Today is Mission Monday. On Mission Mondays, I write about my imperfect understanding of God's perfect love. I am fulfilling my mission to spread the word of God by writing about the strategies and battle plans of the Greatest Conqueror who ever lived - Jesus Christ.
God's Word: Matthew 26: 36-46
Then Jesus came with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me." He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will."
When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, "So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, "My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!"
Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open. He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing again. Then he returned to his disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. Look, my betrayer is at hand."
The MAN Who Saved You
I have always seen Jesus as the almighty Son of God. He has always been the Messiah and the Christ to me. He has always been my all-powerful Savior - performing miracles, giving sight to the blind, setting captives free, giving life to the dead, and exorcising unclean spirits. But, His story in Gethsemane, the agony in the garden, changed all that. Even if He was the Son of God, Jesus was just an imperfect human like we all are.
Today, let us appreciate who Jesus was and how human He was to appreciate what He went through for us...and for our salvation.
"My Soul is Sorrowful Even to Death"
Three years. For three long years, Jesus was healing people and performing miracles. For three years, Jesus was helping and serving others. For three years, Jesus was doing His ministry and fulfilling His God-given mission. For three years, Jesus was changing the way people believed in God.
For three years, Jesus was simply doing good.
His reward - people trying to persecute Him and wanting to kill Him. Imagine how Jesus would have felt being betrayed by the same people He was saving...and loving. He dedicated His whole life doing good and ended up with people wanting to do bad things to Him.
In the Gethsemane story, Jesus probably could no longer contain the hurt and the sorrow He was feeling. Jesus was so distressed that He would pray and come back to the disciples three times. The way I see it, Jesus was so sorrowful that He just could not stay still! How human could that get?
Have you experienced going back and forth just because you do not know what to do with your problems and pains?
Friend, what pain are you going through right now? Jesus went through worse. He understands your pain.
"Let This Cup Pass from Me"
In the face of failure, we have our moments of weakness. We want out. We just want to give up. No matter how big our dreams are, no matter how noble our purposes are, the failures just seem so much bigger than our dreams and the pains so much more than our purposes.
In Gethsemane, Jesus probably had a moment of weakness that He prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me."
Jesus probably wanted to give up! For a very short period of time, He probably would have wanted to continue living. He probably wanted out of being persecuted. Should He have given up, He could have avoided the scourging and dying a shameful death on the cross.
Friend, do you feel like giving up on your dreams? Don't worry. You are not alone. Jesus probably felt the same.
What Sets Jesus Apart
Jesus was just as human as you are. Whatever trial or suffering you are going through right now, I can assure you one hundred percent that Jesus went through far worse. After all, what's worse than knowing you will die later in the day (but you did not even do anything to deserve it)?
What sets Jesus apart was how He responded to the inevitable trials and challenges accompanying His mission. Jesus responded in two difficult steps:
"Not As I Will, But As You Will"
First, Jesus submitted Himself to His God-given mission. Jesus committed Himself to His purpose even if it meant giving His own life. He knew there was no turning back in His mission.
So, He surrendered everything to God. He lifted up all His doubts and pains. He submitted Himself to finish His mission.
Friend, no matter how painful it gets, no matter how much doubt you have in your heart, submit yourself to your God-given mission. Commit yourself to your dreams and purpose. There are times when things are not easy, but keep moving forward. Sometimes, you even have to crawl just to be able to move forward.
"Behold, The Hour is at Hand"
Actually doing your mission is only half the battle. Doing your mission with fire, passion, and determination is the other.
A lot of people are already doing their mission. They provide for their families, they do their work, they run their businesses, and they spend time with their loved ones. But, who can say, "Behold, I am doing my mission," like how Jesus said it, with a lot of fire and determination?
More than accepting His mission, Jesus embraced it.
Do you embrace your own mission with all the trials, pains, and sufferings it brings?
Despite all the pain and suffering Jesus went through and despite everything He was still about to go through, Jesus proclaimed with a lot of determination, "Behold, the hour is at hand."
Friend, you may be doing you mission. But are you doing it with a lot of fire? Are you truly awake while fulfilling your purpose? Are you truly living while doing your mission? Are you truly invested in living your life? Do you embrace your purpose with all the pain and suffering it brings?
Jesus Already Went Ahead of Us
Jesus showed us that pain and suffering are inevitable in achieving our dreams. But, Jesus showed us how He, as a human, already went through them. He also showed us the way on how we, too, can overcome all the trials our mission brings. He showed us that despite the agony, the feeling of defeat, and our current moment of weakness, there is joy waiting for us at the end which is far greater than all the pain we are suffering right now.
Friend, keep moving forward. When achieving your dreams gets painful, remember that God already went ahead of you. You just have to follow.
PS. As you recall what Jesus has done for you this holy week, take a moment and listen to this wonderful song by Hillsong which really paints a picture in my heart of how much pain Jesus had to endure just to give us freedom from sin and death.