By James Knaggs, Commissioner
In the gospel account of the crucifixion and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus, I often wonder, “What was he thinking?”
As a man, he was a young 33 years old; as the Creator, he was older than time. The account reveals that he limited his glory as a human being so that he could fulfill the instructions of his Father. The plan included death on a cross just when he was coming into his stride as a human.
“Now, Father? Does it have to be now, and does it have to be this way? I’ll be disgraced in their eyes and degraded by the soldiers and accusers. Is there a better way, or at least a different way?”
Then he said the words I want to say, and the words I wish everyone would utter, “Nevertheless, thy will be done.” And he acquiesced to God’s plan over his own personal concerns.
What was he thinking when his accusers charged him of crimes deserving death? He would be present to judge the living and the dead, and yet they were judging him. The judgment was from some drummed-up standard—convenient to use when the “guilty” party was really innocent. Sure, most prisoners claim innocence, but Jesus actually knew no sin. This is why he was perfect for the responsibilities at hand. He took our place. Our sin, which is to say disobedience toward God, is deserving of being dispelled from God’s presence—that is death. Jesus’ concerted efforts to follow God’s will had to have been strong to trump his own issues.
What was he thinking when they made him carry his own cross to Golgotha? Every step was challenging and painful. At one point, a brother emerged from the crowd to help, but in every way it was Jesus’ cross to bear. It was all uphill.
What do you imagine he was thinking when they laid him on the cross to nail him in place? Again, it was a place only he could have taken—a place of torture, agony and imminent death. The soldiers lifted the cross to its spot where Jesus then hung from this wooden structure designed for humiliation, punishment and cessation.
What was he thinking about the criminal justice system? What was he thinking about the agents of a government that would treat God’s creation with such contempt?
He saw his mother and his followers, and their incredulity toward the situation but full conviction toward the Savior and the son. What might Jesus have thought about them? Did he detect fear, horror, helplessness? Did any of these thoughts enter his own mind for himself?
He saw his death coming. What was he thinking? He entered the pit of hell. What was he thinking?
In three short days—the timeframe he designed for our structured lives—he emerged from his tomb alive and well. His hands, feet and body were healed. He saw the sunlight of his doing and triumphed as a conqueror, the Christ, and the Savior of all mankind.
What was on his mind? You.
Through it all, he was thinking of you. He was focused on his love for the Father and for each of us created in the image of God. His powerful love for us was the strength he needed to say “yes” to God, the Father, and hold his breath before his accusers. He cried for our forgiveness as he hung impaled on the cross, declared salvation for a criminal on the next cross and held out great hope for his family and friends who witnessed not only his death, but his glory.
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life. And GOD’s plan will deeply prosper through him. Out of that terrible travail of soul, he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it (Isa. 53:10-11 MSG).
All along, he was thinking of you. How you think of him offers you a choice to receive such powerful love that generates life. What is on your mind?