaven. We should learn to do likewise.
“It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.”
Ever since Jesus entered Jerusalem there has been a target on His back with more people aiming at Him than ever before. The scribes have tested his wits and knowledge. The sick sought him for his healing. The crowds sought Him for their king. The political tension is high and His message seems to be a problem for all of the different camps. Yet no one really understood his ultimate plan.
In the midst of this Jesus proclaims truth. Even when Caiaphas, “leader” of the Jews, decides to kill Jesus he does not become something that He was not intended to be. He is a king, just not the king that the people want. He is not a political figure that barters with others to get a better outcome. He is the standard for what is truth and the truth was intended to set people free. Yet many disliked the truth and decided that the truth was best to be killed.
“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.”
Sin had a price and Jesus embraced the price for the sins of many people. The pain from the thorns in His scalp, the weight of His body held up by His pierced wrists, the lack of oxygen coming into His body, and the mockery from those He came to make a way to for. This is pain. And Jesus embraced this destiny for you and I.
What pain are you willing to suffer for what He has done? Generations past and present have given their lives because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus as Lord. Our short lives are miniscule in response to the vastness of the eternity that awaits each of us. Pain is real but the reality of what Jesus has done is greater. This is why Peter tells us, “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking.” We live in response to the one who experienced the greatest of pains this world has to offer. In turn, no pain is to great for us to bear in response to the grace that He has shown to us.
So this coming Sunday I encourage you to celebrate your eternal liberation. Praise him who has humiliated death. But before you do, take some time to comprehend what it took for you and I to have this freedom from sin.
 1 Peter 4:1a
Caleb Rawls – is the pastor of Pleasant Home Baptist Church in Laurel Mississippi, and husband to Taylor Rawls. Together they strive to lead the church to reach out to their community and world. And yes, they have a dog named Tiglath-Pileser.