To all my regular readers of Heart Treasure, thank you for your loyalty and feedback. I wish you a blessed Easter as we celebrate the Lord’s death, but more importantly His resurrection. May it be a precious family time and a season of making good memories.
To ensure that the season is not all about chocolate eggs and bunnies, I always try and appreciate one aspect of the Lord’s sacrifice for us. During this time, we often focus on the physical pain that Jesus endured on the cross. We also notice the spiritual pain He endured as He was separated from His Father, carrying our sin and dying for us. This year, the Lord has focused me on the emotional and mental pain that Jesus endured.
In examining the emotional pain that Jesus endured, I have come to appreciate how deeply His heart must have broken. However, I have also realized that the only way Jesus coped with this pain, was to pray. Let’s have a look at what Jesus endured:
- One of his closest friends betrayed Him: Judas was one of twelve men, who were chosen to be close to Jesus. He spent more quality time with them, than anyone else. Judas must have taken offense at the whole perfume incident in John 12:3-7, and it drove a wedge in his relationship with Jesus. He did not let this go, but allowed it to get bigger in his heart and mind. In the end, he became a disloyal, lying and betraying friend. We all experience emotional pain, when someone is offended by us and allows it to destroy a good relationship.
His closest friends (Peter, James and John) were not there for Him when He needed them. Jesus was praying and His closest friends kept falling asleep. So bad, was his emotional pain that during prayer, he had droplets of blood on his forehead. When his friends were not there for Him, and angel came to strengthen Him. Jesus did not get angry with his friends, but prayed, until the Lord strengthened Him.
People had the wrong impression of Jesus: 600 soldiers came to arrest him, armed to the hilt. Even though Judas had been with Jesus for three years, Judas told the soldiers to come armed to arrest Jesus. Judas who had been so close to Jesus had the wrong impression of Jesus. Why are we so surprised when people can have the wrong impression of us?
Jesus is betrayed by a person He loved and trusted: a kiss was a sincere symbol of friendship. Judas was allowed to kiss him. Judas pretended to be committed to Jesus at the supper, but he had already premeditated to betray Jesus and played “the game” all the way to the end, with a kiss. It is possible to get to know someone really well, only to discover that they were never really with you, anyway.
Jesus was wrongly judged and it was unfair and unjust. The High Priest and the Sadducees judged Jesus based on their own prejudice and desire for power. Jesus chose to keep quiet and pray, rather than become angry. He drew closer to God and allowed God to be the final judge. How do we respond when we are wrongly judged?
They rejected the good things Jesus had done and His service to the people. The Jewish leaders made fun of Him in public and spat in his face. Jesus must have been deeply disappointed in the Jewish leaders of his people as they rejected all that He had done for them. Yet, He still went to the cross, their actions did not change Jesus’ love for them.
They played games with Jesus at His expense, the soldiers humiliated him and dressed him up in costume. After beating him, the scribes and elders blindfolded him and sadistically inflicted pain on Him. They were outwardly religious, but inwardly rotten. Pretending to have a devout relationship with God, and then playing games with Jesus at his expense. People play games with us, may humiliate us, but Jesus chose to keep quiet, not fight back, and went to the cross anyway.
Jesus was surrounded by people with their own agendas, who in a moment of crises, would not do the right thing. Pontius Pilate would not compromise his agenda, and dutifully looked for a loophole to use, so as not to compromise his status and position. It is easy to be angry at people who do not do the right thing. Jesus still surrendered himself to God’s plan for Him and went to the cross.
People had expectations of Jesus that He was not able to meet, and they released their anger and frustration out on Him. Herod wanted Jesus to perform miracles and answer questions, and when Jesus remained quiet and self-controlled, Herod released his anger and sent him back to Pontius Pilate. We too will feel unappreciated and rejected, but like Jesus, we can hide ourselves in prayer.
A relationship with Jesus could put you in an unpopular position with your peers and you may lose your standing, so when Pilate was challenged by the elders about Caesar, he sacrificed Jesus anyway to maintain the people’s opinions, washing his hands of his compromise. People will make the opinions of other people more important than us. In this, Jesus remained quiet and prayed.
Even on the cross, Jesus continued to pray to the Father. So often in life, we object to the emotional and mental pain we experience, but we need to remember that Jesus knew exactly how it felt. He Himself, intercedes for us.
“…but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Heb 7:24-25)
In those moments, when we experience emotional pain and we cannot even get the words out, the Spirit helps us and intercedes for us in prayer.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Rom 8:26-27)
This weekend, take all emotional pain to Jesus in prayer. The Lord understands it all.
Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for me. I have yet to appreciate all the pain you went through as You sacrificed Your life for mine, simply because You loved me. I delight in my relationship with You and am grateful for Your help in my life. Thank you that You understand emotional pain and have provided an example of how to get through it in prayer. Help me to step into your presence and deal with the emotional and mental pain that I have been holding onto in my heart. If you could face such pain, then I too, with Your help, can pray through pain.