As Matthew begins his account of the betrayal and death of Jesus I notice a contrast. Jesus seems to be a willing “criminal,” far different than criminals that we watch today. How many times have we seen suspected criminals fleeing the scene on the news? There are several famous cases: OJ Simpson, the Boston bombers, and, more recently, terrorists in France. These suspects do everything they can to avoid their impending arrest. Not Jesus. He actually moves toward it. Willingly. Before going to the garden to pray, he tells his disciples that he will be betrayed and arrested, and then he tells them that it is time to go so that he can be arrested. His actions are contrary to every human instinct to flee. Why would a man move toward his captors instead of away? Because he’s not just man, but God. Jesus knew the pain and suffering that was in store for him, yet in the garden, he prayed that he would fulfill his father’s plan. His humanness was overcome by his desire to complete God’s plan to save humanity. He obeyed. Do we? Are we willing to resist our human instincts to obey the Lord? Do we rely on God’s strength to fight the temptation to flee from his will? Do we willingly move towards it knowing that it may be difficult, there may be pain, and that suffering is likely? How often do we flee the scene of God’s will for us instead of moving towards it. After his arrest, crucifixion, and death, Jesus was rewarded with a glorious homecoming in Heaven. That reward awaits us too. Living in his will may bring difficulties and even suffering, but it also brings great joy and contentment. I recently read the book Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis, the story of a young woman’s service and ministry in Uganda. It is a remarkable book about a remarkable woman and my few sentences cannot do it justice. Katie is a perfect example of living in God’s will and the contentment that accompanies that despite suffering. Her obedience to the Lord’s calling models Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Though she knew that obeying the Lord meant risking all that she had in her comfortable, American life, she walked towards Uganda. She relied on God’s strength and love to overcome her human desire to run from the challenges and adversity she knew awaited her. Katie Davis is an amazing, Christian, young woman who serves as an example of seeking and obeying God’s will.
Lord, help me to be more like you. I want to obey; I want to serve, Lord. Please, show me how. When I feel God calling me, give me the courage and strength to resist the human desire to flee. Instead, Jesus, help me to walk towards his will like you did so many years ago on a dark night in the garden.