The Son of Man Must Be Lifted Up
How many times in our lives are we faced with a choice of doing what we want to do or what we believe God calls us to do? Perhaps our personal desires will yield more immediate rewards or pleasures, while doing what we believe God wants may mean forgoing or sacrificing these immediate rewards, but hopefully lead to an eternity of grace and glory. I believe this passage is yet another example of Jesus’ personal struggle with being both human and divine. He knows His destiny is to fulfill His Father’s will, yet He struggles with not wanting to face the pain and death He knows is His to bear. Just as Jesus, the very Son of God, struggled, so we too must face life’s struggles and temptations.
During Lent, we are called to grow closer to God through prayer or by giving of ourselves, often by depriving ourselves of more immediate pleasures. Have you tried this in the past only to find you failed, at least in part, because the immediate pleasures’ appeal was stronger than what you felt eternity offered? I certainly have. However, after contemplating this passage, as well as the one where Jesus pleaded, “Remove this cup from me” (Mark 14:36), I am reminded that we are often called to forgo immediate rewards, or even to endure possible pain. As Bishop Trevor Walters shared with us at the Synod in November, “the end goal in life is not the avoidance of life’s storms but that you end your life with more faith than when you began”. I hear the bishop also saying that we must be willing to sacrifice immediate, temporary pleasures if that’s what’s necessary to grow in faith and to live into God’s greater plan for us.
Stepping Out in Lent – Pray that your personal and corporate faith continues to sustain you through the storms and temptations of your life and be stronger than when you began.
Author – Bruce Prevatt and his wife Frances are long time members of the St. Peter’s family, where they serve as Vergers, Home Visitation LEMs, and are Acts 2:42 members.