By Russ and Tori Taff
One of the greatest mysteries in Scripture to me, is the silence of Mary during the last week of Jesus’ life. We know she was there at the foot of the cross when he died, but where was she in the days leading up to Calvary, when Herod and Pilate were deciding his fate? There are no accounts of her pleading for his life or trying to intervene and stop the crucifixion. Every mother I know would have fought her way into the palace with her bare hands to save her son. The only thing that makes sense to me, is that she truly understood why this was happening. He came from God, and he was on his way back to God. Even though her mother’s heart was devastated, she loved him enough to trust him.
Jesus entered Jerusalem as a rock star. The people lining the streets had heard about the miracles. They followed him around just to hear him preach. But while the hosannas were still ringing in his ears, Jesus already knew that by the week’s end those same voices were going to be calling for his death. He could have just stayed on that donkey. He could have ridden down the street waving to the crowds and then kept right on going. Staying meant dying. But Jesus chose the path of love.
The disciples thought they were all just getting together for dinner. Jesus knew it was the last supper. They were guys– they laughed, and talked and passed the casseroles around. Jesus put on an apron and got a bowl of water. The ritual of foot washing is awkward enough, but how uncomfortable would it be if you truly believe that the one doing the washing is also the son of God? Those hands that are wiping the dirt off your feet are the same hands that opened blind eyes and healed lepers. Jesus knew that in his darkest hour these feet would turn and walk away from him, but he also knew that these feet would carry the Gospel after he was gone. So the water was his blessing—the water was his love.
Gethsemane was where it all became real. This wasn’t just a concept anymore—Jesus was preparing for what he knew would be a brutal and horrific death. But I don’t think the agony in the garden was about anticipating the pain of the cross. I believe the reason Jesus sweated great drops of blood and asked if this cup could pass was because he knew that for the first time since time began, he would be separated from God. It was only the promise of a resurrection reunion with his beloved Father that gave him the grace to willingly descend into the depths of hell. That, and his ferocious love for us.
I cannot begin to understand what that kind of love feels like, but with everything I am, I long to.